WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14
SCRIPTURE: 1 CORINTHIANS 10
As Paul opens this chapter, we are reminded that the very same people who enjoyed great privilege from God also fell into serious apostasy from God. He is speaking of the Hebrew people on their journey through the wilderness. Specifically, Paul mentions five great privileges. One, the people of Israel were “under the cloud” which points to divine guidance and protection. Two, they “passed through the sea” which refers to divine deliverance. Three, they were all “baptized into Moses” (not a reference to water baptism but immersed in Moses’ authority) which speaks to divine leadership. Four, they “ate the same spiritual food” which points to divine provision. And, five, they “all drank the same spiritual drink” which refers to divine intervention.
Then beginning in verse 6, Paul shows us five backward steps that the people of Israel took. Instead of moving forward on the basis of the incredible things God did for them, they went backwards. First, they craved evil things. Instead of being satisfied with what God had provided, they wanted what they had back in their Egyptian captivity. Second, verse 7 points to the time they made the golden calf in the wilderness because they would not wait on God. Third, in verses 7-8, their idolatry led to the immorality. Fourth, in verse 9, they did not believe God would discipline them for their sins. So they were living with supposed impunity. And, fifth, they were grumbling which was an indication that they had rejected divine leadership.
So, why did Paul write on these things? In verse 11, he said these things were supposed to be examples to us so that we might not behave like they did. It is always good to learn from our own mistakes. It is always better to learn from the mistakes of others.
Verse 12 contains a statement of great value. “Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”. In other words, as you consider these examples, you shouldn’t be thinking “I wouldn’t ever do that. I am so much better and wiser than that.” That kind of pride will almost always lead you down a dangerous path. And if you have your nose up in the air as a result of your own pride, you are going to be very prone to tripping along that dangerous path and falling.
But there is good news in verse 13. No temptation has overtaken you. That would have to include the temptation of pride or any other temptation. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. In other words, you ain’t that special. There have a lot of people who have faced the same thing. (The wise would learn from those examples.) There is no temptation that God allows into our lives that we don’t have the ability to have victory over. Sometimes we might be able to withstand the temptation. Other times, we need to run from the temptation and God, graciously, provides a way for us to run away from the temptation. In other words, we should always be on the lookout for the exit when temptation comes rampaging into our lives.
From there Paul begins to talk about our responsibility to others (vv. 14ff). We have an obligation to learn from the failures of others and live better lives as a result. We have an obligation not to fall to temptation but to always take the exit and get away from that which tempts us. But we also have an obligation not to be that temptation or stumbling block to those around us. Our liberty or freedom in Christ to do something stops at the nose of those watching us. We have an obligation not to behave in any way that would be a temptation for others. In fact, as verse 31 says the overriding principle for our lives must be to do everything in such a way that God gets glory.
Our focus on His fame will always carry the day. Making sure we always make it about Him, will make it easier and better for those who follow after us.