2 Corinthians 12:9 “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.”
If we will read the whole chapter of 2 Corinthians 12, we will know that Paul is experiencing a “thorn in the flesh” that was given to him by Satan’s messenger to make him suffer while doing his service to our Lord (2 Cor. 12:7). The word “thorn” in this verse came from the Greek word “skoloy” which means “a pointed wood” or “a stake”. Based on this, one will know that the pain being experienced by the Apostle Paul here is the pain of having one’s flesh pierced by a pointed wood. Can you imagine his pain?
This is the reason why he sought the Lord thrice that it should be taken from him (2 Cor.12:8). Let’s pause for a moment here…
Here is a true servant of God who gives his all to serve our Lord God. Paul gives everything to our Lord, yet, our Lord allowed it for him to have that pain. Here is the true servant of God who was mightily used to cast out demons, raise the dead back to life and heal the sick. But he himself is sick! Can you imagine that? You may asked: “Why did our Lord allowed this to happen to His servant.”
The answer to that question is found on our verse above. Our Lord told Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee: FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS.” In order for the strength of God to be made manifest in Paul, a thorn in the flesh is needed. Without it, the strength of the Lord can’t be manifested. This is the reason why in verse 10 Paul told us:
“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.”
We need to be thankful for the sickness, weaknesses, calamities, distress, this COVID 19 pandemic we are experiencing, persecutions and not so favorable circumstances in our lives for it is in them that the strength of our Lord is seen in us and therefore, in these weaknesses, we are at our strongest.
We read that just because a person is a true servant of the Lord, it is not an assurance that he will be free from any sickness or diseases. The opposite is the truth. True servants of God can still get sick. Aside from Paul, some examples also are Job, Lazarus and Brother Branham. And we must also take note through these examples that just because a person is sick, it doesn’t make him a false minister of God. Again, this is not the proof that we should be looking for.
True ministers of the Lord can still get sick. They are still prone to viruses, sickness and other diseases in order for the strength of the Lord to be made manifest through these weaknesses. This is to show us that it is actually not them who controls everything and that we should not depend on them. It is still the Lord Who works through them and Who has the control for everything.
ATTENTION ALL WEAKLINGS – GOD WANTS TO USE YOU!
If you have also noticed, our Lord God also chooses the weak in order to confound the mighty (1 Cor. 1:27). Let’s take a look at the heroes of faith and people in the Bible whom God used to execute His plan.
Abraham for example, was a nobody in the land of Ur. He and his wife Sarah was already very old when the Lord called them to come to the Promised land (Gen. 12:1-3). Not to mention that his wife Sarah is also a barren woman. But it is to them that God gave the promised that they will become a great nation. The Lord multiply their seed and the children of God came through them. These old and barren people became the ancestors of a great nation.
Joseph was despised by his siblings. He is the youngest and the weakest among all of them and his siblings are not happy when he is around. Yet, he was the one used by our Lord to save all of his family from famine.
Moses was not eloquent in speaking. He is slow in speech and slow in tongue (Gen 4:10). Yet the Lord became his mouth (Gen. 4:12). And He made him His spokesman and His prophet among His people.
Gideon was also the weakest. He is in the tribe of Manasseh, the weakest among Israel. His family is also the weakest among the tribe and he is the weakest among his family (Judges 6:14 -16). Therefore, Gideon was the weakest among the weak. But our Lord used him to defeat the Midianite using only 300 people! And he becomes one of the great Judges in Israel.
David was the youngest among his brothers. He is just a youth. But it was Him whom the Lord used in order to defeat and kill Goliath. And the Lord made him the greatest king in Israel.
These are only some of the weak people whom God used to show how powerful and mighty He is. These people source of strength is the Lord. One weakling plus a powerful God are always the victor in every battle and wars.
WELCOME TO THE WEAK CLUB
Have you ever felt that you really don’t have anything much to offer to our Lord God and probably can’t be used by Him? Well, welcome to the weak club! And the first requirement for you to be a candidate to be used by God is, well, as I have mentioned – being weak.
That’s why just like the apostle Paul, be thankful to your weaknesses. Glorify God for them. It is through them that the power of God can rest and can be seen in you.
Now if you noticed, it is also in the most weakest point of our lives that we also became the strongest. You may asked: “How is this?” Well, if you have remember the stories in the Bible, it is in the lowest and the weakest points of their lives that the people of the Lord became the strongest.
Take for example in the story of Moses and the Israelites facing the great red sea and the chariots and horsemen of Egypt behind them. It is in this weakest, hope vanishing and desperate situation that the Lord showed them how powerful He is. That He can make a way when there seems to be no way. He parted the Red Sea that made the people rejoice and realized how strong and powerful is their God.
