To the degree that you have a clear, unclouded revelation of Who God is, your life will be built in God and the gates of hell will not prevail against you.
Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh
2 Corinthians 12:7 NKJV
(7) And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
(Read from Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems from the Greek – Part 1)
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV
(8) Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
(9) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
(10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(Read from Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems from the Greek – Part 2)
Things we need to understand about this situation:
- The devil will never send a thorn to keep someone from being lifted up in pride but rather he is going to do everything he can to make sure that you get lifted up in pride.
- Jesus was being lifted up and exalted through Paul because of the abundance of revelations.
- The thorn is a reference from the Old Testament referring to an external source sent to harass God’s people.
Numbers 33:55 NKJV
(55) But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.
Joshua 23:12-13 NKJV
(12) Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations–these that remain among you–and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you,
(13) know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD your God has given you.
- Infirmities in the New Testament are never translated sickness and disease but is always a weakness.
- Paul’s thorn in the flesh wasn’t sickness or epilepsy or some other physical illness, it was the people who opposed and irritated him and continually caused him problems.
- God’s grace was sufficient – God’s ability to overcome every evil tendency fully
How can people get this so messed up?
It is the same thing that happened in Job’s day.
The book of Job is a book of extremes: Job was extremely good, extremely wealthy, extremely short on information about God, extremely tested by the devil in every area of his life, and extreme infirmity.
Theological debate in the book of Job that lasted 36 chapters and none of the participants knew what they were talking about.
Job and his friends had little or no knowledge of God whatsoever.
The lesson contained in this is seeing what man will do when they interpret God in light of their circumstance without referring to the Word of God.
God discredits what these men said about Him.
Job 38:1-3 MSG
(1) And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:
(2) “Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?
(3) Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers.
Everything that had gone before was not the counsel of God.
Job 42:1-6 NKJV
(1) Then Job answered the LORD and said:
(2) “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
(3) You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
(4) Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
(5) “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.
(6) Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”
Job responded that he had uttered things that he knew not and he repented of those things.
God forgave Job of those things from that point forward.
Job 42:7 NKJV
(7) And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.
Job did not say anything right up until the point that he repented and starting speaking right from that point forward.