Todays readings.. Exodus 33&34, Psalms 90&91, 1 Corinthians 3
“I … COULD NOT ADDRESS YOU AS SPIRITUAL PEOPLE”
Our 5 chapters today were intensely thought provoking. First, the utterly remarkable and challenging relationship of Moses (and the people through Moses) with the LORD (yhwh) who had delivered them from Egypt .
Second, the Psalms of Moses, 90 & 91; “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” [90 v.12]: then noting the opening words of Psalm 91, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High … will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.” Moses is the ultimate Old Testament example of one who achieved an intimate relationship with God.
And now in Paul’s heart searching first letter to the Corinthians we read Paul’s distress at their minimal progress toward real spirituality – so parallel to Moses’ experience with the God’s nation in the wilderness. In chapter 2 we read, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he (or she) is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” [v.14] and then ch. 3 starts, “But I, brothers (and sisters – footnote) could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.”[v.1]
Paul deplores their lack of unity, their failure to see the need to team together under the guiding hand of Christ as he had been doing himself. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants not he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” [v.6,7] He goes on to state, “For we are God’s fellow workers”[v.9]. Visualise that! As such we team together to build God’s spiritual house which is only seen by the “eyes” of those who have spiritual vision.
God laid “the foundation … which is Jesus Christ.” [v.11] “Let each one take care how he (or she) builds upon it” [v.10] whether it be “gold silver … hay, straw” then “the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”[v.13]: whether you have genuinely become “spiritual people.”
What does v.15 mean? “If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he (or she) … will be saved, but only as through fire.” What is our work? It is the same as Paul at Corinth, to witness, to bring people to Christ beginning with our children. The time appears to be very short; let us become more spiritual, more zealous to build – how close is God’s building to being completed!? How soon now to when he comes to inspect our building?