Led and Fed, Yet Many Ended Up Dead

Today’s selected reading continues in the first epistle of the apostle Paul in the New Testament which was written unto the saints which were at Corinth. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first eight verses of the tenth chapter. Before even attempting to delve into what is found within these eight verses I feel it necessary to present you with the words of the apostle Paul as they were written and are recorded for us in the tenth chapter. Beginning with the verse and continuing through to the eighth verse of this chapter you will find the following words—“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; and all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 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. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand” (1 Corinthians 10:1-8).

In order to gain an even further understanding of that which is found within these eight verses of the tenth chapter in this first epistle of Paul unto the Corinthians, it is necessary and imperative to turn and direct our attention to the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews. If you direct your attention to the third and fourth chapters of this particular epistle you will find the author of the epistle writing a similar commentary on the children of Israel, and of their journey through the wilderness after being ransomed and redeemed from their Egyptian slavery and bondage. If you begin reading with the fifth verse of the third chapter of the epistle unto the Hebrews you will find the following words—“And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation int ehe wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:5-18).

If you continue reading in the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews, you will find additional commentary concerning the children of Israel who experienced deliverance from their Egyptian slavery and bondage, and salvation from their Egyptians pursuers through the waters of the Red Sea. Beginning to read with and from the first verse of the fourth chapter you will find the following words written by the author of this epistle unto the Hebrews—“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, He limiters a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased form his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our professions. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:1-16).

If you turn your attention back to the Old Testament book of the Psalms—specifically the seventy-eighth chapter, you will find another commentary written concerning the same children of Israel who were delivered out of their Egyptian bondage and slavery, and brought through the waters of the Red Sea as their enemies were drowned in the midst of the waters. Beginning to read with the fortieth verse of this chapter we find the following words which were written by Asaph:

“How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy. How He had wrought His signs in Egypt, and His wonders in the field of Zoan: and had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink. He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave also their increase unto the caterpillar, and their labour unto the locust. HE destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycamore trees with frost. He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them. He made a way to His anger; He spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence; and smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham: but made His own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. And He led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. And He brought them to the border of His actuary, even to this mountain, which His right hand had purchased. He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents. Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not His testimonies: but turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow. For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, and moved Him to jealousy with their graven images. When God heard this, He was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: so that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which He placed among men; and delivered His strength into captivity, and His glory into the enemy’s hand. He gave His people over unto the sword; and was wroth with His inheritance” (Psalms 78:40-62).

If you read these particular passages of Scripture you will see how they greatly relate to the latter part of Paul’s commentary concerning the children of Israel—namely, how they provoked Him to anger, and how they rebelled and transgressed against the commandment of the Lord. This particular passage of Scripture, however, doesn’t begin with commentary concerning their transgression and their rebellion. If you read the first four verses of the tenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian congregation you will find the following words concerning the children of Israel—“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; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Within these four verses we read of certain realities which the children of Israel experienced as they emerged from their slavery and bondage within the land of Egypt. Within the first verse of this chapter we not only read of how all their fathers were under the same cloud, but how they all passed through the sea. What’s more, is that if you transition to the second verse you will find the apostle Paul writing of their fathers and how they were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea—the cloud which led them through the wilderness and the sea which provided for them salvation from their enemies. In the third verse of this same chapter we read how those same fathers did all eat the same spiritual meat, while in the fourth verse we read how they all drank the same spiritual drink, and how they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them—that Rock which was Christ. LED AND FED! BAPTIZED IN THE CLOUD AND THE SEA! FED WITH THE SAME SPIRITUAL MEAT AND SATISFIED WITH THE SAME SPIRITUAL DRINK!

If we are to truly understand that which the apostle Paul was writing unto the Corinthian congregation it is necessary that we first turn and direct our attention back to the Old Testament book of Exodus—more specifically, the fourteenth chapter of the book. When you direct your attention to the fourteenth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find the account of the children of Israel immediately after they departed from the land of Egypt after the Lord had utterly and completely devastated the entire land and kingdom of Egypt. If you begin reading with the tenth verse of the fourteenth chapter you will find the showdown and encounter the children of Israel had with Pharaoh and his Egyptian army as they pursued them in the wilderness in order that they might bring them back unto Egypt as slaves once more. Consider if you will the words, the text, and the language that is found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the tenth verse:

“And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there were not graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we Matt serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moss said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon His chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind the; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even All Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth His hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and His servant Moses” (Exodus 14:10-31).