And have you also remember the strongest person who ever lived? Yes I’m talking about Samson. When did He become the strongest? Is it during his youthful days? Is it during those times that he has his long hair and is free to do whatever he wanted to do? No! He was at his strongest when he was caught and became captive of the Philistines where he was also blinded and had his hair cut. You may say “But that was his weakest point in life.” Yes, I agree, but that was also his strongest. It is at this point of Samson’s life that he called upon the Lord his God. And the Lord give him the strength he needed to win against his enemies. It is during that time that he had killed many Philistines that if one will add up the numbers of Philistines he killed when his eyes can still see and his hair is still long, the number is still nothing compared to when he was blind and was held captive.
Another example is when our Lord Jesus died. When our Lord died, his disciples and friend were all hopeless. They came back to their previous lives thinking that their Lord will not return. The fishermen went fishing again forgetting the words of our Lord. This is the weakest point of their lives. But then, in this weakest point, the Lord appeared to them and their hope came back, this time, much greater for they can see that our Lord conquers death itself. And after this event, nothing can stop them anymore in proclaiming the Gospel. All of them are unstoppable not even by a sword or a cross can stop them. They are at their strongest.
These are the perfect examples of the strength of the Lord made perfect in weakness. We should always remember that this perfect strength will only come when we are at our weakest point. That’s why I always believe that during our Rapture, which is the strength of God made perfect in us, can only happen when the Bride is at her weakest point. That is, before the Rapture, we will going to experience first great hopelessness just like what happened to the disciples. Before the latter rain will pour out, we will going to experience first a great drought of the Word (Amos 8:11-13). It will feel like the Word had left us. But then during that weakest point in our lives, our Rapture will come. For stars shine the brightest only during the darkest night.
WHY OUR LORD LOVES THE WEAK?
Aside from making His strength made perfect in weakness, another reason why our Lord loves the weak is because of this:
“Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
The nation Israel constructed three “houses” for our Lord God during their history. They were intended for a dwelling place of our Lord. During the days of Moses, they built a portable tabernacle in which the presence of God dwelt. After settling in the land, it was replaced by a permanent structure when King Solomon built the first temple. But even Solomon expressed his doubt that a temple could contain God saying:
1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?”
After the destruction of the temple built by Solomom, a second temple was then constructed as a dwelling place of God which was still in existence during the time of our Lord Jesus. But about 40 years after His death, the Roman army under the leadership of Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the 2nd Temple.
God allowed for these “houses” to be destroyed so that man could learn that He could not be contained in them. And that these buildings made of stones are not His ultimate tabernacle. He does not take pleasure in these buildings. God’s ultimate and final plan is to dwell (tabernacled) in us. That is where He takes pleasure to.
WHAT OUR LORD GOD WANTS
“For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
“But to this man I will look…” The Hebrew word for “Look” is “naw-bat”. It is a primitive root which means “to look intently at,” “by implication to regard with pleasure,” “favor” or “care.”
So our Lord is saying: “This is the one I take pleasure in, this is the one I favor and care for.” And who are these people? Are they the ones who are spiritually strong? Are they the spiritual giant and mighty? No! The people whom God takes pleasure with are those who are “poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” This is the one whom God care for. This is what He is looking.
The word “poor” on that verse came from the Hebrew word “awnee” which means “lowly, humble, weak, depressed.” While the word “contrite” came from the Hebrew word “nawkeh” which means “stricken, smitten, crippled”.
So our Lord is not interested in temples. Our Lord is not interested in beautiful and big church buildings. He’s not interested in religion. He is not interested in church programs. He is not interested in big numbers of attendees or in good voices and of good singing. Too bad, it is on these very things that people today are putting their efforts in.
What our Lord wants is a weak and crippled spirit that trembles at His word. “Trembles at His word” means that these people’s priority is to follow the Word. They are willing be lead by our Lord. This is what the best tabernacle means. This is where God takes pleasure. This is the reason why our Lord Jesus said in John 14:23
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
And in Matthew 5:3:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
They are the dwelling place of God. Heaven is the throne of God and the Earth is His footstool (Isa. 66:1). But He don’t take pleasure on these even if these things are magnificent. What He wanted is a poor and contrite spirit.
THE STORY OF MEPHIBOSHETH
As what I have written above, the word “contrite” came from the Hebrew word “nawkeh” which means “stricken, smitten, crippled.” Interestingly, this word was only used three times in the Old Testament. Here in Isaiah 66:2 and in two other verses. One of these verses is 2 Samuel 4:4 which describes how Mephibosheth became crippled. Let’s take a look at this verse:
2 Samuel 4:4 “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame (or crippled – Nawkeh) of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.”
If you remember, King Saul has a son called Jonathan. And Jonathan had a son called Mephibosheth. During a battle, both Saul and his son Jonathan died and when the news came back that they were dead, the nurse thought she should take young Mephibosheth, who is only five, and flee for safety. In her haste however, she dropped Mephibosheth and he fell and became crippled. Remember the person to whom God take pleasure with. The one He cared for: “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite (crippled) of spirit, and who trembles at my word.”
