Today’s selected reading continues in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. More specifically today’s passage is found in the tenth chapter of this New Testament book. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through t he 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. 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 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. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for our ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 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. Wherefore my dearly beloved, free from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say” (1 Corinthians 10:1-15).
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink of the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? (1 Corinthians 10:16-22).
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go: whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof: Conscience I say, not thine own but the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s ‘conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever rye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:23-33).
When you come to the tenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints you will find the apostle appealing unto the history of the children of Israel. It is absolutely impossible to read the words which are found in the tenth chapter and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the intention of the apostle when writing these words. The apostle Paul was now seeking to build upon everything he had written up until this point in his exhortation, correction, encouragement and rebuke of the Corinthian congregation. Thus far the apostle Paul has had to address a number of different items which were brought to his attention by a report that came unto him. Such a report disclosed how within this particular church there were divisions, there were contentions, there were strifes and their were schisms. It was also brought unto the attention of the apostle Paul that there was fornication among them—and not merely fornication but fornication such as was not even named among the Gentiles. Within the Corinthian congregation there was a man who was engaged in such gross and lewd formation as he would take unto himself his father’s wife. As if this weren’t bad enough the apostle Paul declared unto the Corinthian congregation that instead of their mourning and weeping they were puffed up about such iniquity and immorality among them. Instead of removing this person together with the wickedness from among them they permitted the individual and the fornication to be present among them. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of when reading the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints for within this epistle we find the apostle Paul seeking to provide a tremendous sense of correction and rebuke unto them based on what he had heard was present among them.
As you read the words which are found within this epistle—specifically the third chapter—you will find the apostle Paul declaring that he could not write unto them as spiritual but as carnal. What’s more is that not only did he declare unto them that he could not write unto them as carnal but as bases in Christ who could not be fed with meat but only with milk because they could not handle the meat of the word of God. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of when reading the words presented in this epistle as it calls and draws our attention to the fact that although the apostle Paul was indeed writing unto those who were called to be saints together with all those who call upon the name of the Lord they were carnal in their nature and practice. In all reality the Corinthian church might very well be defined and described as the gifted and carnal church. Within this epistle the apostle Paul not only describes how this particular church was carnal in its practice and nature but also that it was gifted. From the very first chapter of this epistle we find the apostle Paul writing and speaking of this church and how they were enriched in all knowledge and utterance and how they came behind in no gift. Even in the twelfth chapter of this epistle we find the apostle Paul writing unto them concerning spiritual gifts and the purpose of those gifts within the body of Christ. Oh this is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this epistle for they bring us face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding these saints which were called to be such together with all those who called upon the name of the Lord and yet although they were gifted they were also carnal.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are present within this epistle and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the absolutely astonishing truth surrounding this congregation and how they were a congregation that were content to be gifted and to move in the gifts of the Spirit yet also at the same time being carnal. You would not think that it is possible to be gifted and move in the gifts of the Spirit and yet at the same time being carnal and yet even Jesus Himself would declare unto His disciples and the multitudes which gathered unto Him to hear the Sermon on the Mount that not every one who comes unto Him saying “Lord, Lord” would enter into the kingdom of heaven. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus emphatically declaring unto the multitude which gathered themselves unto Him that not every one who calls Him “Lord, Lord” would enter into the kingdom of heaven. With this being said Jesus would emphatically declare that only those who did the will of His Father which was in heaven would indeed enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is important for us to recognize and understand for when you read the seventh chapter you will find Jesus speaking of those who prophesied in His name, those who did many great works in His name and those who cast out devils and unclean spirits in His name and yet such individuals would hear from Jesus that he never knew them and would be instructed to depart from Him. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew concerning the words Jesus spoke unto the multitude which came and gathered themselves unto Him:
“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 there at: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 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. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not:for it was founded upon a rod. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7;13-27).
