Deut 32:36a (NIV) The Lord will judge his people and have compassion on his servants when he sees their strength is gone.
1 Cor 1:27 (NAS) ...God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong
Blessed Are The Paupers In Spirit
Mat 5:3 (NAS) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Oswald Chambers: "The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount produces despair in the natural man--the very thing Jesus meant it to do. As long as we have a self-righteous, conceited notion that we can carry out Our Lord's teaching, God will allow us to go on until we break our ignorance over some obstacle, then we are willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. "Blessed are the paupers in spirit," that is the first principle in the Kingdom of God. The bedrock in Jesus Christ's kingdom is poverty, not possession; not decisions for Jesus Christ, but a sense of absolute futility--I cannot begin to do it. Then Jesus says--Blessed are you. That is the entrance, and it does take us a long while to believe we are poor!"Rev 3:17-19 (Phi) "While you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and there is nothing that I need', you have no eyes to see that you are wretched, pitiable, poverty-stricken, blind and naked. My advice to you is to buy from me that gold which is refined in the furnace so that you may be rich, and white garments to wear so that you may hide the shame of your nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes to make you see. All those whom I love I correct and discipline. Therefore, shake off your complacency and repent."
Isa 42:8b (NIV) "I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols."
The Father is interested in glorifying the Son. In this, we find our own glory, as Jesus is willing to share it with us. But to do so, often He has to take measures to insure we will not try to commandeer or grab His glory. Weaknesses are useful to this end. Thus, we can we actually glory in our weaknesses.1 Cor 8:6 (NIV) There is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
Rom 11:36 (NAS) For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
When God Says "No" to Physical Healing, And Why...
Ultimately, God will heal those who love Him and trust in Him at the restoration of all things. God is utterly faithful, and He will do it. But in the meantime, all of us are going the way of all flesh. God may heal us in some particular as a sort of sermon so that we might believe in His ultimate and eternal healing of souls and bodies, but these healings are only temporary; an eddy current in the way of all flesh. Even so, when such healings come they are cause for great rejoicing and praise. But what if we don't receive physical healing in the here and now? What then?2 Cor 11:30 (NIV) If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2 Cor 12:9 (NAS) And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
John 3:30 (NIV) "He must increase, but I must decrease."
Paul Is Not Healed
2 Cor 12:6-9 (Phi) If I [Paul] should want to boast I should certainly be no fool, for I should be speaking nothing but the truth. Yet I am not going to do so, for I don't want anyone to think more highly of me than is warranted by what he sees of me and hears from me. So tremendous, however, were the revelations that God gave me that, in order to prevent my becoming absurdly conceited, I was given a stabbing pain (NIV: thorn in my flesh)--one of Satan's angel's--to plague me and effectually stop any conceit. Three times I begged the Lord for it to leave me, but his reply has been, "My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely." Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ.
Gal 4:13-14 (Phi) [Paul:] You know that it was physical illness which was the cause of my first preaching the gospel to you. You didn't despise me or let yourself be revolted by my disease. No you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, or even as though I were Christ Jesus himself!
On the basis of Gal 4:15, 6:11 and other passages it is believed that Paul had some kind of repugnant and conspicuous eye disease, perhaps an aftereffect of his conversion blindness in Acts 9:4-9. God has, in the past, allowed Satan to continue to buffet the bodies of those he has given great gifts. This is to keep them from taking glory to themselves. In the case of Paul, his "sickness" was likely a painful reminder of the radical discipline God used to achieve his conversion. Could it be that we have misinterpreted similar situations in our own lives?
