1 Corinthians

by David Gibb

Day 18

Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

It was supposed to be indestructible -the safest luxurious ship ever built. And yet, at midnight on 14 April 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank. More than 1,500 lives were lost. Hours before, radio operators had received warnings of dangerous icebergs in that part of the ocean, but they ignored them. Even after the collision, there was no panic. The impact had scarcely been felt, and some of the passengers even had a snowball fight with fragments of the iceberg that had fallen onto the deck.9 The sinking of Titanic is an example of human complacency. Feeling safe doesn't mean we are safe.

It is possible to fall away, even at the eleventh hour.

The apostle Paul has been tackling the issue of meat that has been offered to idols. Do you eat it or avoid it? Just as athletes discipline themselves and give up certain things in order to win the prize, Paul has argued for Christians to lay down their freedoms to ensure they don't sin or cause others to (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

Now, he gives them a history lesson from Israel's past (10:1-4). Back at the time of the Exodus, the Israelites experienced amazing blessings from God-they were under the cloud (which symbolised God's presence and guiding hand), they passed through the Red Sea, they ate the manna that came from heaven, and they drank the water that God miraculously provided from a rock (see Exodus 13:21-22; 14:21-22; 16:4-16; 17:3-7).

But where did most of them end up? Not alive in the promised land, but dead in the wilderness! They never made it, for ″God was not pleased with most of them″ (1 Corinthians 10:5).

The trouble was that the Israelites, despite having experienced God's lavish blessings, set their hearts on idols (v. 7), committed sexual immorality (v. 8), tested God's patience (v. 9), and grumbled (v. 10).

Paul says these things were recorded as ″warnings for us″ (1 Corinthians 10:11). Even though they were God's people, the Israelites were complacent and continued in their old ways. Paul doesn't want the Corinthians to follow suit. Those who eat meat offered to idols might think they are ″standing firm″ (v. 12) and able to resist all kinds of temptation, but Paul cautions them not to be complacent or over-confident.

It is possible to fall away, even at the eleventh hour. But our faithful God can provide a way of escape at the moment of temptation (v. 13)-we just need to turn to Him for help.

Almighty God, help me not to become complacent and return to my old ways, or to take Your blessings for granted. Instead, help me to cling to You and know Your faithfulness daily.

9 Andrew Wilson, Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived, (Simon & Schuster, 2011).

Think through:

How is Israel's experience in the wilderness an example and a warning to us?

In what ways has God shown His faithfulness in your life? How does this encourage you today?




About Author

David Gibb has a deep love for the Bible and a passion to communicate it relevantly. After ministering in churches in Oxford and northwest England for over 25 years, he is presently pastor and team leader of Duke Street Church in Birmingham, UK.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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