The words which we find here in this passage of Scripture describes how it is possible to be gifted and even do good works in the earth and among men and yet get to heaven professing Jesus as Lord and yet come to discover that not every one who professes “Lord, Lord” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. The words which are found in this passage of Scripture describe how it is possible to cast out devils, to prophesy in the name of the Lord and even to do many good works in His name and yet hear from Jesus that He never knew them. What’s more is that such individuals might not only hear that Jesus never knew them but they would also hear the command given unto them to depart from Him for they were workers of iniquity. Pause for a moment and consider how incredible unique this truly is when you truly take the time to focus on what is being said by Jesus when speaking unto the multitudes. Jesus held not punches and emphatically declared that not every one who calls Him Lord, Lord would enter into the kingdom of heaven. Moreover Jesus would go on to declare that only those who did the will of His Father in heaven would enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is something that warrants strong consideration on our part for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that the only way to ensure access and entrance into the kingdom of heaven is by knowing and doing the will of the Father which is in heaven. Jesus was very clear when speaking unto the multitudes which had gathered themselves unto Him that those who did the will of the Father which was in heaven would be those who would enter into the kingdom of heaven while those who ignored and did not the will of the Father which was in heaven would not enter into the kingdom of heaven. IN addition to this Jesus would also declare that it was possible to do many good works in His name, it was possible to prophesy in His name and it was even possible to cast out devils in his name and yet be denied access into the kingdom of heaven.
The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the Corinthian congregation and how although this congregation was indeed gifted and came behind in no gifts they were carnal in the sight of the living God. What’s more is that despite the fact they were enriched in all knowledge and utterance they were carnal in the sight and presence of the living God. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when the apostle Paul wrote these words unto the Corinthian saints he would do so seeking to instruct, correct and rebuke them. In all reality this epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints was indeed sort of an intervention as he would write the words contained within it to bring them back on track with what he had taught them during those eighteen months he labored among them. This epistle can and must be best understood as the means of the apostle Paul seeking to call the Corinthian saints back into proper alignment with the truth that is contained within the Scripture. The apostle Paul sought to call the Corinthian congregation back unto holiness, back unto righteousness and back unto obedience in the sight and presence of the living God before they would further spiral out of control. This epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints would indeed be the apostle Paul seeking to intervene on behalf of the Corinthian congregation. In addition to this I would dare say that this epistle was not only meant to intervene on behalf of the Corinthian congregation but it was also a means of interceding on behalf of them in the sight and presence of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this epistle for within it we find both the intervention and intercession of the apostle Paul on behalf of the Corinthian congregation.
I have to admit that the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian congregation is such which warrants strong consideration by absolutely every church that is present within our culture and society today. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that we must needs read the words presented in this epistle and take a look at our own heart, our own mind, our own soul and our life and whether or not we are truly walking in obedience in the sight and presence of the living and eternal God. The first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian congregation calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the apostle Paul seeking to correct and rebuke the Corinthian congregation for it was brought to his attention that there were things among them which needed to be corrected and addressed. In the fourth chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul emphatically declared unto them that although they had many instructors and many teachers yet there was something they lacked. Despite the fact they had many instructors—perhaps Cephas, perhaps Apollos, perhaps Timothy and perhaps others apart from the apostle Paul—they did not have many fathers or even a father. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for within Scripture we find the authors declaring that a loving father can and will chasten their son or daughter out of love and compassion for and toward them. There are many passages within Scripture where we find the authors declaring that even God as a Father chastens, corrects and rebukes those whom He loves. This is important for when we read the words found within this epistle we find the apostle Paul correcting and rebuking the Corinthian congregation as a father would correct their child. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of this epistle, the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews as well as the words which are found in the first couple chapters presented within the Old Testament book of Proverbs:
“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to different from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God hath set forth us the apostle last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong: ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffet, and have no certain dwelling place; and labour, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” (1 Corinthians 4:6-21).
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastising of the Lord, nor faith when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealers with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way: but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men,a nd holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrew 12:1-17).
