The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"When I am weak, then am I strong" (II Corinthians 12:10).
For all the world, the Apostle Paul's confession of strength in weakness does not seem true, feel true, or appear to be true.
Consider, however the chronicles of the only perfectly true Book ever written.
Abel died at the hands of his brother Cain, seeming to perish in futility. The New Testament nevertheless speaks of Abel's "better sacrifice," that is, of an offering that early in human history bore witness to the greatest sacrifice of all, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Abel weak? No, he was strong in being the first to vividly portray and presage the Savior.
Moses felt so weak in his ability to communicate that God gave him a mouthpiece, Aaron. Moses, however, would proceed to communicate thousands of God's words to Israel, and through the ages, to the world in the pages of the first five books of the Old Testament. He would also foretell of a Prophet greater than himself who would one day redeem Israel. Moses weak as God's voice? No, he was strong as the human conveyor of Scripture, and the law that would serve as a "schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ."
Consider Rahab the harlot. How can she appear in the pages of Scripture in any positive sense? Because she discovered that the God of Israel is the living and true God, and the Redeemer of those like herself. She protected Jewish spies in the light of such knowledge, saved her family from death, and found her way into the chronicle of the faithful found in Hebrews 11. "By faith" she did what she did. Rahab weak because of her history? Rahab redeemed! That is the real story.
Consider David, led to confront a mighty giant with a sling and a stone. We all know the outcome. Often overlooked is that throughout his lifetime, through successes and failures, righteous and sinful actions, David was a man said to be after God's own heart because he well knew how totally dependent he was on the Lord. David weak? Yes, but in the best sense of his weakness so often serving as the vessel for God's strength.
Then there is Mephibosheth, made lame by an accident early in life, and considered by others and himself to be a "dead dog" according to the understanding of his day. Because of his relationship to his father Jonathan, however, Mephibosheth found a place at King David's table to feast for a lifetime. A lame man thus shines in the Biblical narrative as a light whereby we realize that we find our place at God's table only because of relationship to our Jonathan, the Lord Jesus Christ - "accepted in the Beloved." Mephibosheth weak? No, Mephibosheth called and filled by grace, as are all rightly related to the Lord Jesus by faith.
Ponder Paul, imprisoned and ultimately executed by Nero. Who won their battle? Certainly, it seems that Nero prevailed. However, 2,000 years later, who reads the dead emperors's words every day throughout the world? Conversely, whose God-inspired testimony and teaching have led millions to faith in the Lord Jesus, and then helped to establish their walk with God in a bright light that shines unto the present moment? Paul died by the keen edge of Nero's blade. But the thought of God's chief apostle as weak dissolves in the knowledge of how much his Lord's power flowed - and continues to flow - through Paul's human frailty. Paul won the battle with Nero thereby, a victory that sounds and resounds through the ages.
The list could go on and on of the Bible's declaration of God's saints who availed themselves of His enabling because they so realized their need. We cannot mention all. But we must include one more in the narrative of God's strength made perfect in weakness. Consider a baby born not in a palace, but laid in a feeding trough of animals. Angels attended his birth, along with shepherds (wise men bearing gifts later came). But few knew who He was. The baby grew into a boy spiritually and intellectually precocious at twelve, but hidden away for eighteen years thereafter. He began a ministry that brought Him renown among many, but rejection by most. Ridicule often greeted Him when He spoke His Father's truth, and a cross whereupon He was "crucified through weakness" awaited Him at the end of His earthly life. The Lord Jesus, weak? No one who knows the truth about Him would ever consider Him so. Indeed, more than any other, our Savior confirmed the truth of "When I am weak, then am I strong."
Our lives continue the narrative. We all have challenges of condition, situation, and circumstance that confirm our human frailty, and open a door into God's divine enabling. Thus, we do well to join Paul and so many others in the remembrance and affirmation that our weakness serves as the vessel and venue of the power of God…
"We also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God."
(II Corinthians 13:4)
Weekly Memory Verse
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise, which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.