"My grace sufficient for me, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

2 Cor 12:7 
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 

2 Cor 12:8 
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice,that it might depart from me. 

2 Cor 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Cor 12:10
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak,then am I strong.

1. What was the reason for his thorn in his flesh?

It was written because: "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the revelations given to me".

What does this mean: 

  • Paul was given much revelation.
  • Eph. 3: 1- 13
  • Immediate context: 2 Cor. 12: 1- 7
  • He knew a man caught up into the third heaven.

To buffet me:
G2852 kolaphizö

Thayer Definition:
    1) to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist 
    2) to maltreat, treat with violence and contumely

It was written because of the problem of pride. 

  • We all can suffer from this.

Pride is a universal problem.

  • We all suffer from it to some degree.

Did you hear about the clever salesman who closed hundreds of sales with this line: "Let me show you something several of your neighbors said you couldn't afford.

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and muJtiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

Prov 6: 17

Prov 16: 5, 19 

Prov 29: 23

Anyone vyho travels to Edinburgh, Scotland will find Edinburgh castle a tower of seemingly insurmountable strength. But the truth is that the castle was once actually captured. The fortress had an obvious weak spot which defenders guarded--but because another spot was apparently protected by its steepness and impregnability, no sentries were posted there. At an opportune time, an attacking army sent a small band up that unguarded slope and surprised the garrison into surrender. Where the castle was strong, there it was weak.

2. What is a thorn in the flesh?

Thorn :

G4647 skolops

Thayer Definition:

1) a pointed piece of wood, a pale, a stake 

2) a sharp stake, splinter

This is the only time that this word is found in the New Testament.

In the Septuagint it is used in several places: 

  • Numbers 33: 55
  • Eze. 28: 24
  • Hosea 2: 6

What was Pauls thorn in the flesh.

  • Several have been given.
  • Speech ( 2 Cor. 10: 10)
  • Bodily presence ( 2 Cor. 10: 10) 
  • Eyesight (Gal. 4: 13- 16; 6: 11)

Some commentators think that it is in reference to false teachers. 

  • 2 Tim. 4: 14- 15

3. Why is it called a messenger of Satan?

In suffering, Gods intervention there is a lot that we do not understand.

Examples of Satans work. 

  • Job 2: 6- 7 
  • Luke 13: 16

4. What did Paul do about it?

He besought the Lord thrice.

  • That it would depart from him. 

Prayer is a wonderful tool in the life of a Christian. 

  • As tools in the hand of a craftsman.

Tells us much about happiness in the Lord.

5. Gods answer to his request.

"My grace is sufficient tor thee: tor my strength is made perfect in weakness".

Why does God say this.

  • Remember. He was not to be exalted.

What does this mean?

Exalted :

G5229 huperairomai

Thayer Definition:

1) to lift or raise up over some thing

2) to lift one's self up, be exalted, be haughty 

3) to carry one's self haughtily to, behave insolently towards one

It means that you pretend to be more then what you are.

God became greater when he has infirmities.

6. I will glory in my infirmities.

Paul was glad and happy with these things that cut him short.

  • Wow. Is that not character?

Glory:

G2744 kauchaomai

From some (obsolete) base akin to that of aucheo (to boast) and G2172; to vaunt (in a good or a bad sense): - (make) boast, glory, joy, rejoice.

In medical practice, an "analgesic" is a medication that relieves pain, and "analgesia" is the state of being free from the feeling of pain. Figuratively speaking, most of us spend a good portion of our lives seeking what might be called "analgesia" in our lifestyles. As modern people, we simply take it for granted that pain is to be avoided at all costs, and we're willing to sacrifice much higher values, sometimes even our highest ones, to eliminate its presence. But however "natural" it may be to move away from pain, it is often foolish for us to do so. When we sacrifice everything else to avoid pain, we lose touch with the very thing that could teach us a deeper appreciation of God's grace.

What we desperately need to understand is that having a broken heart is not inconsistent with real joy. If that were true, God Himself would have little joy, for He certainly experiences far more things that are heartbreaking than we do. "If our joy is honest joy, it must somehow be congruous with human tragedy. This is the test of joy's integrity: is it compatible with pain?" (Lewis B. Smedes). Joy is the thing that we were created for, and that is what God wishes to restore to us in His Son. For the Christian, the ideal life is the joyous life, whether it is attended with what the world calls "happiness" or not. Indeed, it may only be through unhappiness that a person's joy in Jesus Christ can be found and fulfilled. "Joy," as Paul Tillich wrote, "has something within itself that is beyond joy and sorrow. This something is called blessedness

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