Strength Through Weakness

II Corinthians 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.

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

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.

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.

Life is like that. Put on your gi and wrap around your belt, because it's judo every day with the Devil. He wants you to ignore that He is even around, so He can do His thing unobserved. He wants to lure you into the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2: 15-17), with as little resistance as possible from you. He'd like an easy kill.

How have the great spiritual people of the past do judo with the Devil and kept from getting thrown? Let's look at several examples.

Joseph. See Genesis chapters 37, 39-end of the book. What are some of the ways Joseph was made weak? And how did God work through that weakness? How did Joseph's faith help get him through those problems?

Remember the situation with Potiphar's wife? How easy would it have been for Joseph to "go along just to get along?" But do you think God would have lifted him up if he had gone along with the sin?

Moses and the Children of Israel Just after leaving Egypt (Exodus 14). In every way in the world that man saw, the pursuit of the Egyptians after the Israelites was very bad. Not only were the Jews not militarily equipped, they were not of the mind set to go fight a great battle. It's hard to throw off the bondage of hundreds of years and face persecutors eye to eye.

See verse 14. Were the children of Israel even going to have to fight this battle? God fought for them. He will fight for you today. See James 4: 7, 8-this is how to get God on your side.

How readily did Israel look in faith to God? How could they have done better? How could we do better today in relying on the Lord when those situations arise that you just can't win? Do you believe that God fights for you today?

Hezekiah and the armies of Sennacharib. See II Kings the 19th chapter. Everybody was telling Hezekiah, the king of Israel, how hopeless it was to hold out against the armies of Assyria. They named those that had been victims of the great nation, Assyria. How would Israel be any different?

See what Hezekiah does in verses 15-19. Was Hezekiah weak? Seemingly. But he does the right thing. He prays. What can you say about the power of prayer?

Who actually fights this battle? How much sabre-rattling does Israel get to do? But how does it turn out?

Paul and Silas in jail, Acts 16: 16-39. Talk about weakness-these guys were locked up in jail! The crowd turned against them. The popularity appeared to leave them-no one thought they were cool. They had soldiers around them. What a sign of weakness!

Does singing religious songs in jail seem like a sign of strength? But what happens about midnight? God fights a battle for them. The jailor is so panicked, he is ready to commit suicide. And what do Paul and Silas do after they are freed? See verses 30-34.

By daybreak, who has the power? Who is weak? Who is strong?

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