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. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2 Corinthians 12:7-8 KJV
When we think of the Thorn here we imagine small rose thorns. When you study the crown of thorns they made for Yeshua we know that those thorns were long and needle like.
The context to this passage in 2 Corinthians 12 is that Paul introduces the reason for what was given. Who gave it? God. Either intentional or permitted that we do not know for sure. What we do not have any doubt is that the Thorn was given for a particular purpose.
What springs to mind is the life of Cardinal Philippe Neri who became known the Apostle of the Holy Spirit. We see like Paul that this man had very intense experiences with the Spirit and subsequently the heavenly dimension.
But what this man did was play down his experiences and even dissuaded his followers from seeking this dimension. He knew there was a personal spiritual tightrope of being humble as the human heart is wicked and hard to dominate if not submitted to the Holy Spirit.
It is therefore the same attitude as Paul who cites a situation in which he was translated temporarily to the 3rd heaven. This itself is revelation as no-one knew until knowing this that there existed 3 heavens. He saw and heard things that he could not repeat.
It was not the only experience Paul had.
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 Corinthians 12:7 KJV
We see there the words that prove that what Paul alluded to about his temporary translation was not the only experience. He had an abundance.
The danger for Paul was conceit. It was not dangerous to him but to the Ecclesia down the centuries. Great doctrinal insights were handed down and preached in many generations. For conceit the first danger that would come in would be error in his writing and preaching in that his perception of the revelations would be distorted. The Word of God would then be polluted and I am sure the Bible would have been poorer for it.
God is wanting today to clean the pulpit and the writings of people so that in dealing with conceit we can also affect generations from here and now.
The identity of the Thorn is clear. It was a messenger from Satan. We here get a parallel with Job who also was tried by Satan and lost everything. The charge being that Job was worshipping God because of the benefits that he received. The result is that Job loses his house, his possessions and his family. A striking blow.
Today we see many affected by war, floods, earthquakes. From one moment to another their lives changed forever! Imagine the feeling and the sense of tremendous loss!
Paul is given a Thorn. It must have been a great battle, a great irritation, a great anguish. We do not know what effect and what losses he had in passing this Thorn.
Paul says he sought God 3 times over it. Such was the “buffeting”.
What did Paul gain from this seeking of God?
1. Understanding that this was a Thorn sent from Satan.
2. Understanding the Purpose of the Thorn
3. Understanding that He could access Grace to overcome and that the Thorn would be less of a irritant.
This is where this prophetic word is headed. Today many of us may be passing through trials and situations which have the potential to derail us from doing the Will of God. It seems we have been “given” a Thorn. We must remember as in the example of Job, even though his own body suffered as well his life was not taken. Paul also went on to serve God to the end.
Your “thorn” is not going to be a permanent feature of your life. It’s not going to be a lodger in your house! It will pass as we understand to submit to God in it. Recognising that it is bigger than you and I and we need to surrender to God to access a grace.
We read about this Grace here. We read it in general terms. But the application is specific. This grace is a special ability, a special dimension and enabling where we can access the resources to overcome.
Paul’s battle was not the Thorn but was breaking the power of conceit. When we go through our trial where we know there may be a “Thorn” we must break whatever it is that may be under God’s spotlight.
Our lives will be spared if we seek understanding and surrender to God.
Today take heart. The Thorn is not here to stay. God’s grace is here to help us prevail!