Lesson 32

Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

10:1 Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 10:5 However with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 10:7 Neither be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 10:8 Neither let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them committed, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell. 10:9 Neither let us test the Lord, as some of them tested, and perished by the serpents. 10:10 Neither grumble, as some of them also grumbled, and perished by the destroyer. 10:11 Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesn't fall.

Today's Lesson 

Paul has answered some of the questions that had come to him from Corinth and tried to set the Corinthians straight on certain matters of doctrine. In this section he warns them not to be overconfident. He calls their attention to the example of the history of Israel to urge them away from being headstrong and towards caution.


He reminds them that the nation of Israel was baptized into Moses when they passed through the Red Sea in their deliverance from Egypt. The people were united with one another and with God. They ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink. God provided for them on their journey, miraculously providing them with food and water sufficient to meet their ever-growing needs in the desert. God delivered them from bondage and led them toward freedom.


But, the people grumbled and rebelled. Even though God had done marvelous and miraculous things, many were not satisfied. Some became idolaters. Some were overcome by their own lusts. Many were lost simply because they did not heed the word of the Lord that Moses brought to the people. In this passage Paul recites a litany of the unfaithfulness of some of the Israelites.


The nation was punished for its unfaithfulness to God. They were forced to wander in the desert for forty years because they refused to believe that God would lead them safely into the Promised Land. As many as twenty-three thousand Israelites died in one day when they fell into sexual immorality and idolatry when Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the law. They made an idol from the gold of Egypt and when Moses came down from the mountain those that had committed idolatry and sexual immorality were swallowed up in an earthquake.


This history is given to us so that we might profit from their example. We are to be admonished by what has gone on before. By knowing the means in which Israel stumbled, we can learn not to follow in their footsteps.


Now this is not to imply that we are not secure in Christ. We are under, after all, a new and better covenant in Christ. But we too must be on guard least we become overconfident of our blessings in Christ and abuse the trust that God has placed in us. God does not lead us into a literal desert wilderness, but through lack of faith and through our own arrogance we can become sidetracked and be led into paths that are not part of God's original plan for us. Paul urges the Corinthians to not take their salvation in Christ for granted, to not squander the gifts that God has granted to them.


What lessons have you learned from the lives of your family or other Christians? In what way can you learn from the example of the Israelites that were led out of Egypt?

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