- The Word of Faith is not “If” but “Since”
- The Cost of the Choice Based on Outward Appearance
- The Giver of Life
- The Giver of Blessings
- What God Sees
- What Do We Long For? Home
- God’s Token
- Doubting God
- Prayer of Faith
- The Value of Being Alone
- The Value of the Limp
- Signs of the Change
- What Makes a Child of God Stink among the World?
Text: Genesis 32:31-32
“…and he halted upon his thigh.” (Genesis 32:31)
In Genesis 32:24-30, the writer relates to the reader the account of Jacob’s encounter with “a man” (who, according to Hosea 12:4, is revealed to be God, “the angel”). This “man” changed Jacob’s life all the remaining years of his earthly journey.
Genesis 32:25 reveals that “…he (God) touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint…” Then Genesis 32:32 says, “…because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.”
The text verse (Genesis 32:31) shows that Jacob had this limp the next morning, “the sun rose upon him.” And Genesis 32:32 shows this limp was with Jacob for the rest of his life; and was a testimony to Israel.
The question arises: Why did God touch Jacob and give him the limp? The answer lies in understanding the different tools that God uses upon His Children to conform them to His Will. This truth is very evident in the Scriptures.
The primary example of the value of the limp in the New Testament is the “thorn” that God appointed for the Apostle Paul. (Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.)
“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)
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8)
“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.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
“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.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Note the following thoughts:
First God tells Paul the What:
- “…a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan…” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
Then God tells Paul the Why:
- “To buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure”; God had given Paul an abundance of Revelation of Truth. The “thorn” would keep Paul humble (2 Corinthians 12:7).
- To cause Paul to seek God’s help for relief, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12: 8).
- To reveal “My (God’s) grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a).
- To cause Paul to glory “in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9b). (Also see Philippians 4:13.)
- For Paul to 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” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
In summary, the benefits of the “thorn in the flesh” for the believer are:
- It causes a resistance.
- It causes you to seek God in prayer for help.
- It causes you to know that your sufficiency is in Christ, and not in self.
- It causes praise for how God’s Power has a place to manifest itself.
- Then the saint can take “pleasure” in his “thorn.” Because when he is weak, then he is strong in Christ.
Paul’s experience with the thorn is a sad commentary on human nature, even when you are born from above, and have a new nature, and are made a new creation. The “old man” is crucified in the regeneration process. However, even though its power is broken (Romans 8:2), the flesh is always with the Regenerated Child of God until physical death. (See Romans 7:15-24; Galatians 5:17.) And it lies in wait to deceive and destroy.
Therefore, Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 10:12:
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
And King David wrote that God knew he was but dust:
“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalms 103:14)
The Regenerated Child of God has the daily responsibility to:
- Yield his members unto Righteousness (Romans 6:8-22);
- Be Holy (1 Peter 1:14-15);
- Walk in Holiness and Peace (Hebrews 12:14);
- Walk as Jesus walked; in Love (1 John 2:6; Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:14-21; 4:7-21: Ephesians 5:1-33; Colossians 3:1-25; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; and hundreds more verses that teach a holy and righteous daily walk).
But, being in the flesh as long as we live on earth, we are weak. God uses many tools, or thorns, to conform us to His Image, and to experience a daily overcoming performance over sin in spirit, soul, and body by the inward Work of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18), Who dwells in the spirit of the believer.
The identities of the thorns that God uses are as many and as personal as there are Children of God. God has purposed, appointed, and designed each thorn specifically for the individual Child of God. It can be chastisement, sickness, trials, tribulations, persecutions, and a million more things.
The truth is – Jacob knew what his limp was; and so did Paul; and so will you. But don’t despise your personal “thorn.” For God designed it for His Glory, and for your good; to conform you to, and for, Himself. Hallelujah!
Be encouraged in your “limp,” for God has been gracious in allowing you to bear His Cross, to have His Power and His Strength to replace your weaknesses, that you may even glory and take pleasure in your “thorn,” as you see and understand the Purpose of God for your life in Christ.