Divine Exchange

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When God is near, the Tempter cannot lure me,
The peace of God surpassing sweet, is mine,
His mercies reassure me
And someday I shall dwell with Him in realms divine.

When God is near, so near I hear Him speak to me,
My every need His boundless grace supplies,
When God is near, my heart is filled with ecstasy
And all the world is a paradise, when God is near.

Greetings again, and the Lord bless you. We do welcome you to Meditation Moments and trust that it will be a blessing to your heart.

I did enjoy so much this number. There are two verses that are so precious that I want to read them. They go like this, by A. H. Ackley:

When God is near, with light my path is glowing,
The cup of life with gladness overflows,
And in the garden of my heart is growing,
The flower of love, more fragrant than the sweetest rose.

When God is near, so near I hear Him speak to me,
My every need His boundless grace supplies,
When God is near, my heart is filled with ecstasy
And all the world’s a paradise, when God is near.

When God is near, the heavy load is lifted,
And every duty charms me with delight,
The clouds of sorrow by His love are lifted,
And songs of joy my soul keeps singing in the night.

When God is near, so near I hear Him speak to me,
My every need His boundless grace supplies,
When God is near, my heart is filled with ecstasy
And all the world’s a paradise, when God is near.

How true that is! When you feel Him near you and you’re having sweet fellowship with Him and His promises are being realized in your life, and you are conscious of His loving you and you just feel that love surrounding you, it is a paradise, isn’t it? It is an ecstasy. There is nothing like it in all the world.

We are turning to God’s Word in 2 Corinthians, the twelfth chapter, the tenth verse, and beginning with the ninth verse, we read. Paul is speaking: “The Lord 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 I am strong.”

Now in these two sentences, “my strength is made perfect in weakness,” the Lord was saying to Paul’s heart that His strength is made perfect in Paul’s weakness. And then He says, “For when I am weak”—Paul now speaking of himself—“when I am weak, then am I strong.”

You’d be puzzled at such a strange statement if you were not acquainted with the writings or character of apostle Paul, when he says that “when I am weak, then am I strong,” because he was a great scholar, talented writer, and outstanding Christian apostle. To think that he would say this thing, that when he’s weak, [he’s strong]! But if we note to whom Paul is writing, it might help us to find an answer to this strange statement.

Paul wrote these words to the Greeks. If you read back in the Corinthian letter, you’ll note that they had questioned his right to apostleship because of something which they called weakness. They inferred that his bodily presence was weak, and therefore not fitted for his high calling. The Greeks exalted perfection of the physical body, not only through their national races and so on, but they thought that anyone was a weakling who was not robust.

We know from what Paul writes elsewhere that they also attributed other weaknesses to him. They scorned a man that had been stoned, whipped, or imprisoned. This did not at all constitute their ideas of strength. Paul’s manner of organizing and sustaining the church, that was contrary to their strong human logic also. They didn’t understand that frequently God works contrary to human logic.

Someone has written a wonderful book on that very saying, that God works contrary to natural expectations, that God has His own way of doing things, and they are quite contrary to our ideas. In His Word He says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so are my ways above your ways” (Isaiah 55:8–9). “My ways are higher than your ways, my thoughts than your thoughts.”

The Greeks inferred that Paul was not an orator, that his speech was contemptible.1 It was the greatest ambition of a Greek to be an orator. That’s what they taught their youth, and the lack of the gift of oratory was a weakness. They reasoned man’s way, for you know that God’s way has always been that it isn’t the oratory, it’s the Spirit in the speech that counts with God.2

Paul said it’s “according to the power that worketh in you” (Ephesians 3:20). Oh, that’s a wonderful sentence! It’s according to the power that worketh in you. This that the Greeks called weakness, God calls strength. It was an asset to Paul. How many times we’ve all heard some humble speaker that isn’t gifted at oratory at all and not learned in man’s wisdom nor trained in man’s colleges perhaps, but oh, filled with the Spirit of God! And he just literally sweeps people off of their feet, sweeps an audience along on the tide of his earnestness in the power of God that’s manifested through him.

