Fri | Jan 21, 2022
Walking the tightrope – Part 3

Dwight Fletcher | New age, same God

Published:Sunday | June 27, 2021 | 12:05 AM

For the past two weeks, we have been discussing the fact that the liberty that God gives us comes with conditions; it’s not a licence to do as we please. Implicit in the Scriptures also is the reality that we all have the tendency to go astray. Paul mentions four examples in 1 Corinthians 10: 7-10 to illustrate the lust of the Israelites and to warn us of the following:

1. IDOLATRY

In spite of seeing the 10 plagues in Egypt, crossing the Rea Sea as if it were dry land, a cloud by day to guide and the very direct and miraculous intervention of God, the Israelites set up a golden calf as an object of worship. Even after being instructed to avoid such a sin, they lusted after evil and turned from God to worship the golden calf which they had made. Paul was saying that, if these people who had witnessed the miracles of God could so easily turn to idolatry, then the Christians in Corinth, who were surrounded by idols, should also be on guard. What about us, aren’t we tempted the same way? In our society where pluralism (the acceptance of more than one God) is being promoted, many of us are being enticed to worship a god that is not a God at all. Not to mention other idols (body worship, material, education, culture, relationships). Failing to honour God as Lord with your worship and offerings can bring death.

2. SEXUAL IMMORALITY

We must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, which caused 23,000 of them to die in one day (Numbers 25). Sexual immorality is rarely a freestanding sin. It always seems to create other more complicated issues like lying, deception, financial problems, and, in this case, more idolatry. God responded by sending a plague that wiped out at least 23,000 of these baptised and communed believers.

3. TESTING THE LORD

Israel complained about having been brought out of Egypt into the wilderness (Numbers 21:5), and tested the Lord to see what He would do. God punished them by sending poisonous snakes among them. The message paraphrases the verse this way – “We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving Him, they tried … .”

4. GRUMBLING AGAINST THE LORD

This incident of grumbling occurred when the people complained against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God responded with divine punishment. God doesn’t take this sin lightly either.

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come. So the one who thinks he is standing firm should be careful not to fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 (BSB)

These were all problems that were evident at Corinth. Paul was saying that, the very things they were doing, other people did. Look at the results. When the Israelites disobeyed, they received punishment. Likewise, when people who claim to be Christians sin with no repentance, no desire to change and/or no concern for God’s laws, they, too, will receive punishment. If Paul were with us today, what examples would he be using regarding us? If he were speaking to us specifically, what areas in our lives would he be highlighting?

When we read the Bible, we sometimes believe that we are in the clear and it is applicable to other persons. Like David, we must ask the Lord to search us and reveal any wicked ways in us. Wicked ways are not just outward evil acts but also a heart that rebels against God.