B.C.P. Trinity 9 : 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
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 ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
A man standing on
the bank of the Niagara River saw a dead sheep being swept down by the
current. An eagle alighted upon it. The body sank for a moment under
the weight and then came to the surface again. The day was bitterly
cold and the wool wrapped around the talons and began to freeze. Meantime,
the sheep was being swept more and more rapidly toward the falls. But
the eagle had not the slightest fear, confident in his strong wings.
Soon, the great falls were but a few feet away. The time for action
had come. The eagle spread his great burnished brown wings and fanned
the air. But the wings did not lift him. The frozen wool held his talons
fast, and while his great wings frantically beat the air, he was swept
to his death.
Now there was a time when the eagle could have saved himself. He was not made for such a terrible death. But he held on to the sheep so long that, in the end, he could not let go.
Paul warns the Corinthian
Christians not to hold on the world so long that they will not be able
to let go! He uses examples from salvation history to illustrate people
who received God's mercy but rejected his ways.
Those who were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea were the Israelites who were led from slavery through the Red Sea and were led in the wilderness by a cloud, representing the presence and guidance of God.
Moses was their leader and they were baptized unto Moses by acknowledging him as their leader and saviour, just as Christians are baptized into Jesus.
The manna and the
water from the rock that God gave the Israelites in the desert are used
as metaphors representing supernatural food through Christ, the bread
of life and the water of life (Jn 4:14; 6:30-35). Despite the blessings
of God the Israelites sinned. They worshipped a golden calf as Moses
came down Mount Sinai (Ex 32:1-6)., and they worshipped Baal and fornicated
with the temple prostitutes (Nu 25:1-9).
In both cases the Israelites were influenced by those around them. They accepted, perhaps without thinking, the lifestyle and values of those around them.
We may look at these
acts and think we would not do such things, but idolatry involves replacing
God with something or someone. This is easy in our materialistic culture
so we shouldn't be complacent and accept the values of the world. Our
values should come from a different kingdom.
When the British and
French were fighting in Canada in the 1750s, Admiral Phipps, commander
of the British fleet, was told to anchor outside Quebec. He was given
orders to wait for the British land forces to arrive, then support them
when they attacked the city. Phipps' navy arrived early. As the admiral
waited, he became annoyed by the statues of the saints that adorned
the towers of a nearby cathedral, so he commanded his men to shoot at
them with the ships' cannons. No one knows how many rounds were fired
or how many statues were knocked out, but when the land forces arrived
and the signal was given to attack, the admiral was of no help. He had
used up all his ammunition shooting at the "saints."
Another sin which
Paul considers of equal gravity is grumbling against God and his anointed
leader. This happened in the wilderness and only two made it from there
to the promised land. Grumbling happens in many churches today. Disraeli
said, "It is much easier to be critical than to be correct."
These sins are examples
or warnings to believers to keep going in their faith, obeying God's
perfect will. The time from the deliverance of God's people from Egypt
to them entering the promise land was a time of testing, giving an opportunity
to show if they did, truly trust this God who had chosen and saved them.
We are in that 'in
between time'. We have received many blessings from God, now we have
to prove that we mean what we say.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. Like the eagle we should not be too confident, we have to work hard at our faith. But God will help us as we seek to follow his ways.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
We will all be tempted
to do wrong. This is not a sin in itself, after all Jesus was tempted.
But God will give us the strength and opportunity to resist.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that
ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape,
that ye may be able to bear it.
Just as the water flowed from the rock in the wilderness so the streams of living water, God the Holy Spirit, will be given to those who thirst for God and need his life within them to resist temptation and live for him.