Having considered and read these words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints as well as in the epistle written unto the Hebrews I am convinced we must now turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs. It is within this Old Testament book of Proverbs we find Solomon who was considered to be the wisest man who walked upon the face of the earth being granted wisdom from the living God directly writing a series of instructions unto his sons. The Old Testament book of Provers is indeed a book of proverbs and wise sayings written by Solomon son of David and king of Israel, however, at the very outset and beginning of the Old Testament book itself we find Solomon writing directly unto his sons as he sought to instruct them in the ways that they ought to go. I am convinced that in order to truly understand the words which are found in the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this Old Testament book for it was written from a father who sought to instruct his sons in the ways of righteousness and in the ways which they ought to go. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in this Old Testament book beginning with the first chapter:
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. My son, if sinners entire thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk prickly for the innocent without cause: let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: we shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our homes with spoil: cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privately for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof” (Proverbs 1:1-19).
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding: Yea, if thou driest after knowledge, and lift east up thy voice for understanding: if thou seekest her as silver, and searches for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity: yea, every good path” (Proverbs 2:1-9).
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul: discretion shall pre=serve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightnesses, to walk in the ways of darkness: who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths; to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flatterers with her words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and per paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life, that thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it” (Proverbs 2:10-22).
“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments; for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be now wise in thine own eyes: Fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: for whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Proverbs 3:1-12).
“My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou livest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken” (Proverbs 3:21-26).
“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding, for I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and Live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall persevere thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting getter understanding. Exalt her and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee” (Proverbs 4:1-8).
“Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou funnest, tho shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is ad darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Proverbs 4:9-19).
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the paths of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:20-27).
Returning now to the tenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints you will find the apostle Paul beseeching these dear saints that they should not be ignorant how all their fathers were under the blood and all passed through he sea and were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Moreover the apostle Paul would also go on to write how they all did eat the same spiritual meat and did all drink the same spiritual drink for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them—that rock which was Christ. That which the apostle is seeking to do is to call and draw the attention of the Corinthian saints to the incredible truth surrounding the example which was found in the history of the children and people of Israel. The apostle Paul sought to first convey unto them that all their fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea and were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and the sea. Not only this but their fathers also at the same spiritual meat and did all drink the same spiritual drink for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them—that Rock which was Christ. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful reality of the children of Israel walking and journeying through the wilderness and during those forty years partook of the spiritual drink which proceeded forth from the spiritual rock which was Christ. We know that there was a particular instance when Moses was instructed to strike the rock with his staff and the living God caused water to proceed forth out of the rock that they might drink and partake of that water. We also know that there was another instance when the living God instructed Moses to speak to the rock and He would bring forth water out of the rock as He had previously done when he struck the rock. Unfortunately rather than obeying the voice of the LORD and speaking unto the rock Moses struck the rock as he had done previously. The living and eternal God would indeed cause water to flow forth from the rock despite Moses’ striking the rock rather than obeying His voice and speaking to it, however, because Moses disobeyed the voice of the LORD he would not be able to enter into the land of Canaan which was promised unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
If you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find that although the fathers all ate of the same spiritual meat and all drank of the same spiritual drink which proceeded from the spiritual Rock that followed them which was Christ there were many with whom God was not pleased. Upon continuing to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul calling and drawing the attention of the Corinthian saints to the fact that there were many of the fathers among the children of Israel whom God was not well pleased for they were overthrown in the wilderness. The apostle Paul would go on to declare that these things which happened unto them were our examples to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. Moreover the apostle Paul would also go on to write how we are not to be idolaters as were some of them for it was written how the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. In addition to this the apostle Paul would also write unto the Corinthian congregation that in addition to our not lusting after evil things, in addition to our not being idolaters we are not to commit fornication as some of them committed and there fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Oh it is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand the words which are found in this particular chapter for if you continue reading you will find the apostle Paul going on to declare that we are not to tempt Christ as some of them also tempted and were destroyed of serpents. Continuing even further you will find the apostle Paul going on to write how we ought not to murder as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer. Each of these particular sets of instruction were intended to call the Corinthian congregation to look at the history and the account of the fathers in the wilderness and to recognize that what was written concerning them was written for their example that they might not follow the same pattern, that they might not make the same mistakes and that they might not commit the same evils before and in the sight of the living God.
