Our last reading this week is from 2 Cor 12:7-10
v7: Exalted above measure: Lifted up. Caused to become conceited.
- By the abundance of the revelation: G-d had given Paul many wonderful experiences or revelations. Paul, however did not focus on these things. G-d allowed him to experience something that kept him firmly grounded.
- A thorn in the flesh: Paul had some kind of affliction which the Bible does not reveal to us – therefore we should stay away from speculation but focus only on what we know to be Scripturally true. The fact that Paul mentions that he had this affliction but doesn’t clarify what it was should cause us to come to the conclusion that it was something that was noticeable to people and the readers of this epistle would have known what Paul was referring to.
- Buffet me: Strike me. This messenger of satan tried to wound or injure Paul. satan hated Paul and wanted to hinder his work. Even though satan was behind this, he was the cause of it, G-d (who is free to use all things) used it in order to help Paul to stay humble.
v8: This thing: Paul is still speaking about this thorn in his flesh.
- Three times: Three is a number of revelation or confirmation. This reveals to us that Paul really wanted this to be removed or taken away from him.
v9: He said to me: G-d’s Word is His Word. For Paul this was going to be ongoing in his lifetime as G-d was not going to change.
- Grace: A word also related to thanksgiving or giving thanks. The way that we overcome suffering is by thanking and praising G-d. The joy of the L-rd is sufficient for the various ailments, hardships, plagues etc that we face.
- Strength: Power
- My strength is made perfect in weakness: When we recognise that we are weak, that we struggle, then we also realise how much we are dependent on G-d. This trusting, reliance or dependence on G-d, for His strength, works in our lives to bring us to the end or to the desired conclusion that G-d desires.
- Most gladly: With gladness or with pleasure.
- Boast in my infirmities: Paul was criticised for not presenting himself in an exalted way – as they believed a premier apostle should present himself. Paul, however, repeatedly spoke about his weaknesses because his insufficiencies were the key to Paul’s successful ministry. His weaknesses caused him to rely on G-d, seek G-d, for the mighty power of Messiah to be evidenced in his life.
- Rest: A word for dwelling. It is a word that is also related to the tabernacle where the Presence of G-d lived.
v10: I take pleasure: Paul has thought about this carefully. He has evaluated it and he has found it to be good.
- Reproaches: Insults
- Needs: A shortage of resources.
- Distresses: This is a word for ‘narrow’. It speaks about encountering intense pressure, hardships or difficulties.
- For Messiah’s sake: Paul was not suffering or having problems because of foolish decisions made out of rebellion. He suffered because of his dedication and unswerving commitment to Messiah.
- When I am weak: This is unconditional. Whenever we recognise that we are weak it is then that we are strong. The weaknesses that people were criticising Paul for (not being an eloquent speaker, timid when he was with them etc) were in fact the foundation or the secret of his power or strength.