Warning from Israel’s Past

Open Your Bible

1 Corinthians 10:1-33, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Exodus 13:17-22, Hebrews 3:7-19

“I just don’t want you to make the same mistake I did!”

How many times have you said that sentence? Or heard it said to you by a trusted friend or advisor? Most of the time, our natural inclination is to try to stop people we love from making mistakes—especially when we feel like we can prevent them. 

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul was employing a similar strategy to one you might have used on those you love before. But instead of telling the Corinthians to not make the mistakes he made (and trust me, Paul made plenty of mistakes. Remember, he actively persecuted followers of Jesus (Acts 8:1–3)), he was reminding them of the mistakes that the Israelites made throughout their history. Many of the people who made up the church in Corinth were Gentiles, meaning that they weren’t as familiar with the Israelites’ history as the Jewish people were. 

Paul used this opportunity to explain to the Corinthians what went wrong in the Israelites’ covenant with God in the Old Testament and how the Corinthians can avoid making the same mistakes they did. One of the most important warnings Paul gave the Corinthians in this chapter was against idolatry. Time and time again, the Israelites fell into the trap of worshiping things other than the Lord. Whether it was worshiping the golden calf while Moses was speaking with the Lord on Mount Sinai as recorded in Exodus or worshiping false gods during the time of the judges, the Israelites often turned their backs on God in favor of other, lesser things—things that could never satisfy them the way that faith in God did.

As Paul was writing to the Corinthians, it is clear they were in danger of walking that same path. The Corinthians were tempted to fall into sexual immorality, into idolatry, into living their days full of grumbling and complaining. But Paul reminded the Corinthians of what happened to the Israelites when they gave into these temptations: they were forced to wander in the wilderness instead of entering into the promised land (1Corinthians 10:5). 

Paul didn’t just tell the Corinthians to avoid idolatry or to do their best to not let it affect them; he told them to flee from idolatry. To run as fast as they could in the other direction. Running in the opposite direction of idolatry looks like surrendering their temptation to the Lord, doing everything “for the glory of God” (v.31). We, too, as modern-day believers, should learn from the Israelites. We have seen the consequences of turning away from God in their lives, and we should do everything we can to avoid making the same mistakes. Because of our human nature, we will fail sometimes. But when we entrust everything, truly everything, to the glory of God, we can’t really lose.

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37 thoughts on "Warning from Israel’s Past"

  1. Brooke Brumagin says:

    Amen ❤️

  2. Catherine McVey says:

    ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Teresa Donley says:

    Whenever I’m away from SRT for a while, and make my way back, I am reminded of the sense of community among you ladies, and of how your comments always add so much to my study time. You teach me and uplift me, and I cherish you and your wisdom. I don’t remember how God brought me to SRT several years ago, but I thank Him for pointing me in the right direction.

    1. Rhonda J. says:

      We have missed you AND YOUR wisdom and comments! You have remained in my prayers while you were away!

    2. Cee Gee says:

      You are part of that blessing, sweet sister! So glad you popped back in! Continued prayers! ❤

    3. Tina says:

      Teresa, it’s been a while. Hope you are well and thst life is being kind to you..
      Always a blessing to read your words and to see you here..
      Bless you sister..♥️

  4. Traci Gendron says:

    “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” Oh my stubborn heart, especially when I was younger. I wanted to break those rules. To run free and wild. It was exciting to me. To think I wasn’t being held down like those following the rules. BUT what heartache it brought into my life. If I would have only listened more at church, to my mom, to the ones drawing the line they would not cross over. Thankfully God finally got my attention. But now, am I being the example to others?? Showing them a good christian lifestyle? Especially in a world that has crossed the line and then some. I pray I remember all the heartache that sin caused me. To remember God’s glorius word. To be strong in my walk with God.

    1. Tina says:

      Praying with you dear Traci that God’s glorious Word fills my heart and I remember them, and I am strong in them as I live for Him and His Glory..
      Hope you are well my love..♥️

  5. Marie Baxter says:

    Idolatry can be very subtle these days and things I do may not seem like idolatry. My time is precious and I prefer to use my time anyway I want. I struggle with giving God my time first- reading, praying…
    The more time I spend away from reading and praying the more I am apart from him. So yeah it’s pretty easy for some of us to forget God and get wrapped up in our own worlds.

