"For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day. And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall. No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NET)
*The New English Translation (NET) bolds and italicizes every Old Testament reference. This is helpful and insightful as the reader begins to see just how much of the New Testament is based on phrases and principals found in the Old Testament. As in the scripture above, Paul is referencing Exodus chapter 32.*
Thanks for taking the time to look at 1 Corinthians chapter 10 with me. If you missed yesterday’s blog I would encourage you to read it first as it will help set the context. As we begin to study this passage it is very important to remember who this was written to. This was written to the follower of Jesus. Christians, in my opinion, spend too much time trying to correct the behavior of the world. Look, the world is acting just as it is supposed to. The better question is, “Are you, the Christian, acting as you are supposed to?”
Many of the stories found in the Bible are told of the people of God who experienced God’s judgement because they went against God’s ways. Don’t miss this point…It’s the church folk in the Bible that God was consistently dealing with. In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul provides four examples of how God’s people, got out of line and how God dealt with their rebellion.
But why does Paul share this with us? Paul actually tells us in verses 6-7, "These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. So do not be idolaters, as some of them were."
The Bible isn’t just for your entertainment. It’s greater purpose is to be our guide. From it, we have the opportunity to: learn about what God expects from us, to be encouraged, and to be warned. Paul reminds his protege Timothy of this in 2 Timothy, "Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NET)
Back to 1 Corinthians chapter 10.
Here Paul provides four “things that happened” as examples for Christians to learn from. With each example Paul offers a quick summary and then the Biblical reference. I am going to give this four examples in list form.
- Don’t be idolaters - Exodus 32:1-29
- Don’t be immoral - Numbers 25:1-9
- Don’t complain about God’s provision - Numbers 21:1-9
- Don’t question God’s judgement - Numbers 16:20-50
These are four actions and attitudes that can trip you up as you run the Christian race. You say, “Not me. I’d never fall over one of these.” Look at Paul’s warning. "These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall. No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
Over the next four days I will do my best to unpack these four examples.
Until then…On Purpose,