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.
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 examples: 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 i t. ~~ I Corinthians 10:1-13 (KJV)
My grandmother used to say “He who will not learn from history is condemned to repeat it.” Our culture today seems to be dedicated to chasing the new and not regarding the past at all. In our schools, history is no longer taught the way we were taught half a century ago. Our children may have to repeat history because we are not teaching them correctly.
In this passage, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. Corinth was a notoriously wicked place in its day. Believers were in danger of yielding to the current culture rather than standing firm in their beliefs.
So Paul takes them back to the wandering in the desert with Moses as their leader. The fact that they were following Moses didn’t save many of them from the consequences of their own actions. When they grumbled against God and Moses, they were bitten by snakes. But God made a way out for them with the bronze snake.
Notice that the way out requires obedience. When they look upon the bronze snake – when they do what the Lord says – then they are cured.
You see, looking to the Lord is the answer to any problem. When we are in a quandary, the answer is before us if we take the time to focus on the principles of God. When we focus on the problem, it seems insurmountable. When we look at God, the problem fades into perspective as the small matter that it is.
We need not repeat history. We can learn from it. But we must be reading the correct history text. The Bible is the history of mankind on a spiritual plane. That is the territory we must cover when we learn from history.
Teach us to look to You as the source of all wisdom and knowledge. Grant that we may never be so taken with our own intellect that we are beyond teaching. Give us a humility of spirit that we may be forever your students and disciples.
In Jesus’ most precious name.
First published 1 December 2009 on Garment of Praise