Reading for Friday, Sept 7: 1 Cor 10
Paul begins with a reference back to the OT events of the Exodus when God liberated His people, led them through the wilderness in a cloud, and graciously provided manna, water, and quail. The rabbinic tradition developed over time that the rock of water (Exodus 17 and Numbers 20) actually followed Israel through the wilderness. Paul draws this teaching into the NT, saying that Jesus was the “spiritual Rock” (v4) from which Israel was drinking. Nevertheless, in spite of this miracle, Israel succumbed to the temptations of idolatry. “Do not be idolaters, as some of them were,” (v7). These stories of Israel’s sexual immorality (v8), testing God (v9), and grumbling (v10) are instructive for us as we approach the same God through Christ. Amid these temptations, we remember, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,” (v13).
As it pertains to food sacrificed to idols, Paul says although it is permissible, it may not necessarily be beneficial. Paul advocates consideration for weaker members in the faith when making such decisions. Although some today will use this as an excuse to bicker and gripe about anything they don’t like in church, the teaching is one of hospitality toward those who are legitimately weaker. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved,” (v31-33)