This particular passage of Scripture describes the account of the children of Israel at the Red Sea, as the Lord not only parted the waters allowing them to pass through on dry ground, but also drowned and completely destroyed their enemies in the midst of those very same waters. It’s absolutely amazing that by the time the fourteenth chapter of the book of Exodus concludes—not only had the Lord completely devastated and wreaked havoc on the land of Egypt, but now the Lord had also destroyed Pharaoh’s army along with horses, chariots and soldiers alike. If you begin reading prior to coming to the fourteenth chapter—specifically the final portion of the thirteenth chapter of the book of Exodus—you will find that not only did the Lord deliver the children of Israel from their Egyptian slavery and bondage, but He also proceeded to lead them through the wilderness. If you begin reading with the seventeenth verse of the thirteenth chapter you will find the following words concerning the children of Israel: “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them no through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt; But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had strategy sworn the children of Israel, saying God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Ethan, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (Exodus 13:17-22). Concerning this same reality of the cloud over the children of Israel as well as before them leading them through the wilderness we find the following words recorded for us in the final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel” (Exodus 40:34-38).

As you continued reading in the Pentateuch—the first five books of the Old Testament, and the first five books of Scripture as a whole—you will come to the ninth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus. Beginning to read with the fifteenth verse of the ninth chapter you will find the following words concerning the children of Israel and the cloud over the Tabernacle, and the Lord’s leading them through the wilderness. “And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not. And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed. And so it was, when they cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. At the commandment of the Lord they rested in their tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses” (Numbers 9:15-23).

Thus far we have touched upon the children of Israel experiencing the salvation of the Lord as they passed through the waters of the Red Sea, and as their enemies were drowned in those very same waters. Thus far we have touched upon the Lord’s leading of the children of Israel through the wildness—by day according to the pillar of cloud, and by night by the pillar of fire. In addition to the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, we have also touched upon the glory of the Lord upon, over and within the Tabernacle after it was reared up in the wilderness. The apostle Paul also speaks of the children of Israel partaking of the same spiritual meat, as well as the spiritual drink. In the seventeenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus we find the account of the children of Israel being given to drink by the hand of Moses according to the word of the Lord spoken unto Moses. Beginning with the first verse and continuing through to the seventh verse of the same chapter we find these words concerning the water which came from the rock: “And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeyed, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? Wherefore do ye tempt the Lord? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on efore the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou s motets the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in HOreb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink, and Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massachusetts, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?” (Exodus 17:1-7).

If you turn your attention to the previous chapter of the book of Exodus you will find the children of Israel complaining about their hunger in the wilderness. It was true they had experienced the deliverance of the Lord out of and from their Egyptian slavery and bondage, and it was true they experienced the salvation of the Lord as they passed through the waters of the Red Sea and witnessed the destruction of their enemies, but shortly thereafter the children of Israel found themselves hungry. If you begin reading with and from the ninth verse of the sixteenth chapter you will read how the Lord began feeding the children of Israel with manna from heaven for forty years while they journeyed through and wandered through the wilderness: “And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the Lord hath brought you out from the land of Egypt: and in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord; for that He heareth your murmurings agains the Lord: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? And Moses said, This shall be, when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the Lord heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against Him: and what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord. And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the Lord: for he hath heard your murmurings. And it came to pass, As Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wilt not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an Omer for every man, according to the number of your person; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an Omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they harkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses” (Exodus 16;6-22).

I realize that I have presented you with a lot of Scripture concerning the account of the children of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness—from the account at the Red Sea, to the Lord’s leading of the children of Israel by the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, to the water which came forth from the rock at Horeb, to the glory of the Lord within and upon the Tabernacle in the wilderness, to the feeding of the children of Israel according to manna. It’s worth noting that while the apostle Paul declared of Christ that he was the spiritual drink the children of Israel partook of in the wilderness, Jesus Himself declared that He was the manna which the children of Israel partook of in the wilderness, and that in His generation He was the bread of life. What’s important to note concerning the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this passage of Scripture is his use of the word “all,” for he referenced “all our fathers were under the cloud,” and “all passed through the sea,” and “were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea,” and “did all eat the same spiritual meat,” and “did all drink the same spiritual drink.” There is a marked and noticeable difference that occurs when you come to the fifth verse, for rather than using the word “all,” the apostle uses the word “many”—“But with many of them God was not well pleased for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Pay close attention to this, for although all—for although the entire congregation—drank from the same spiritual drink and partook of the same spiritual meat, many of them found themselves displeasing in the sight of the Lord. What an absolutely incredible concept this is—that each and every one of us can enjoy the same spiritual experience, and yet the Lord can be pleased with only a portion of men and women. It’s actually quite interesting that an entire generation partook of the same spiritual meat and the same spiritual drink, and yet only two from that generation entered into the land of Canaan—into the land of promise, inheritance and blessing.