Dealing With Those Unsubmissive To God
In situations of God-given weakness, there will always be zealous, immature believers angling to pray healing over us so that they can boast. How many times should we allow this? If we sense the Spirit isn't behind it, how can we gracefully put a stop to it? How should we explain ourselves? By following the example of Paul, perhaps? Paul did not let the immature around him to attempt a vain-glorious healing. Instead, he let everyone know that God had said "No" by denying the request 3 times. Might we not imitate Paul in this?Luke 12:47-48 (NIV) "The servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows... From everyone who has been given much, much more will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
1 Cor 4:2,7 (NIV) Now it is required that those who have been given a trust to prove faithful. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
1 Cor 4:14,16 (NIV) [Paul:] I am not writing you to shame you, but to warn you... Therefore, I urge you to imitate me.
Epaphroditus Barely Makes It
Phil 2:25-30 (Wey) Yet I deem it important to send Epaphroditus to you now--he is my brother and comrade both in labour and in arms, and is your messenger who has ministered to my needs. I send him because he is longing to see you all and is distressed at your having heard of his illness. For it is true that he has been ill, and was apparently at the point of death; but God had pity on him, and not only on him, but also on me, to save me from having sorrow upon sorrow. I am therefore all the more eager to send him, in the hope that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have the less sorrow. Receive him therefore with heartfelt Christian joy, and hold in honour men like him; because it was for the sake of Christ's work that he came so near death, hazarding, as he did, his very life in endeavouring to make good...
Christ, And Christ In Us
2Cor 8:9a (RSV) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor.
Ray Stedman on Following Jesus in Weakness
"When he had everything, when he was rich in power, when he had omnipotence at his command and could do all things in the universe, he became poor. He laid it all aside, he became powerless so that, as he walked here among men, he said of himself, 'The Son of himself can do nothing, absolutely nothing, it is the Father that dwells in me does the work.' (John 14:10). He became poor, he surrendered the independent use of his mind to the Father and the Father's will and be became absolutely nothing!
2 Cor 2:15-16 (NAS) For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate [KJV: sufficient] for these things?"Who can do this? What school can you graduate from will give you this capability? What course can you take? What human leader can you follow who will teach you how to function in these realms and on these terms so that people are actually set free? "Who is sufficient for these things?"
2Cor 3:5 (NAS) Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God."Jesus himself raised the question with his disciples. On one occasion he turned to the twelve and said to them, "Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink..?" (Matt 20:22). In their ignorant futility they said, "Yes, sure, we are able," as many of us have unthinkingly said. But Jesus' words are very solemn. He said, "You shall drink indeed of my cup..." (Matt 20:23). He meant by that that there would be frustration, there would be fear, there would be loneliness and death in your experience if you are going to see the power of God released in your life.
"The victorious Christian life is not one of continual victory in the sense of overcoming all obstacles and feeling triumphant as you go. No! No! It is one of anguish of heart at times, of deep inner doubts, of fighting with frustrations without and fears within. It is one of being opposed oftentimes, yet confident that the God who is within you is able to work his work and do his will, that out of the fear, the frustration, and the failure is coming triumph and victory and the fragrance of Jesus Christ."
God Has A Different Perspective On Things
Luke 16:15 (NIV) ..."What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."
1 Sam 16:7 (NRS) "...The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
Micah 6:8 (NIV) He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Ps 72:13 (NIV) He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.
Weakness: The Position Of Spiritual Advantage
1 Cor 1:27 (NIV) But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1 Cor 2:3 (NIV) I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
1 Cor 4:10 (NIV) We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
1 Cor 9:22 (NIV) To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
1 Cor 12:22 (NIV) On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.
2 Cor 12:9 (NIV) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
I Must Decrease, So That He Might Increase In Me
John 3:30 (NIV) [John the Baptist:] "He must become greater; I must become less."
2 Cor. 12:10 (NIV) That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor 13:4-9 (NIV) For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you.... We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.
Rev 2:9 (Jer) "I know the trials you have had, and how poor you are--though you are rich!"
Oswald Chambers: "If Jesus ever gave us a command he could not enable us to fulfill, He would be a liar; and if we make our inability a barrier to obedience, it means we are telling God there is something He has not taken into account. Every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God. Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power."Jas 4:10 (NIV) Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.