WE SHOULD NOT LUST AFTER EVIL THINGS! NEITHER BE IDOLATERS! NEITHER LET US COMMIT FORNICATION! NEITHER LET US TEMPT CHRIST! NEITHER MURUR! Please pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the apostle Paul would appeal to the history of the children of Israel which were present in the wilderness and how what was written concerning them in the wilderness was written for our example that we ought to learn from their mistakes and not make the same mistakes. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that those who do not learn from history are doomed and bound to repeat it. This is true of the history that is found and contained within the Scripture as much as it is of the history that is present within this country as well as the history which is present within the world. There would be those who would seek to study history that they might obtain a certain degree which points to and reveals their knowledge of history, however, I am convinced that more than a head knowledge of history and the events which took place in the past there needs to be a heart knowledge as we learn from history and what has taken place in the lives of those who have gone before us. I firmly believe that if we do not look at the history of our nation and the perils, the dangers, the struggles, the conflicts, the wars, and all they faced we are indeed doomed to make the same mistake(s) they made and walk the same path. This is just as true of world history as much as it is the history that is contained within the Scripture and there are those who do not view the Bible as a historical book. Would it shock and surprise you if I told you that there are those who do not view the Bible as a historical record of events which took place in history from the beginning of the creation of everything that was made up to the time of the apostles and the early church? Would it shock and surprise you to know that there are those who view the Scripture as merely a literary piece of writing that might very well be intended to provide instruction, however, there is virtually no significance to it?
I am convinced there is a great need to recognize the words which the apostle Peter wrote in his writings which are found in the New Testament as well as the words which are found in the writings of the apostle Paul unto his spiritual son Timothy. What’s more is I am convinced there is also a great need to recognize the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews for within this epistle we find powerful language concerning the Scripture and that which is contained within it. Moreover I would also dare say we must needs consider the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome concerning the word. With all of this being said I invite you to consider the above mentioned passages of Scripture beginning with the tenth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) OR, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ sin from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preached; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised hi from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call upon him of whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heardA? Nd how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:4-17).
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the mane of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
“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 limiteth 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” (Hebrews 4:1-13).
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance: knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyes witness of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophesy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:12-21).
If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that what was written in the Scripture concerning the children of Israel was not written merely as a piece of historical literature for us to read that we might gain insight into how they lived. What we find within the sacred Scripture should indeed serve as a powerful example for us concerning how we ourselves ought to live during this generation in which we are living. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that all these things were written for our example that we might see that which they experienced and see what they did that we might not make the same mistakes they did. What we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is that what we find written concerning the children of Israel—specifically that which is written of them concerning their time in the wilderness—was written for our example and for our instruction that we might take and learn from the mistakes they made that we might not make the same mistakes which they made. There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words presented in this passage of Scripture and acknowledge that we have been given a pattern and an example for which we are to read and understand that we might not make the same mistakes which the children of Israel made. The apostle Paul sought to warn the Corinthian congregation against tempting Christ, against murmuring, against idolatry, against fornication and against that which the children of Israel had indeed allowed themselves to be engaged in during their time in the wilderness. What’s more is the apostle Paul clearly demonstrated that as a direct result of their disobedience and transgression in the sight of the living God there were many within that generation who were destroyed by the Lord. There were some who were destroyed by serpents, there were others who were destroyed by the plague, there were others who were put to death by the sword, and ultimately there was an entire generation that perished and fell in the wilderness. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Numbers concerning the word the LORD spoke unto the children of Israel when they grumbled against the land of promise and ultimately against the living God Himself:
“And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to call the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kaddish; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this if the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites< and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; ;for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, WE be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:26-33).
“And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! OR would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our c harden should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. The Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: and they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then. He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is not departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they. And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD are seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the LORD was not able to bring this people int the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my LORD be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forging iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast for vein this people, from Egypt even until now” (Numbers 14:1-19).
“And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereunto he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea” (Numbers 14:19-25).
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, how long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As Turkey as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of oyu, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the das in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the man that went to search the land, lived still. And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly” (Numbers 14:26-39).
“And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountains, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned. And Moss said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? But it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you. But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moss, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and SI omitted them, even unto Hormah” (Numbers 14:40-45).
