The dualistic contrast between the ancient people of God, whom He led out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and the NT church. Paul asserts that the things that happened to them is recorded and preserved for us as examples of divine yeses and divine no’s that Israel was given as they traveled “along the way.”
1 Cor. 10:1-11
1. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3. And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4. And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play
8. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11. Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Moses led the people in the same manner as Christ leads the church; and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, “even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” John 3:14 God, as then, is still directing us toward a promise!
In verses one through four, Paul speaks of the common experience of God’s people stating that all the people were part of the deliverance from the bondage, passing through the Red Sea, and the provision of God’s gracious care for them, providing manna and water from the Rock, whom Paul said was Jesus Christ!
The first four verses tell us of God’s divine Yeses!
In verse five, Paul informs us that every though all were blessed, some lusted after the blessings, and lost their hunger and thirst for righteousness. Sadly, their insatiable desire, and their pursuit for more and more of the things, not just ordinary things, but evil things…….. to things God has said No!
Verse seven names the first of four sins that are given for an example for us. Idolatry! Paul says, they had no appreciation for the food they ate, and lived irresponsibly. Eat and Play. They gave no thanks to God, and no recognition of His Lordship.
In verse eight, Paul identifies another pitfall of the once held people who have been freed from Egyptian bondage and are now following Moses to a Promised Land. Their sin was fornication, a definite No! from the mouth of God. That particular sin involved disobedience of our Creator and His purpose for marriage. In the Garden, God created one man, and one woman, created forgone another. The penalty was severe! Paul said 23,000 died in one day. What a tragedy.
The third sin mentioned by Paul in verse nine is the sin of tempting Christ, and also murmuring against God’s leader. The penalty is recorded for us in Numbers 21:5:
5. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
These verses have Messianic overtones. Lifting up the Lord Jesus is the business of every believer, every church, every missionary, for by this lifting of the Savior, Jesus said, “I will draw all men unto Me.”
There is one statement in verse nine that intrigues me.
Paul said that the ancients were guilty of tempting Christ. After instructing NT believers not to tempt Christ, He tells us, “as they did”. How did they tempt Christ in the wilderness? Well, lets search for Him in this passage from Exodus.
20. Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee
21. Beware of him, ad obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
22. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the place which I have the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
God’s Angel is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God’s Messenger. He is God’s Answer and God’s Zeal that will perform all the will and purpose of God in the world. He is the Rock from which God gives water. He is the bread that is come down from Heaven. He is the Blessed Vine that gives us life. He is the Fountain of Life, the Well of Salvation. He is God’s Angel that goes before us!
He goes before us in Life. He goes before us in suffering, He goes before us in Prayer. He goes before us battle, He goes before us in Death. He goes before us in Resurrection. He goes before us into Heaven, and He goes to prepare a place for us, so that some day, where He is we can be also. He is the PIONEER of our faith, and the Captain of our Salvation. To Him be glory in the church both now and forever more! Amen and Amen!
“And He shall bring thee in.” I want to tell you that our great God is committed to bringing us into the promise. You may get weary and tired, but the One Who will bring us in never tires, but on the Contrary He gives us His strength to press on. He never sleeps, He never slumbers. He that keepeth thee will not allow the sun to smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. He is a shade upon thy right hand. He preserves, guards and guides His people. Ps. 121.
24. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
25. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; andI will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
26. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.
27. I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, andI will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
The next verse is an explanation given by God as to why He will take His time to bring them into the purpose. One reason is because of our nature, and the second reason is because of existing circumstances that make formation over time a much wiser choice than the immediate blessing we desire. God is guarding us against some things that are not for our good in the present, but are more beneficial to us in God’s time according to His purpose.
29. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
God’s promises are not automatic! You can have them by grace if you want them. Peace, blessing, joy, provision, protection, etc. are all faithfully promised to the trusting believers. You have to own them! They are given as a result of your desire and prayers. You have to take that step up where those who receive stand if faith!
1. Protection. Exodus 23:20
“Along the way” It seems that God is always leading and guiding, ordering our steps. Serving Him is a journey, always moving, always growing, always learning, always reaching, and pressing forward. Sometimes God is guarding you from things you don’t even know that you need protection.
“I will bring you to the place.”
God is great at getting you to the place where He wants you, when He wants you. He positions you in a higher priority than your own personal preference. Its not always the angels that He uses to guard you. Sometimes He has a greater purpose for you. We love the yeses, but sometimes God uses the no’s to bring you to a greater YES!
Its wonderful to be blessed by the protection of angels, but God doesn’t remove the things that He has determined to develop and prepare us to possess our possession. That is our personal assignment and our destiny. God loves you too much to remove the infirmity that will teach you to depend upon the strength of His mighty hand. 1 Pet. 1:5 tells us Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.