The man is so humble, so emptied of self, so weak in himself that God has a chance to work through him. Thus this very weakness becomes his strength. That’s why Paul says that when he was weak, then he was strong. The Word says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Some write in and say, “Oh, I’m too weak to do this or that” or “I’m so weak when it comes to temptation. I feel my own weakness so much that I don’t feel worthy to claim promises,” and all these different statements about weakness.

A man is only strong when he’s completely emptied of himself, and his strength comes from the Lord. There are those before whom I stood once in a while, that when I stood in public ministry I felt so keenly my weakness. I can’t begin to express the weakness that I felt, and I’ve gone so hesitatingly before those to whom I was to speak, feeling utterly helpless in myself. I always feel that way when I come on the radio to broadcast, but that can become my strength because of this verse. That’s what it means, “My strength”—God’s strength—“is made perfect in weakness.”

The Lord comes and He supplements your weakness with His strength. That’s what He wants to do. So when you feel this awful weakness, this terrible lack, that’s the very time to take hold of God. That’s the very time to claim His strength. When you’re the weakest in yourself, then you become strong if you depend upon His strength. So what the Greeks in ignorance of spiritual things called weakness, that’s what really became strength.

God’s Word says in Isaiah 40:29, “To them that have no might he increases strength.” When we’re so sure of our own strength, so confident of our own powers, then the Lord just lets us walk alone in our strength. I was reminded the other day, visiting Jon and his wife and little new great-grandbaby, and she’s just learning to walk. She takes hold of your finger and starts out like she’s going to take the world by storm. She thinks that she can surely do that, and she goes so fast! The first thing you know, she’s stumbled and bumped her nose and bruised herself. She just walks in her own strength until she learns that she’s got to hold on to your finger, because she can’t quite walk by herself now. That’s just like we are.

What a pity, isn’t it, that we’re so determined to walk in our own strength, and we want our own way and we won’t depend upon the divine. We lean so much on the human. When we draw only upon natural resources, what a pity, when we have all of heaven’s resources at our command! How strange that we should ever insist on walking in our own strength and depending on our own wisdom when we can have God’s power and His riches, and we can be linked up with everything that God is and God has.

You know, the wonder of it is that the Lord wants to help us. That’s the wonder of it—He yearns to strengthen and comfort and supply! He longs to give His strength to us. But if we’ll insist on walking by ourselves in our own strength, He leaves us alone and He walks off the stage of life and leaves us to ourselves, perhaps until the foundations of our proud confidence in the human have to be shaken and we come to the realization that our human strength after all is only weakness.

So, you are saying that you are so weak? God’s Word says in Isaiah 27:5, “Take hold of my strength,” and in Isaiah 49:5, “My God shall be my strength.” The Lord said about David, “Look not upon his countenance nor the height of his stature” (1 Samuel 16:7). These things, He says, make no difference—your human wisdom. It’s the strength of the Lord that can be depended upon.

Now the Lord is saying to you, “My strength for your weakness is My provision for you.” The humble, the meek, the weak, can thus become strong, and your testimony will be, “I can do all things through Christ, through Christ who strengthened me” (Philippians 4:13).

Remember that all of God’s great spiritual giants were weak men who were made strong by His power. It can be just the very same with you. So don’t feel yourself hindered by some infirmity of human weakness, for the strength to go through the victory is not in your human strength anyhow. You’re to take God’s strength, divine strength. Can’t you take it today? Take it now.

God’s word says, “With all might according to his glorious power … that we might know what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe.”3

God bless you and help you to reach out and take hold of all that God has provided for you. You must diligently seek and depend utterly upon that strength of His. He’ll give it.

God bless you. He answers prayer and He’s still on the throne.

  1. 2 Corinthians 10:10.
  2. John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 2:4.
  3. Colossians 1:11; Ephesians 1:18–19.