Todays readings… Exodus 39&40, Psalm 102, 1 Corinthians 10
“WE MUST NOT PUT CHRIST TO THE TEST”
Paul’s comments on Moses and how the people “all passed through the sea and all were baptised into Moses” [1 Cor. 10 v.1,2] obviously relate to what we have been reading in Exodus. Paul then states, “For they all drank from the Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” [v.4] What does he mean?
Their baptism in the sea was symbolic of the baptism to come and which the Corinthian believers had experienced. Moses had, at God’s command, been able to produce water from the rock as we read in Exodus 17. This pointed forward to Christ, Jesus knew this and was to say, “on the last day of the feast” when he “stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ [John 7 v.37,38] These words related to what he had earlier said to the Samaritan woman that, if she had asked, “he would have given (her) living water” [John 4 v.10] which he then explained, “the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” [v.14]
Paul draws a vital lesson in our Corinthians chapter; it is the lesson of the tragic failure of the Israelites in the wilderness, a failure the Corinthians must aim to avoid. Paul writes, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did” [v.6] despite the evidence before them of God’s care and guidance.
Paul makes a particular point in v.11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction.” Among the things written down Paul particularly notes, as a common temptation, “it is written, ‘the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did … we must not put Christ to the test …” [v.7-9]
Our Master sees the motives we have in our hearts. Near the end of today’s chapter Paul states a simple but profound principle we must all aim to keep, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” [v.31]. A another thought: a “rock” cannot literally follow, but Jesus used exactly the same phrase as Paul did when he taught, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8 v.12].
Jesus also said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”[John 10 v.27] In following Christ means he also follows us, providing for our needs (as distinct from our wants). Let us follow the lessons that were written down for our instruction.