Out of weakness .... Made Strong

"Who, through faith.. wrought righteousness, obtained promises... out of weakness were made strong..." -- Hebrews 11:33-34

Our greatest strength is our weakness, for the Lord Jesus said, "My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Paul, three times over, prayed for the removal of his thorn in the flesh. He twice tells us the reason that it was given to him: "lest I should be exalted above measure."

Indeed, a pride preventive is a blessing, the value of which is impossible to calculate. We are always in danger of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.

The Lord's answer to Paul's requests are recorded: "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Paul's response should be ours, as well:

"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, h necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake.' for when I am weak, then am I strong."

He took pleasure, not in these things, but for Christ's sake, like those of whom we read, "They took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance."

"Everything loss for Him below;
Taking the Cross where'er we go;
Showing to all, where once He trod;
Nothing but Christ, the Christ of God."

The believer can say triumphantly, "Is there anything too hard for Thee, Lord?" "With God" (not to God though true), but "with God (He and I together), all things are possible." Faith says, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).

"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?... He giveth power to the faint; and to them that hath no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:28-31).

They tell us today that we should be more self-reliant. The Word of God teaches us that we should be more reliant on the Lord: "Cursed is everyone that makes flesh his arm; but blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord."

In Phil. 3:3 we read, "For we are the circumcision (those who have put away all dependence on the flesh), which worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

The Bible declares that "he that trusts in his own heart is a fool." The flesh (self) simply cannot be trusted. Our hearts are the biggest liars we know, for "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked."

The prophet Isaiah records: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon Thee, because He trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord Jehovah, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength" (Isa. 26:3-4).

There never has failed, nor ever can fail, one word of all His good promise. "He is faithful that promised" (Heb. 10:23).

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say
Than to you He hath said?
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"

"He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, so that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper. I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Heb. 13.5-6).

"God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (I Cor 1:27). Even the weakness of God is stronger than men. Christ was crucified through weakness (2 Cor. 13:4, and won over every hateful woe

"In meekness and defeat, He won the mead and crown;
Trod all our foes beneath His feet by being trodden down."

"His be the Victor's crown
Who fought the fight alone;
Triumphant saints no honor claim;
His conquest was their own."

In Judges, we read of Samson, who did not know wherein his great strength lay. The Spirit of God came upon him and empowered him. He thought that his strength was in himself, and did not realize, until the Spirit of God departed, that his strength was in the Lord. We, too, are in danger of supposing that our strength is in ourselves—in our natural abilities—but our strength is in the Lord. He is the One who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

We are in danger in two ways of grieving and of quenching the Spirit of God: (1) doing, in the flesh, what we are told not to do, and (2) resisting the Spirit's doing what He desires to do in, for, and through us.

One thing no believer can do is to grieve away the Spirit of God. He is resident in every believer's life. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9). The Scripture says: "Having believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance unto the redemption of the purchased possession" (Eph. 1:13-14).

It is not by our power, but by His power that Christ is made real to us and through us. The Lord Himself is the strength of our lives, while we are weak in ourselves.

When Jacob was "left alone," the angel of the Lord wrestled with him till the breaking of the day. It was indeed a new day that broke for him when the Lord touched the hollow of his thigh. With his thigh out of joint, Jacob, in his weakness, clung to the angel of the Lord, saying, "I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me."

In Hosea 12:3 we read the prophet's comment on this incident: "By his strength, he had power with God." Jacob made the happy discovery that the way to enjoy the strength of God is to cling to Him in our weakness, for "to him that has no might He increaseth strength."

Up to this point, Jacob's life had been a struggle, but now he became a prince with God—not by being self-reliant, but by relying on the Lord. "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him....in Him is everlasting strength." It is not by struggle, but by surrender, that the victory comes.

"He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Eph. 3:20). The finished product will not look anything like what we started with, for we shall be like Him!

"Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
There to worship and adore Thee,
Lost in wonder, love and praise!"

 

ON THEE MY HEART IS RESTING

On Thee my heart is resting;
Ah! this is rest indeed!
What else, Almighty Saviour,
Can a poor sinner need?
Thy light is all my wisdom,
Thy love is all my stay;
Our Father's home in glory
Draws nearer every day.

Great is my guilt, but greater
The mercy Thou dost give;
Thyself, a spotless offering,
Hast died that I should live.
With Thee my soul, unfettered,
Has risen from the dust;
Thy blood is all my treasure;
Thy Word is all my trust.

Through me, thou gentle Master,
Thy purposes fulfill;
I yield myself forever
To Thy most holy will.
What though I be but weakness,
My strength is not in me;
The poorest of Thy people
Has all things, having Thee.

'Tis Thou hast made me happy;
'Tis Thou hast set me free.
To whom should I give glory
Forever but to Thee!
Of earthly love and blessing,
Should every stream run dry,
Thy grace shall still be with me—
Thy grace to live and die!

Theodore Monod