When I read the words of the apostle Paul in this passage of Scripture, I can’t help but consider the concept of spiritual experience, and that while each of our journeys is undoubtedly different, we all share the same spiritual meat and the same spiritual drink—the spiritual drink which flows from the Rock that is Christ, and the spiritual meat which if found in the bread which is Jesus the Christ. I can’t help but be completely and totally struck and captivated by the fact that it is possible that we can share the same spiritual experience, can partake of the same spiritual drink and spiritual meat, and can even find ourselves on the same journey, and yet the Lord can be pleased with some and displeased with others. We dare not be so naïve to think that even though we might all share the same spiritual experience on Sunday morning, and even though we might all share the same spiritual meat and drink on Sunday morning, there are those whom the Lord is pleased with and there are those whom the Lord is not pleased with. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of the concept of “many” and “few” is found in the famous Sermon on the Mount which is recorded for us in the seventh chapter of Matthew’s gospel in the New Testament. Consider if you will the words which Jesus spoke in the company and presence of those who gathered unto Him to hear Him speak—“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Just a few short verses later we find the following words which were spoken by Jesus on that very same occasion—“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

There is also an additional passage of Scripture that speaks directly to this concept of “many” and “few” when Jesus spoke unto the crowds once more by parable. Beginning with the twenty-second chapter of the gospel according to Matthew we find the following words: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my Bowen and my failings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways ,and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the gauges, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he said unto him, Friend, how comest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14). This particular passage brings us face to face with the concept of “many” versus “few,” and this time, Jesus emphatically declares that while “many” are called, only a “few” are chosen. These words have always reminded me of Moses’ call to the entire congregation of Israel concerning who is on the Lord’s side, and yet how despite the fact that this call was issued to the entire congregation, only the Levites responded to the call of Moses on that day. It was a direct result of the Levites responding to the call of Moses on that day that they were chosen from among the many as the few who would minister in the service of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and would do so for future generations.

It is absolutely necessary that when we read the words of the apostle Paul which were written unto the Corinthian congregation that we not only understand the concept of shared spiritual experience, but also the concept of individual results. The apostle Paul wrote how all the children of Israel—the entire congregation of the children of Israel—partook of the same spiritual drink and of the same spiritual meat, were all baptized unto Moses by the cloud and the sea, and yet with many of them, the Lord was sore displeased. I am utterly and completely convinced that it is possible that we can share a similar spiritual experience among us within our congregation and churches, and yet the Lord is pleased with some, while He is displeased with others. What’s more, is I am convinced that Jesus’ words still hold true—even in our generation—for many are called, but few are chosen. The question we must ask ourselves at this juncture is centered upon the concept of “many” versus “few,” as well as the concept of “all” versus “many.” The entire congregation of the children of israel experienced the deliverance from the slavery and bondage of Egypt, and the entire congregation experienced the salvation of the Lord as He brought them through the waters and then drowned their enemies in those very same waters. Despite all of this—despite the fact that all shared the same spiritual experienced in the wilderness—there are many with whom the Lord was not displeased. What’s more, is that there would come a point when although one generation all shared the same spiritual reality and experience, only two from among that generation actually crossed the Jordan River and entered into the land. What’s more, is that not only was Caleb permitted to cross the Jordan River, and not only was he permitted to enter into the land of Canaan, but he was also given an inheritance among the generation that entered into the land of Canaan and engaged the nations and adversaries within the land in battle. Oh that we would recognize and understand that although we all might share the same spiritual experience, and although we might all share the same spiritual meat and drink, there is a vast difference between “all” and “many”—a vast difference between “many” and the “few.” The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are the few who are chosen, or whether or not we are the many who are called, and yet who chose to walk away like all those whom John recorded as turning back and no longer walking any more with Jesus.

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