Copyright © Mims Chapel COGIC. All rights reserved.


LESSON 2


Second Week


The Ministry Of The Thorn

Background Reading

Numbers 33:55; Matthew 13:3-9; Isaiah 33:12

Central Verse

"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

"Or because of these surpassingly great rev­elation, Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me."
2 Corinthians 12:7, NIV

Devotional Reading

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Key Terms

Buffet- A blow especially with the hand: something that strikes with-telling force.
Conceited — Ingeniously contrived: having or showing and excessively high opinion of oneself.
Exalted — To raise in rank: to elevate by praise or in estimation: to raise high: to enhance the activity of.

Introduction
Everything that we learn comes from somebody or something, so most of the things that happen in our lives are designed to teach or inform us of a life lesson. The ministry of the thorn gives us an insight into a lesson that is worthwhile and beneficial. God is concerned about all of us, and He knows what is up ahead in our lives. He knows what will affect us negatively or positively, so sometimes He puts incidents and "thorns" in our lives to help us. Remember, every rosebush has thorns as well as roses. As beautiful as the roses are, in order to get them, we have to deal with the thorns.

Discussion

Just what is a thorn?

The dictionary says that a thorn is a stiff, sharp-pointed, straight or curved woody projection on the stem or other part of a plant. We can safely say that it is a splinter, a stake, or something sharp that can stick or hurt a person. It is something that can cause pain, little or much depending on how large or small the thorn is.

The thorn that the apostle Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 12:7 could have been many things. Some said it was his eyes; some commentators said Paul had a humpback. Well, we really don't know, but we do know that it was a messenger of Satan with a purpose to buffet, or to strike sharply and repeatedly. Anything that is buffeted will come out shining. According to the Scripture, it was in the flesh, and this thorn was given to Paul to prevent
pride. Let's go back into the Scriptures and see what we can find out about thorns. According to the book of Numbers, after God had allowed the children of Israel to leave Egypt and make it across the Red Sea through the mountains into the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, He gave Moses instructions to give to His people. God told Moses to tell the people that He had given them the Promised Land, but they must drive out all of the inhabitants of the land. God instructed them to destroy their pictures, their idols, and all the high places. God told


them the land was theirs, but they must get rid of everyone who was already there. God told Moses that in order to possess the land, they must get rid of all the Canaanites, for they were idolatrous people and would cause much trouble for them. God said if the children of Israel didn't get rid of these people, they would become a constant source of trouble to them. They would be "pricks in yours eyes and thorns in your sides " and they would harass them forever (Numbers 33:55).

There are some people in our lives that we need to rid ourselves of. These people are irritants, like pricks in our eyes and thorns in our sides. God referred to these heathen nations as pricks and thorns designed to harass and trouble the children of Israel. The generations of the Canaanites are yet there today, harassing and creating trouble for God's people because the Israelites did not follow God's instructions to get rid of all of them. In Isaiah 33:12 God referred to the people as the burning of lime and thorns that are burned in the fire.

The Seed That Fell Among Thorns

Jesus tells many stories in the form of parables, which taught vital spiritual truths about the kingdom of God. In three of the Gospels, there are similar parables about a sower who went out to sow seeds. The seed is the Word of God that is preached, taught, or even illustrated to different people with the purpose of helping them. The point of the parable was that the different soil represented the different hearts people have, and the condition of the soil determines the potential for growth. When the seed, or the Word, fell among thorns, or a heart that had thorns (problems, infirmities, or even undesirable people), the thorns grew up and choked the seed, or the Word, and it yielded no crop. The seed is good and wholesome, but if the heart is bothered by things or people who are a hindrance, the Word cannot bring forth wholesome fruit.

Conclusion
Whatever the thorns may be in your life, you must remember that God's grace is sufficient for you. God's grace is enough to see you through every trial and every trouble with your flesh in any way, shape, or form. God's grace is greater than the power of any person or any spirit that can come against you. The thorn was sent to challenge the God in you. It was sent to destroy you, but if you will allow it to become a positive force in your life, its purpose will give positive results.

Questions

Why would God allow a messenger of Satan to bother Paul?
What was the purpose of Paul's thorn?
What can a person do when he realizes that he has a thorn in his flesh?
Why did the thorn choke the seed after the sower had sowed it?
How do we handle the thorns in our life?
Name one of the purposes for the ministry of the thorn.

Essential Thought-

" The ministry of the thorn will help you fulfill your ministry with victory."