Summary: Israel’s history helps us understand the dangers of sinful patterns today. Craving evil is a root that bears bad fruit. Only the cross can deliver us.
Bill Cosby once said, “I’m proud to be an American, because an American can eat anything on the face of this earth, as long as he has two pieces of bread.”
As Paul approaches eating meat offered to idols here in chapter 10, he gets a running start by pointing to ancient Israel’s history. For our lesson we will look at the first 13 verses of 1 Cor. 10.
In the first ten verses we see: five “all”s, a "most" and four “some”s.
Look at the word “all” in verses 1-4.
10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 and all ate the same spiritual food;
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
What is the point? Every one of these Israelites received the same blessing of deliverance from God in a mighty way. He makes particular mention of baptism and what could be construed as the Lord’s Supper in spiritual food and drink.
Does that sound familiar to you and me as Christians? We are all baptized, and we all eat the bread, representing Christ’s body and take the cup, representing the blood of the Lord.
This passage is a clear attempt to make the connection between Israel and the church. But why is Paul making this connection? He is setting us up here. He wants us to see that we too were all baptized. We too all take the spiritual food and drink the spiritual drink of the Lord’s supper. We are like them! Okay? So what?
Well, just because you’ve been baptized and take the Lord’s supper, don’t think you can do as you please! Look now at the word “most” in verse 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Some translations say, “their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” In other words, they became pavement for the road from Egypt to Canaan! Why? Because God was not pleased with most of them. And why was God not pleased with most of them? Look at the next five verses and see. What we have next are five things that "some" of Israel did that displeased God.
Look at them in order:
1. Craved evil things.
2. Practiced Idolatry
3. Acted sexually immoral
4. Tested the Lord
5. Grumbled or murmured
Now, every one of these things is also a danger for the Corinthian church. But they are not aware of the danger, as they should be. We’ve already read back in chapters 5-6 how sexual immorality was a problem among them, to a point that pagans would not practice, and they are proudly accepting the man who is doing this.
As we look at the Corinthians we see another problem: They are craving evil.
Do you ever do that? Do you ever just long for something that you know is wrong, but you just want it anyway? Be careful! Listen to James’ comment on this kind of thing: Chapter 1:12-16.
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
Trials are an environment where evil cravings grow. Look at Israel. Where were they when they craved evil? The Wilderness! It was a desert where food and water were scarce. God supplied them with what they needed, but they were not satisfied! Numbers 11: 4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat!
Numbers 11:5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!
In other words "We want the meat and melons we ate in Egypt! We miss the leek soups and sandwiches! Besides that, they missed the festivities of the calf worship they enjoyed before God told them, no more images! They wanted to party and play!
God’s way is no fun! It seems so hard and boring! What’s the old saying, “Everything I want is either illegal, immoral or fattening.”