Paul opens 1 Corinthians 10 with some lessons from the past. Long before Jesus walked this earth, Moses led the Israelites out of slavery, through the Red Sea, and into the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. Life was not easy but their needs were met. Their food may not have been tasty, but it brought nourishment to their bodies. They continually saw God’s wonder, provision, and grace, but did it truly impact their souls? God called them a “stiff-necked” people. They were stubborn, obstinate, and disobedient. God rescued them from captivity, provided for their needs, and called them into a new life, yet they were unwilling to live out their calling to love, honor, and obey God.

The Israelites were given multiple chances to behave and work on their attitudes, but their stubbornness always got in the way. 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 opens with, “I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses.” Picture walking through the Red Sea with a massive wall of water and sea life on either side, only to then watch those same powerful waves descend upon their enemies and wipe them from the face of the earth. Should this not have caused them to trust their God who was leading them out of captivity. And he didn’t stop there. He led them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as a constant reminder of God’s glory, presence and provision. Paul reminds us that God led and provided for his people then just as he does today.

Consider verses 3-4, “All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.” Imagine wandering in the desert without a drop of water or a bite of food in sight. Then one night, after reaching a point of despair such that even captivity sounded attractive, discovering camps full of quail to eat each night and then waking up every morning to a substance that could only be defined as “what is it?” The sustenance provided for them on a daily basis traveled with them day after day and that life was provided through Christ. Again, God provided for his people then just as he does today.

This section sadly concludes with verse 5, “Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” Yikes! This is not the epitaph that any of us should aspire to! So what lessons can we learn from our ancestors? If God can free a stiff-necked people from slavery, lead them through the desert, and care for their physical needs, can he not provide for you? Don’t allow your stubbornness to get in the way of receiving God’s provision and blessings.

Lynette Fuson
Care & Counseling Director

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