Remember Our History | 1 Corinthians 10:1-12
Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. They went through the waters, in a baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God’s fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. But just experiencing God’s wonder and grace didn’t seem to mean much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased.
The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—“First the people partied, then they threw a dance.” We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with 23,000 deaths in one day! We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them.
These are all warning markers—DANGER!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.
1 Corinthians 10:1-12 | MSG
So much of the Old Testament was not meant to be normative on any level as a divine prescription for a long and happy life. In fact, to take the Old Testament as normative on a human level is to simply reinforce our own dark and broken norms and to miss the whole point. God is ultimately challenging the fallen norms of humanity, the normal way we do things, the way we push and shove as we make our way, leave our mark, on this world. Nearly every story has the warning “Danger!” posted over it even as it reveals Divine touches leading us to the ultimate, better Story. Of course, some of those “Divine touches” themselves seem fraught with danger as we contemplate them. Back to glaring glimpses of God as dictator “only larger and more arbitrary.” Perhaps it might be helpful for us to remember that though we are seeing a pretty thorough x-ray of humanity in the Old Testament, we are only getting a view of God’s backside there. Recall that when Moses asked to see the face of God, the response was, “you can’t see my face. No one can see my face and live. You will only see my backside.” In the Old Testament we get only the reflected glory of the moon displayed on fully, tragically flawed, human faces; whereas now it is the full direct light of the Sun – a healing light that doesn’t merely search out and reveal those same flaws, but that brings increasing healing to and even through them.
What is your favorite Old Testament story? Which do you find most distasteful and confusing? Why?
Lord Jesus, meet me in this journey through the Old Testament. Open my eyes to see you in unexpected places. And through all the muck and mess, lead me through this journey to the Abba’s arms.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.