II Cor. 12:7-10 - Satan gives us disease and ailments?

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Ordinary Guy (TM)
In Job it seems to speak of Satan giving Job the boils and in the NT Paul attributes his disease to Satan:

7And 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.

8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

It appears that God allows Satan to afflict his children and that even disease can come from Satan, though also ultimately coming from God for bigger reasons of His ultimate glory and our ultimate good.

Please help explain or get me some quotes about how God uses Satan, but yet Satan still is the active agent in afflicting us and even causing disease to our physical bodies.

P.s.: I've had malaria 4 times. I blame mosquitos. But how does Satan make us sick. We just had a team-mate's daughters baby get very sick after being "cursed" - coincidence or caused by Satan?


Puritanboard Librarian
Ps. 17.13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:

William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, Vol. 1, pp. 68-70:

Doctrine. Satan with all his wits and wiles, shall never vanquish a soul armed with true grace; nay, he that hath this armour of God on shall vanquish him. Look into the Word; you shall not find a saint but hath been in the list with him, sifted and winnowed more or less by this enemy, yet at last we find them all coming off with an honourable victory: as in David, Job, Peter, Paul, who were the hardest put to it of any upon record; and lest some should attribute their victory to the strength of their inherent grace above other of their weaker brethren, you have the glory of their victories appropriated to God, in whom the weak are as strong as the strongest. We shall give a double reason of this truth, why the Christian who seems to be so overmatched, is yet so unconquerable, II Cor. 12:9; James 5:11.

First Reason. The curse that lies upon Satan and his cause. God's curse blasts wherever it comes. The Canaanites with their neighbour nations were bread for Israel, though people famous for war; and why? They were cursed nations. The Egyptians [were] a politic people; let us deal wisely, say they; yet being cursed of God, this lay like a thorn at their heart, and at last was their ruin. Yea, let the Israelites themselves, who carry the badge of God's covenant on their flesh, by their sins once become the people of God's curse, and they are trampled like dirt under the Assyrian's feet. This made Balak beg so hard for a curse upon Israel. Now there is an irrevocable curse cleaves to Satan from Gen. 3:14, 15, ‘And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed,’ &c., which place, though partly meant of the literal serpent, yet chiefly of the devil and the wicked—his spiritual serpentine brood—as appears by the enmity pronounced against the serpent's seed and the woman's, Gen. 3:15[17], which clearly holds forth the feud between Christ with his seed, against the devil and his. Now there are two things in that curse which may comfort the saints. 1. The curse prostrates Satan under their feet: Upon thy belly shalt thou go; which is no more than is elsewhere promised, that God will subdue Satan under our feet. Now this prostrate condition of Satan assures believers that the devil shall never lift his head, that is, his wily policy, higher than the saint's heel. He may make thee limp, but cannot bereave thee of thy life; and this bruise which he give thee shall be rewarded with the breaking of his own head, that is, the utter ruin of him and his cause. 2. His food is here limited and appointed. Satan will not devour whom he will. The dust is his food; which seems to restrain his power to the wicked, who are of the earth earthy, mere dust; but for those who are of a heavenly extraction, their graces are reserved for Christ's food, Song. 7:13, and their soul's are surely not a morsel for the devil's tooth.

Second Reason. The second reason is taken from the wisdom of God, who as he undertakes the ordering of the Christian's way to heaven, Ps. 37:24, so especially this business of Satan's temptations. We find Christ was not led of the evil spirit into the wilderness to be tempted, but of the Holy Spirit, Matt. 4:1. Satan tempts not when he will, but when God pleaseth, and the same Holy Spirit which led Christ into the field, led him off with victory. And therefore we find him marching in the power of his Spirit, after he had repulsed Satan, into Galilee, Luke 4:14. When Satan tempts a saint, he is but God's messenger, II Cor. 12:7. ‘There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me.’ So our translation. But rather as Beza, who will have it in [the nominative case[18]], the messenger Satan, implying that he was sent of God to Paul; and indeed the errand he came about was too good and gracious to be his own, lest I should be exalted above measure. The devil never meant to do Paul such a good office, but God sends him to Paul, as David sent Uriah with letters to Joab; neither knew the contents of their message. The devil and his instruments, both are God's instruments, therefore the wicked are called his sword, his axe; now let God alone to wield the one and handle the other. He is but a bungler that hurts and hackles his own legs with his own axe; which God should do, if his children should be the worse for Satan's temptations. Let the devil choose his way, God is for him at every weapon. If he will try it by force of arms, and assault the saints by persecution, as the Lord of hosts he will oppose him. If by policy and subtilty, he is ready there also. The devil and his whole council are but fools to God. Nay, their wisdom, foolishness, cunning, and art, commend everything but sin. The more artificial the watch, the picture, &c., the better; but the more wit and art in sin, the worse, because it is employed against an all-wise God, that cannot be outwitted, and therefore in the end but pay the workmen in greater damnation. ‘The foolishness of God is wiser than men;’ yea, than the wisdom of men and devils, that is, the means and instruments which God opposeth Satan withal. What weaker than a sermon? Who sillier than the saints in the account of the wise world? Yet God is wiser in a weak sermon, than Satan in his deep plots, wherein the state heads of a whole conclave of profound cardinals are knocked together—wiser in his simple ones, than Satan in his Ahithophels and Sanballats. And truly God chooseth on purpose to defeat the policies of hell and earth by these, that he may put such to greater shame, I Cor. 1:21. How is the great scholar ashamed to be baffled by a plain countryman's argument? Thus God calls forth Job to wrestle with Satan and his seconds—for such his three friends showed themselves in taking the devil's part—and sure he is not able to hold up the cudgels against the fencing-master, who is beaten by one of the scholars. God sits laughing while hell and earth sit plotting, Ps. 2:4; ‘He disappointeth the devices of the crafty,’ Job 5:12, he breaketh their studied thoughts and plots, as the words import, in one moment pulling down the labours of many years’ policy. Indeed as great men keep wild beasts for game and sport, as the fox, the boar, &c., so doth God Satan and his instruments, to manifest his wisdom in the taking of them. It is observed, that the very hunting of some beasts affords not only pleasure to the hunter, but also more sweetness to the eater. Indeed God, by displaying of his wisdom in the pursuit of the saint's enemies, doth superadd a sweet relish to their deliverance at last. He brake the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat to his people. After he had hunted Pharaoh out of all his forms and burrows, now he breaks the very brains of all his plots, and serves him up to his people, with the garnishment of his wisdom and power about.
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