Please pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we find the LORD asking Moses and Aaron some very pointed and powerful question. The LORD God would ask Moses and Aaron how long he would bear with this evil congregation which murmured against Him. Moreover the LORD goes on to declare that He had healed the murmurings of the children of Israel which they murmured against Him and declared that their bodies would all in the wilderness—all those that were numbered among them according to their whole number from twenty years old and upward which murmured against Him. As if this weren’t enough the living and eternal God also responded to Moses when he interceded on behalf of the congregation and spoke of something absolutely incredible when you take the time to truly consider it. The living and eternal God declared unto Moses that the children of Israel had seen His glory and His miracles which He did both in the wilderness and in the land of Egypt and had tempted Him ten times. Stop for a moment and consider that and how absolutely astounding it truly is as the living God would declare here on the eastern edge of the land of Canaan that the children of Israel had tempted Him ten times in total. From the time the children of Israel departed from the land of Egypt and arrived at the Red Sea until this particular moment in time the children of Israel had indeed tempted the LORD their God ten separate times—something that is actually quite interesting when you consider the fact that the LORD actually recounted and recalled each of the ten times they tempted Him. Although He had pardoned them according to the word which Moses had spoken unto them He not only remembered the ten times they tempted Him but He would also swear by Himself that all those above the age of twenty years old would not enter into the land but would instead fall in the wilderness. This is something which warrants strong consideration on our end for by and through these words the LORD declared unto Moses that the children of Israel had indeed tempted Him ten times in the wilderness from the time they departed from the land of Egypt until the time they were to go up and take possession of the land.
If you take the time to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul writing and speaking of the history of the children of Israel and declaring how their time in the wilderness served as a powerful example for us who would come after them. The apostle Paul declared that all those things written concerning them were written and provided for us as examples to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they lusted. The apostle Paul would indeed speak unto the Corinthians concerning the children of Israel and how from the time they departed out of the land of Egypt hey lusted after evil things, they were idolaters, they committed fornication, the murmured against the LORD and they tempted Christ. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it helps bring us face to face with our own lives and how we must needs take a look at our own time before the LORD and whether or not we are indeed walking in faithfulness, truth, holiness and righteousness in His sight. The apostle Paul wrote how there fell in one day twenty-three thousand men and women as a direct result of committing fornication and how there was another time when there were a number of them who were destroyed of serpents which had entered into the camp among them. Not only this but the apostle Paul also wrote of how there were others who were destroyed of the destroyer because they murmured against the word, the name and the person of the living God. The apostle Paul appealed to this and declared that all these things happened unto them for our examples and are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. As if this weren’t enough the apostle Paul would declare unto the Corinthians that there has no temptation taken us but such as is common to man. The apostle Paul would also declare unto them how God is faithful who will not suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that we might be able to bear it.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the incredible need for us as the saints of God to strive to keep ourselves from succumbing and giving in to temptation. It was James who emphatically declared that no man ought to say that they are tempted of God but temptation arises when we are enticed by the lusts which are present within our hearts. I am absolutely convinced that in order to truly understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we must needs consider the words which James wrote for they help us to not only understand temptation within our own hearts and lives but they also help us how to resist temptation. What’s more is I would dare say that we must also consider the words which the apostle Peter wrote in the first epistle unto the saints which were scattered and suffering as well as the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints as well as the words which are found in the tenth chapter of the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints. I leave you with these passages and the words which are contained within them as admonition, as caution, as warning and as encouragement for you who name the name of Jesus, you who believe on His name and you who call upon His name that you might be saved. There is a great need for us to recognize and understand just how absolutely incredible these words truly are for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely incredible truth that we have indeed been called to be those who resist temptation and those who like Joseph flee when temptation arises against us. Even if we have to flee and leave our coat behind us as we run we are to flee from the presence of temptation that we might walk in holiness and righteousness in the sight of the living God. With this in mind I leave you with the following words presented in the above mentioned passages of Scripture:
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the LORD hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:12-16).
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubled minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10).
“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,k that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:5-11).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but might through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when you obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Sprit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).