So this verse gives us the background concerning how Mephibosheth’s became lame. Let’s follow this story on in 2 Sam 9:1-13 where a whole chapter was written for Mephibosheth:
“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”
When David became king, he wanted to bless the house of Saul for Jonathan’s sake with whom he had had a great friendship with (1 Sam. 20:17). The only one left from the house of Saul is Mephibosheth, our crippled friend.
What can we learn from his story? Well, this is one of the best types in the Old Testament of the state of mankind that God is willing to lift such a crippled state of us. Our Lord God is always trying to teach us something through stories like this. And this is one of the best stories.
7 THINGS WE LEARN FROM THE STORY OF MEPHIBOSHETH
Here are the seven things we can learn from the this story of Mephibosheth:
1. THE STORY STARTS WITH A FALL
Mephibosheth’s story started with his fall that made him crippled in both feet. This represents the story of mankind. Our story also starts with the fall of Adam and all of humanity became lame. Despite our earnest desire, we could no longer walk as we were originally created to do. The desire of our Lord ins that we may see the depth of the fall. The Bible says that Mephibosheth was ‘crippled in both feet.’ It wasn’t just one feet or that he can walked but with a bit of a limp. No! The problem was far more serious than that. And if one will acknowledge the seriousness of this problem, then that’s the start of spiritual progression.
2. HE WAS SOLD AND WITH NO PASTURE
“Behold, he is in the house of Machir… in Lo-debar.” Though he was once a grandchild of the king, Mephibosheth was now fatherless, living with Machir (meaning ‘sold’) in Lo-debar (meaning ‘no pasture’). Sold into a barren unfruitful existence. It is a picture of the human race that even though we are created by God, in His image and likeness – with royal blood so to speak… we find themselves sold as slaves unto sin – separated from our true Father, and dwelling in a state of barrenness. That is the sad spiritual state of those without the Lord.
3. DAVID SOUGHT MEPHIBOSHETH OUT TO BLESS HIM
David didn’t need to but he sought out Mephibosheth to bless him. In manner like this, our Lord Jesus Christ also came to seek and save those that were lost. He didn’t have to but still, He sought us out! After this, when King David was told about Mephibosheth, his first question was ‘Where is he?’ After the fall of Adam, the first thing that God has done was too sought Adam and Eve asking them saying ‘where are you?’ God is always looking, always searching for us. This is the reason why the Lord sought the lost sheep. He chooses us and not the other way around (John15:16). He died for us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8).
4. HE WAS BLESSED BECAUSE OF HIS FATHER JONATHAN
Then David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Mephibosheth was blessed because he was the son of Jonathan. He was ‘in Jonathan’ you could say and that was where David’s blessing was. It wasn’t that Mephibosheth was anything great. He was physically crippled and he needs someone to attend to him. Just like him, we too, as the children of God, are blessed because of another. We are ‘in Christ’ (2 Cor. 5:17) – so to speak. We are “accepted in the beloved” Ephesians 1:6 tells us. That is why we praise Him! We have no standing before God in ourselves. Jesus is our life. We stand before God ‘in Him’. He is our standing. We are blessed because of another.
5. HE NEVER SEES ANYTHING IN HIM THAT WOULD REQUIRE THE KING TO BE GRACIOUS
“What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?”
Mephibosheth didn’t understand why king David would be so gracious to him. But still, he found himself blessed. Have you ever felt that you really don’t have anything to deserve the love God? This is always the qualities of the children of God. They always felt undeserving, yet, it was to them the blessing was given. That’s why we read in Psalm 8:4
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
Also in Job 25:6
“How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?”
We are indeed worms! But it is not about us, it is about our Lord Jesus Christ.
6. HE EXPERIENCED A FULL RESTORATION
“I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.”
All that had been lost would be restored. King David would see to that. It was a full restoration. No more living down in Lo-debar, the place of barrenness and no pasture. He now had his own land and could dine with the king. In like manner Jesus is the great redeemer and all things lost shall be restored. A full restoration is waiting upon those who are Spiritually lame. And one day, we will also eat on our Lord’s table during the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-9)! Praise be the name of the Lord!
7. MEPHIBOSHETH BECAME A KING’S SON
“So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons.”
The restoration didn’t just consist of the land and ‘things’. It was a restoration of position and sonship. One day we will also be revealed in our Lord in glory (Col. 3:1-4). And just like what Romans 8:18-19:
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
Are you weak? Are you lame? Then God wants you. Who would have thought that being called lame and weak was actually a compliment! They are the first requirements needed by our Lord in us.
Just like Mephibosheth, we are all actually lame spiritually speaking. And yet, we find ourselves blessed because of another. To whom does God look and have pleasure and regard? It is to those people who realize their own many weaknesses and brokenness that God seeks to dwell with. Not temples, not religious rituals, not anything made with human hands. He seeks to dwell in the hearts of humble and contrite men and women who desire Him and love His word. One day the plan of God will be complete and we shall be revealed as we truly are – the manifestations of the sons of God. We shall be like our Lord Jesus. In sharing His life with us we shall be truly found in His image and we shall be free forever from sin and death.
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