Tuesday, December 9, 2008

God Bless Us With Thorns

What’s the purpose of thorns in the Bible? They are first mentioned Genesis 3:18 after Adam sinned. There were no thorns before that. You will recall that Paul had a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble. In Hosea 2:5, 6 we see a reference to thorns and a wall that were to prevent the harlot from going after her lovers. It seems similar to the reference to Saul kicking against the pricks on the road to Damascus. Many times in the Bible we see a parallel between thorns and the chastisement of God. Thorns and snares are in the way of the forward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them. – Proverbs 22:5 When we are following a trail and run into thorns, we know we’re off the path. While suffering is never pleasant, we can think of thorns as a gift that God uses to keep us on the right path.

In a practical sense, thorns take many forms. The contempt of a co-worker may be a thorn that causes us to reconsider how we treat people at work. A traffic ticket may be a torn that encourages us to obey the speed limit. A speech impediment may be a thorn that reminds us that our speaking ability isn’t as important as how the Lord uses our efforts.

Thorns that we encounter aren’t sin, but rather a hedge between us and sin. They are often the consequences of our sin. Satan doesn’t like that hedge and would like to see it taken down (Job 1:10). The hedge seems to work both ways in that it keeps us from drifting into sin and it prevents Satan from harming us. But our goal isn’t to live among the thorns, but rather to stay within the clearing that God has made for us.