Good morning, and a blessed Thursday morning to you. For our devotion time today I’d like to study from 2 Corinthians chapters 11 and 12.
We see throughout Scripture calls to give thanks. There is a promise from God, that we can be perhaps tempted to forget to give thanks for. Beginning in 2 Cor. 11:30 the Apostle Paul write this:
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus (blessed be he forever!) knows that I do not lie. 32 In Damascus, the governor[f] under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.
An example of the weakness that Paul was experiencing, was being let down in a basket, going down off the wall, because there were those who wanted to kill him. But Paul doesn’t stop there, in terms of talking about his weakness. Going on to chapter 12, picking up in 12:7 about halfway through, Paul writes:
Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.
Over the years, scholars have offered many different hypotheses, in terms of what this “thorn in the flesh” was; ranging from malaria, to depression, to an offensive eye condition. As I look at the language, I would fall in a camp that says that most likely this was a demon possessed false prophet, that was causing Paul great harm. He was suffering at the hands of this false prophet. This was weakening the Apostle Paul, as he was enduring the attacks of this false prophet.
But then notice what Paul writes in verse 8:
8 Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
You see, what the Apostle Paul experienced was the strength that came from God. God loves us so much he sent his son to die for us, to redeem us. Our sins have been paid for on the cross. The tomb is empty. Death has been overcome. Each day that we live this side of heaven, God comes to us with His strength, amidst all of our experiences of weakness. God comes to strengthen us. What an incredible witness that would have been from the Apostle Paul. As people would see how he was weakened by the attacks of that false prophet, but yet how Paul was strengthened by God. What a compelling, compelling witness.
The Lord calls us to give thanks. And may we give thanks for this promise: that amidst our weaknesses, God will strengthen us. And what will we discover? We will discover that when we are weak, we are strong; as we live in the strength that God provides. That's a promise to give thanks for!
Let's pray: Gracious God, thank you for this time in your Word. Your Word is truth. And we thank you that amidst the weaknesses we experience, you come with your strength; strengthening us for each and every day. We thank and praise you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God bless you this week, as you live in the strength that God provides. Encourage someone!