Today’s readings.. (Exodus 39,40), (Psalm 102), (1 Corinthians 10)
We have some challenging reasoning by Paul in today’s 10th chapter of 1st Corinthians. He begins by reflecting on the experiences of Moses in leading the Israelites on into the wilderness after the events at Sinai. He draws parallels between the actions and reactions of God then – and in his day. All their food is miraculously provided by God. Paul sees parallels with God’s work in working through Christ in bringing deliverance for sinners who seek a relationship with God through Christ.
The Israelites followed Moses as we follow Christ. Sadly, in the wilderness, says Paul “with most of them God was not pleased … they were overthrown …” [v.5] And then he adds, ” Now these things took place as examples for us” [v.5,6] “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed … ” [v.9] Then he adds, “nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed …” [v.10] Do we grumble? If so, what about? What did they grumble about?
They had got used to the food and drink being miraculously provided and grumbled if it was not readily available; they wanted more variety, meat! We will read on Monday some words in Psalm 106 that are very much to the point! “Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake …” [v.7,8] But, coming to v.21 we read ” They forgot God” and failed to reach the promised land.
In what sense can we forget God? We do not cease to know that God exists – but we may forget his power, his all-seeing presence! “They did not remember his power” [Psa. 78 v.42] Paul had a portion of this power, he told the Corinthians, as we read in ch. 5 v.4 “When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus”
Returning to our chapter, Paul’s warning again jumps out at us, “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did …” Could we be over confident – that we will not do this? Paul warns, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” [v.12] A final time of testing appears to be near at hand – is our faith such that we are sure we will endure to the end? Our final thought is from v.13 ” God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
God is faithful – we must respond with our own faithfulness. May we, as Christadelphians, heed the words Jesus sent through John to believers at Philadelphia, “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world … Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” [Rev. 3 v.10,11]
So let us exercise “self-control in all things” so that we are in no danger of being “disqualified.”