The things that happened to them are examples for us


“Now all these things happened to them for examples. And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11 (Read v. 1-13)

Most Christians have heard and read of the failings of God’s people Israel. They were all graciously redeemed by the LORD God and delivered from slavery in Egypt, but not all entered into the land of promise.

The Apostle Paul wrote (in 1 Cor. 10:1-4) of this to the believers in Corinth: “Moreover, brothers, I do not wish that you should be ignorant, that all our fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink (for they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ).”

In the same way as Christians are all baptized into Christ and partake of His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, so the people of Israel were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They partook of the manna which God provided them and drank water from the spiritual Rock which followed them, which was Christ. Yet, we read in verse 5: “But with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”

God’s Word says (in verses 6-13): “Now these things were our examples so that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted, neither be idolaters as some of them were, as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ Neither let us commit lewdness as some of them committed, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Let us not test Christ as some of them also tested and were destroyed by serpents. Let us not murmur as some of them also murmured and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them for examples. And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall. There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape so that you may be able to bear it.”

What is the apostle saying to us? Just because we have been baptized into Christ and have partaken of Christ does not mean we cannot fall away and lose the salvation God has so graciously provided for us. If we lust after and desire evil things instead of what the LORD God has given us and turn back into sin and unbelief, we too will lose the life Christ Jesus so desires to give us. If we do not walk and live by faith in God and the promises of His Word, we will also, like so many of the Israelites, be overthrown in the wilderness of this world.

We ought not ever to think that we are Christian and all is well with our souls if we are living in the sins of the flesh. The Bible clearly warns us: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, dissensions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like these, of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

True Christians are sorry for their sins, trust in Christ’s atoning sacrifice for forgiveness and then, as a fruit of faith, seek to live for Christ in accord with His Word. They are led by God’s indwelling Spirit. Read 1 John 1-2.

Alone, we would most certainly fall and perish. But we have been redeemed by Christ Jesus. He walks with us and leads us. His Spirit dwells within us. He is with us always and never permits us to be tempted above what we are able to withstand. If we walk with Him, being led by God’s Spirit, He will bring us safely through the wilderness of this world to Himself in heaven.

It is as the Bible says, “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me to his heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim. 4:18).

Dearest Lord Jesus, forgive me for failing to follow You in faith. Lead me in the way everlasting for Your name’s sake. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible.]