Happened To Be An Example
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-11
Last time, we have learned about the characters of a Christian leader. We have learned that Christians who were called by God are supposed to become leaders in the future. And as leader, as someone that leads somebody to the Lord, it is very important that we learn how to go beyond our limits.
Today, we will be discussing about things that happened so that it can be an example for us in our time for our obedience to God. In our passage today, we will see how God worked in the lives of Israelites as they disappointed God because of their sins of exploiting the freedom that they have received from God.
Before we go into God’s message, let us discuss first the things that tells us what Israelites received before they were sentenced with their due penalties.
Under One Cloud And All Passed To Red Sea – The Israelites were led by a cloud as they travel from Egypt, across the Red Sea, and then to Sinai. Verse 1 and 2 says that all of them were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. The Israelites where not baptized or immersed in the Red Sea, but “unto Moses” signifying their unity and solidarity as they passed through the Red Sea.
Ate The Same Spiritual Meat – God gave the Israelites a meat and bread to eat in the desert. We can see in the book of Exodus (Exodus 16:15) that God provided for their basic needs.
Drank The Same Spiritual Water – God allowed them all to drink from the spiritual Rock which was Christ (in accordance to the passage). This passage is also an evidence that Christ pre-existed even before He was born, having a divine nature and a godly attributes. (Exodus 17:6).
Now we see how much God loved the Israelites and took care of them even before they went out from the land of Egypt. However, our passage in verse 5 is also clear in saying that God is not well pleased with many of them which brought them to be overthrown in wilderness.
In verse 6, it says that the Israelites lusted for these things. What I have written below is the direct opposite of what they did. And in each case, they also have received the due penalty for their sins.
Do Not Become Idolaters (v.7)
The Israelites could have been influenced by Egypt with its pagan culture. Though there were no clear evidence that the “calf-worship” came from the Egypt (which is in contrast to some sources), it is still obvious that the Israelites committed idolatry. Idolatry is simply worshipping god, or gods and goddesses.
The passage did not explicitly mentioned about the penalty for it. However, from other sources from the Law of Moses, idolatry bears death penalty.
In the entire history of Israel, the usual mistake that Israel usually make is idolatry. And whenever their people starts to seek other gods, the whole kingdom tends to be in turmoil and difficutlties. This is why just like before, Paul is warning the people of Corinth to not to commit the same mistake as what the Israelites did in the past.
We also have to remember that idolatry is not only confined in worshipping images. When we start looking to ourselves more important than God, then it is a form of idolatry. When we start loving things more than God then it is a form of idolatry. When we start patronizing someone or something above God, then it is a form of idolatry.
Do Not Be An Immorals(v.8)
Numbers 25:1 tells us Israelites have become immorals when they started committing sexual immorality with the daughters of Moab. The passage did not tell us what specific form of sexual immorality they are committing, but then again the most visible thing here is that they committed inter-marriage with the Moabites to which God prohibits.
Exodus 34:15-17 and Deuteronomy 7:3 tells us that God prohibited them to intermarry with the inhabitants of the land. The passage in Exodus tells us why did God prohibited them to marry other people. That is to preserve them from becoming idolaters. In the previous point, we can see that Paul made mention about idolatry. God at the very beginning hates idolatry for all the glory belongs to Him alone.
In addition, please do note that the about 23,000 thousand died in just one day because of this sin.
In our time, the same thing is true that is why we always try to discourage the young people not to marry unbelievers for the Bible speaks about this that there is a big chance that the one who took an unbelieving spouse will drag the believing brother to sin or become an idolater.
Here we see that no matter how we justify our actions, if it is against the word of God, then it is against the word of God. It will be more difficult for us to not to follow God’s words, especially now that we know that disobedience bears a penalty.
Do Not Put Christ To The Test (v.9)
There were times that reminders from other people about godliness is not enough for us. There were times that we continously test God’s patience. God gave the Bible as our guideline to follow. But in some ways, people are trying to study the Bible not for the purpose to follow it, but to make an excuse of the sinful things that they are doing.
This is why our world now is so focussed on the exemptions. And such thing is very true in Christian Churches. People are trying focus more on the exemptions of the sins rather than the implementation of the standards that God gave.
On the other hand, there were Churches who have become so rude that those who sinned were condemned and doesn’t even have any action for restoration. In both ways, Christ is being tested.
How do we put Christ to test?
Sometimes, we humans because of our sinful nature put Christ to the test of our faith. We usually do this when we forget the past things that he did for us. We tend to forget all those good times that we had in Christ and chose to disobey him. We push him to the limits of our faith, up on where will God put us to judgment.
There were lots of times that we have become blind when all things seems good and doing well. And we feel so relax doing all the cravings of our hearts. But please do know that putting Christ to test is a form of mistrust. And because of this, the Israelites were destroyed by serpents in the desert teaching them to trust God.
Do Not Complain (v.10)
I am always reminded of this point whenever I see myself and some people complaining. I believe that we have to learn how to accept that there will be times in our lives that seems to be not so pleasant to know. There are times in our lives where we find ourselves in the midst of trials.
Let us do know that God does not leave nor forsake his people (Deut. 31:6, Heb 13:5), especially those who love him. The book of Hebrews 13 talks about our daily needs, it talks about money, things that were important to us. Even then, we can see here that we don’t have to worry about it for God has already promised that “He will never leave us, nor forsake us.” But time comes when men do not see God around and his soul has been clouded with doubts if God listens to him disabling him to act and do God’s ways.
When this time comes, people tend to complain against God. They tend to question how God provides. And sometimes, even after God provided their needs, people still tries to complain. Humans by nature doesn’t have any satisfaction. Always complaining, always putting Christ to the test. As a result, they were destroyed by the destroyer (Numbers 16:2-41).
There were times that it is very easy to complain, yet we all know that complaining does not produce a good result.
Today’s passage is very clear in saying that these things happened as examples (v.6, 11). These things were written for admonition, and not to destroy humanity. They are suppose to remind us to not commit the same mistakes.
Let us examine now our lives and see if how God is working. Are we still idolaters? Immorals? Do we test Christ? Do we complain against God?
In verse 12-13 it says; “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”