Mo 2/19Tu 2/20We 2/21Th 2/22Fr 2/23Sa 2/24Su 2/25
Job 19
1 Cor. 6
Job 20
1 Cor. 7
Job 21
1 Cor. 8
Job 22
1 Cor. 9
Job 23
1 Cor. 10
Job 24
1 Cor. 11
Job 25–26
1 Cor. 12

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

We should pay close attention when we read about the Old Testament people of God and about how God dealt with them. 1 Corinthians 10 tells us the things that happened to them happened “as examples for us” (v. 6). More specifically, this chapter teaches us to take warning from the way the people of Israel were judged by the LORD for their sins.

Here are four specific sins Christians are to scrupulously avoid:

1. Idolatry (1 Cor. 10:7; Exod. 32)

Definition – Worshiping anything besides God, especially images (even ones that are meant to represent God).

OT Example: Exodus 32 – The people of Israel make and worship a golden calf while Moses is on the mountain speaking with God. They even ascribe to this idol their salvation from Egypt. As a result, the LORD threatens to destroy the people entirely, but Moses intercedes for them. God relents from His anger against the people as a whole, but there is still judgment: Moses commands the Levites to execute those who had given themselves to sin, and after that the LORD promises, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”

This account should make us tremble at the thought of worshiping idols, especially images that are meant to represent God. That’s what the golden calf was; as part of their worship of it, Aaron even told the people to celebrate a “feast to the LORD” (Exod. 32:5). Let us shun man-made images of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.

2. Sexual Immorality (1 Cor. 10:8; Num. 25)

Definition – Any use of sex in thought, word, or deed that is against God’s law,1 and especially sexual entanglement with those who do not worship God.

OT Example: Numbers 25 – The people of Israel are led to worship Baal of Peor as a result of their lust for the daughters of Moab. God commands a public execution of the leaders who participated in this sin, and He sends a plague that kills 24,000 of the people.

Immorality and idolatry are never far apart. There’s probably nothing that has as much power to draw us away from God as our own lustful desires.

3. Trying the Lord (1 Cor. 10:9; Num. 21)

Definition – This “trying” or “testing” of the Lord particularly refers to doubting the goodness of God’s provision for us.

OT Example: Numbers 21 – The people of Israel complain that God and His servants have acted wrongly by leading them through the wilderness and not providing enough food or water. This is in spite of the fact that God had been abundantly providing for them by sending them bread from heaven (see Exod. 16) and producing water from a rock (see Exod. 17). Still they “test the LORD” by doubting His word and demanding more signs from Him.

We see this doubting of God’s good provision all throughout Scripture. One of Satan’s most enticing temptations from the beginning has been to ask, “Did God really say?” (Gen. 3:1). He tempted our Lord to test God’s goodness by recklessly throwing Himself down off the temple (Matt. 4:5–7). Jesus responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16: “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.”

4. Grumbling (1 Cor. 10:10; Num. 16)

Definition – This particularly refers to grumbling against God’s authority, especially as it is manifested in the earthly authorities He has placed over us.

OT Example: Numbers 16Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, discontent with their position and jealous of the special place given to Moses and Aaron, rise up and rebel. In response, God causes the earth to swallow them up alive. Astoundingly, just after this fearful new judgment from God, the rest of the people of Israel continue to complain against Moses and Aaron, even blaming them for the death of the rebels. God sends a plague among the people, and 14,700 die as a result.

Out with the Old, In with the New

Walking in righteousness is not just about saying no to sin. It’s also about cheerfully doing what God says we are supposed to do. As recipients of God’s free grace, our lives are to be characterized by godliness.

Here are four aspects of godliness that contrast the above aspects of ungodliness:

1. Holiness

Rather than letting our hearts go after idols, we are to be undivided and single-minded in our devotion to God. To be holy means we are set apart by God as dwelling places for His Holy Spirit. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19–20). What an amazing privilege.

2. Sexual Purity

Rather than giving our minds and bodies over to lustful indulgence and letting our hearts be led astray from God in the process, we are to devote ourselves to our husband or wife. 1 Corinthians 7 has a lot to say on this topic.

Because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (vv. 2–5)

Furthermore, those who “do not have self-control” are to marry, “for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (v. 9).

3. Faith

Rather than doubting the goodness of God’s provision, we are to trust God’s promises to give us everything we need. His provision is both physical and spiritual. “For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6). Let us diligently remember how God has provided for all of our needs, and let us exercise faith by continuing to trust that He will provide.

4. Submission to Authority

Rather than complaining against authority, we are to cheerfully submit to the order God has established in this world. One practical example of this shows up in 1 Corinthians 11: “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. … indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake” (vv. 3, 9). The New Testament is full of commands to submit to all the authorities God places over us: family authorities, workplace authorities, civil authorities, and church authorities. God is glorified as we demonstrate faith through submission.

  1. For a more thorough explanation of what this entails, see the Westminster Larger Catechism, q. 137–139. ↩︎

VERSE TO MEDITATE ON

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
—1 Corinthians 10:31

HOW TO PRAY

  • Adoration – Praise God for His holiness.
  • Confession – Confess ways you have given in to idolatry, immorality, testing the Lord, or grumbling.
  • Thanksgiving – Thank God for His amazing grace in making us dwelling places of the Holy Spirit.
  • Supplication – Pray that God would purify His church and remove sin from our midst, both at Christ Church, and in the broader church in our nation and around the world.

Click HERE to ask the pastors a question about anything in your Bible reading.

This post by Alex McNeilly

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

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