Paul’s Thorn: Buffeted By Demons

2 Corinthians 12:7-10… “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. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 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. 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” (KJV). I want to talk a little about Paul’s thorn and the buffeting he received and how he handled it. But first a few other verses…

1 Peter 2:20… Peter talks about the Christians being buffeted. He talks of Christians doing well in serving Christ then getting unexpected buffetings. They also manifest frustrations and impatience.

Mark 14:65, Matthew 26:67… Jesus was buffeted. People spit on Jesus and blocked His face by shoving their hands into His face.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10… Paul was buffeted.

Verse 7… “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me” (KJV). This thorn was not given because Paul was conceited. I do not believe that Paul was a man who let revelations go to his head. He was given the thorn in the flesh because people were exalting him a little too much. Notice the word “lest.” People like to gather around ministries that receive revelations and visions from the Lord. It’s people like this who ruin ministries by placing them on a pedestal. The devil didn’t like Paul receiving praise and revelations, so he tried to kill him.

“A thorn in the flesh”… The word “thorn” means “bodily annoyance.” The bodily annoyance was the demon Satan sent. The thorn was not God’s angel; it was a devil’s angel. The Lord does not bodily annoy His people. Did you read that? The Lord does not bodily annoy His people. Notice the phrase “the messenger of  Satan.” The word “messenger” as used here is from the word aggelos, especially an “angel,” by implication a pastor. Paul was buffeted by people too as well as by demoniacs.

The purpose of the thorn was “to buffet Paul.” The word “buffet” means “to rap with the fist, to curtail activity, to mark out for affliction and punishment, to be a continuous action”; i.e., no let up.” 1 Corinthians 4:11 talks about Paul constantly being buffeted. Satan was angry at Paul’s abundance of revelations, so he sent an angel to kill Paul. In 2 Corinthians 11:26-27, Paul talks of physical beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, hungering, perils, robbers, false brethren, and much more. This was done by human beings and by false religions. Today there is persecution all over the world. Christians are buffeted very severely.

Paul prayed three times that the Lord would cause this demonic messenger to depart. The word “depart” means “to stand away from, to get rid of in one decisive and complete act instead of in a long drawn-out process.”

Verse 9… “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (KJV). The word “grace” refers to God’s operational power. The word “sufficient” means “to ward off, to give protection by warding off.” In other words, it means, “bringing to completion.” The word “weakness” means “absence of strength.” Paul was not able to ward off the demonic messenger because all the buffetings left him without strength. Jesus recognized Paul’s problem as absence of strength. So Jesus comes with all dunamis power, the full dimension of His power, to Paul’s rescue. “My complete power will ward of the demonic messenger.”

When Christians lack strength, God’s complete power wards off all the oppressions of the devil. Are you experiencing “bodily annoyance”? Christ’s power is there to ward off that annoyance. Bodily annoyance can refer to nonstop pains, sickness, or constant turmoil.

Verse 9… Paul then says, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (KJV). The word “infirmities” means “weakness, absence of strength.” Paul says, “When I am in situations where I lack strength, Christ’s complete power rests upon me.” The word “rest” as used here means “covers me like a tent.” That tent of power protects me by warding off the devil. Paul didn’t glory in the buffetings, but in the power of Christ that rested on Paul every time he felt weak. God’s strength was perfected, i.e., complete, when Paul experienced weakness. I’m sure that when the Lord saw Paul’s weakness, He said, “I have an opportunity to help him.”

Many adverse conditions come to Christians because of the lack of physical strength. At Paul’s weakest point, Christ’s power covered him like a tent. He will cover you as well. Paul was not demon-possessed, but he was under continuous demonic attack. Paul was an anointed apostle, and the devil attacked that anointing in Paul. Those attacks produced the adverse conditions as seen in 2 Corinthians 11:26-27. When Jesus told Paul that His grace was sufficient, He was saying, “Paul, I am going to protect you and keep on protecting you. I will make the demonic messenger stand off from you. Paul, it will be a continuous action.” This is what Paul took pleasure in–Christ’s continuous covering that covered him like a tent.

This is our promise too. “[We] are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1 Peter 1:5, KJV) Today, there is an abundance of buffetings. The same grace that helped Paul helps you. When you are buffeted, then Jesus comes. When adverse situations arise against you, then Jesus comes. When you find yourself absent of strength, then Jesus comes with grace, and with the full dimension of His power and covers you like a tent. When Jesus comes, the tempter’s power is broken. He takes away your never-ending gloom, and fills your life with glory. Ask the Lord to take away your buffetings. Have you bodily annoyances today? Jesus wants to come to help you and to deliver you.

Pastor George Belobaba

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