2 Corinthians 12:9

2 Corinthians 12:9  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
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When God makes strength perfect in weakness, the question comes, Who is the doer of everything? This took place in Paul when he was first converted; this was the principle he was first put on—You are not to trust, Paul, to your own strength, or wisdom, or anything; but you are to trust Me. Paul got locked up in prison, and despaired of life; but it was not God's thought that His Apostle should be stopped. When he was quietly conning over it all, he said, I had "sentence of death" in myself, etc. Paul had before him the God that raised up the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 1:99But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: (2 Corinthians 1:9).)
Was it a great thing for the God who had raised the Lord Jesus, who had shone down into Paul's heart, to open his prison bars? Christ was crucified in weakness; He lives by the power of God- strength made perfect in weakness. The expression at the close of verse 9 should be "tabernacle upon me"; the thought conveyed to my soul is a reference to God dwelling in a pillar of fire, and the cloud keeping company with people all through their journey in the wilderness. Paul was to go forth as one who had no strength, but as one whose weakness is used of God for the display of His glory; and there we find Paul singing a song over Satan. I glory in my infirmities; he finds he can bear nothing of himself, perfect weakness; but now he has got the secret of victory from the Lord, and he can sing a song over his weakness and over Satan; and he finds Satan's work has been turned into his good. The Lord has allowed it, all for his blessing.
Now the question is, Will Christ's arm be always underneath me? Will He ever tabernacle over me? Will He never fail me? Shall I be always able to sing this song? This is the principle of resurrection which quiets and gives peace. Paul was to wear it inside him all day long, through his whole course. Resurrection must be applied to our every circumstance. "Crucified with Chris t," "quickened us together," "raised us up together, and made us to sit together in," etc. Through all your life, Paul, you are to take this principle into your bosom; resurrection, strength made perfect in weakness.
One word, and it is not a strained word: I have often thought of the wilderness through which God brought Israel. His eye was on the wilderness. He prepared it. In substance He says, I have made the place for a particular purpose in connection with My people; I have arranged it long ago. The wilderness was no accident; it was the very place He had prepared. No 'resources to nature; absolute dependence on God there. And God has made and marked out your circumstances, and has so made them that you cannot go through them without Himself. Some may say in reference to their path, This thing came upon me through the sin of someone else. Never mind that; it came from God. Neither divine wisdom nor power could have added anything to the wilderness to have made it more impassable to nature or more easy to God. He allows a quantity of things in our circumstances to make us feel we cannot go through them without Him. What an immense difference in saying, This thing comes from God;
He has put it there, and, All this is against me. If it is I and God, there is no difficulty; if we leave Him out, the way is impassable. Which would you rather have, a life without difficulty, or a life so full of difficulty that the blessed Lord Jesus is obliged to show His face every day, yes, every minute, obliged to keep close to me all day long?
God so ordered the course of the Apostle that it was impossible to get on without the Lord Jesus who raises the dead; and this does not merely apply to moral difficulties, but to everything. There is someone sick in the house; who do you turn to first, God or the doctor? When the doctor thinks it a serious case, you take it as a decision; but the question is not what the doctor says, but what is God's purpose? Means may be used, but the Christian is not to use anything apart from God - the Lord first in everything. I do not think praise ever comes forth from us so purely as in connection with what is disagreeable. When we give thanks for mercies, it is not so pure as when able to praise for what we do not like; we should be dropping the sweet into the disagreeable. When we think of the Lord's love in it, it sweetens what is bitter.
The life of Paul was a wonderful life. "To me to live is Christ." The way he did run his course brought out the fellowship of the life of Christ; he had in Caesar's court the very life the Lord Jesus had on the Father's throne. It is wonderful, and all on the principle, "My grace is sufficient for thee."