Thursday, January 15, 2009
Paul's thorn in the flesh
Please read II Corinthians 12:1-10. God is sovereign in all his dealings. Satan is God's Satan and the Lord uses him for His kingdom purposes as He sees fit. We see Satan's involvement in church discipline. "Turn such a one over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh" In the following we will see Satan's work in the Apostle Paul's life. We are to fear the Lord and Him only. The evil one is never to be a fear object. In this passage of Scripture the Lord pulls back the curtain and shows us His purposes for enemy activity in His servants life.Paul was 'caught up' (i.e., raptured) in a vision of the third heaven (the same as "Paradise." The fact that Paul was not permitted to speak further and that such things were incommunicable in human terms shows that a more detailed knowledge is not of significant importance either to his argument or to the church as a whole.To keep Paul from becoming conceited over his vision, he was given a thorn in the flesh. Over the centuries many ideas have been purposed for the "thorn in the flesh" from human opponents to temptations to physical problems. God purposely left it ambiguous because the ambiguity of Paul's problem makes it easier for us to relate our own "thorns" to it. I believe every Christian I have ever met could point to their own "Thorn in the flesh." To some it was poor health, or a wayward child, perhaps continuing financial struggles, or an unsaved mate, etc. How was it a 'messenger (lit. 'angel') of Satan? It need indicate not more, than that his stake through the flesh was Satanic in origin, attributable to demonic agency, though permitted by God and overruled by Him for His servant's good. Whatever it was, Paul was not given victory over it, though he prayed three times for its removal. God's purpose was greater than mere removal of the thorn. Rather, He used it as His sovereign tool to shape Paul into a humble servant, totally dependent on God's grace in all he did. Do you realized God is giving you sufficient grace for your "thorn?" Have you thanked Him for the work that is being accomplished in your life because of it? The will of God is always good.