1 Corinthians 10:1-14 - Flee
It does no good to think you're standing firm if your feet aren't on the solid rock.
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Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-14
10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. 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.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 94
Q. What does the Lord require
in the first commandment?
A. That I, not wanting to endanger
my very salvation,
avoid and shun
all idolatry, magic,
and prayer to saints
or to other creatures.
That I sincerely acknowledge
the only true God,
trust him alone,
look to him for every good thing
humbly and patiently,
love him, fear him,
and honor him
with all my heart.
that I give up anything
rather than go against
his will in any way.
What a way to describe the people of Israel as they left their slavery and began their journey to the Promised Land: that as they did so, "they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ." But what follows is one of the scariest lines in the Bible. Even though these people were accompanied by Christ and in a sense were feeding off of Him, "with most of them God was not pleased."
This first generation of Israelites had been marked as God's people as they passed through the Red Sea; Paul even uses the word 'baptism' to describe this. But their actions and attitudes told a much different story: indulging in revelry, sexual immorality, grumbling and more.
It was for this idolatry that they paid a heavy price. Thousands of them - people who had been initiated into God's covenant - were killed at God's command by the Destroyer (v10).
We live in a world that prizes toleration, even by some in the Church. As long as people claim the name of Jesus, we're told, their other behaviors and beliefs shouldn't really matter.
This tolerance-above-all attitude is completely inconsistent with the first commandment: You shall have no other gods before Me. Today's passage tells us to be warned by the example of these fallen Israelites. Let Paul's exhortation be seared into your mind:
If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall! (v12)
Some people like to pit Jesus against Paul, and sometimes even God the Father, as if Jesus is all about love and acceptance while the God of the Old Testament and Paul ruin everything with their rigid doctrines and rules. But it was Jesus Himself who said that not everyone who comes to Him saying 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus will tell some who claimed His name but would not bow their knee to God alone, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers!" (Matthew 7:21-23)
If reading these warnings cause you to worry, that's actually a good sign. It's the Holy Spirit at work, pricking your conscience with God's Word so that you continue to cling to God through Christ in all things. Be reminded that "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (v13)."
One of the 'ways out' that God provides so that you can endure temptation is to regularly remind and warn you about the serious consequences of breaking the first commandment. "Dear friends, flee from idolatry." Be sure that you do not put anything before God in your life.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is faithful and just;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will convict you of your idolatries, so that you can repent of them and return to Him;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 2 Corinthians 1