    1. Debbie Swope says:

      ❤️

  6. Rhonda J. says:

    I love to repeat the phrase “stiff-necked Israelites” in my groups and such..because we do are stubborn and think we know better, we know best, we know everything. Then we fall, and cry for God’s help! It is imperative for us to study the Old Testament and know how to apply it. To know the stories of old, to pass them down, to let our kids know.
    When I was growing up the stories of the Bible were common knowledge, and today many, many kids will never know them sadly. How we they know when they are crossing boundaries. How will they know God’s commandments. The lines are so blurred on the simple, blattan things such as who is a boy and who is a girl. And they can’t even look to teachers and their school to make it make sense. They see the blurred lines in their families. I know my mom thought it was bad then, she would really be dismayed now…saying “Come, Jesus, Come!” She is in heaven now….happy as can be.
    Lord, Help me to stand strong against temptation, for the devil prowls non-stop, looking to kill and destroy, But God, you give me nothing I can’t get out of in your strength. I need you every day, in the midst of a world that praises idols. Keep my faith in you Lord, no matter what arises today, what evil comes in my path, I am surrounded by the angels and the warriors of faith. You know my weaknesses, but in you Lord, I am strong. Help me to kill the Giants that come against me. Help me to be a warrior of faith. A Danelle in the lions’s den, a Joseph in the pit, a Moses at the Red Sea, a faithful follower in the fire. Lord you are my bread, my daily bread, and I want my cup to be overflowing with You. Give me strength, give me wisdom. Give me peace, give me joy. Discipleship is not meant to be easy, but it does hold a hope for a future.

    “He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
    —1 Peter 1:3-4
    “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
    —Zephaniah 3:17

    “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
    —Romans 12:12

    1. Cee Gee says:

    2. Tina says:

      ♥️♥️

  7. Allison Bentley says:

    So grateful for all my time with you She’s in the Old Testament- just makes this letter all the more convicting. I don’t know about you guys but I have to be reminded daily of my shortcomings and Gods greatness! V5 hit hard this morning like a one two punch “Nevertheless God was not pleased with most of them, since they were struck down in the wilderness” ouch. However harsh that statement may be it hurts even more because I know this to be true (especially in my daily walk) but as our dear Tina reminds us BUT GOD v13 “but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it” is so merciful. We have a choice be afraid like the Israelites or trust God like Caleb? Happy Friday She’s!!! Praying we all glorify God today and imitate Christ in our daily walk! ☮️❤️

    1. Rhonda J. says:

      Yes, Amen!

  8. Cheryl Blow says:

    Do all to the glory of God, Be imitators of me

  9. Tami says:

    I listened to a sermon by Larry Brey on Elevation yesterday. He posed the question: “What portrait of Jesus are you painting for this around you? Wow! That stopped me bc it’s exactly what we have been talking about here. I think mine would sometimes look like a Picasso! What is that?? He also said that “our portrait May be the only glimpse of Jesus that others get.” Again ouch! This reminds me that even in the day to day, shopping, in the car, at the gym, at work, my witness goes before me. Lord please help me to be the aroma of Christ today and forgive me when I fail. Amen! Have a blessed weekend ladies xo

    1. Tina says:

      OMG. that question from the sermon you listened to.. what would my portrait of Jesus look like… ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
      Working on that today!

      Thank you, Tami.
      ♥️

  10. Kristin T says:

    My daughter is dealing with a situation, that I have already been through in my past. I can see exactly what she needs to do, but she just can’t see it. It is so hard. I wonder if that is how God feels looks at us when we make mistakes…and then we keep making mistakes. Frustration, desperation, pain…
    I pray that in my own life I remember the mistakes of our ancestors past. I also pray I always remember Gods grace.

    1. Tina says:

      Amen.

      Praying some of your words from your experience will be heard, Kristin..♥️

  11. Cee Gee says:

    From Vines Expository Bible:
    “We have so minimized sin and laughed at the reality of sin that a lot of people do not understand that the Bible says, “At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper” (Prov. 23:32).

    God does not have two sets of rules. God says that sin is serious in the lives of non-believers and believers alike. The same penalties and the same results of sin in a lost person’s life are true for a child of God.”

    My pondering:
    There’s a lot of truth in that statement! We may think it’s OK to tell that ‘little white lie’ or do something (drink, smoke, flirt..) ‘just this once – who’s gonna know or who’s gonna get hurt?-, etc. Bottom line – WE get hurt AND we hurt other people by consequence and by damaging our witness.

    Ephesians 5:1 NLT
    Living in the Light

    Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

    SEARCHING, thank you for sharing about your experience with the roundabout path! ❤ Amen to your prayer.

    Have a blessed weekend, SHES!

    1. Tina says:

      ♥️

  12. Erica Chiarelli says:

    I was thinking of this the other day, 1 Cor. 11.1…can I say to my kids “imitate me as I imitate Christ”? It was convicting! But I pray that I give all I have and am for the glory of God!!! ,

  13. Aimee D-R says:

    Amen

  14. Searching says:

    Paul is straight out plain spoken in these passages, trying to draw their attention to the inevitable consequences of turning from God – don’t do it. Sadly, for most of my life I was stubborn and hard headed enough to have to learn by making my own mistakes :/ rather than listen and learn from others trying to spare me from some of the classes in the school of hard knocks. If you saw my reply to MERCY yesterday, I mentioned repeatedly circling roundabouts on my path … some lessons had to be learned over and over. Thankfully, I’ve matured some over the years and that stubbornness is occasional rather than constant.
    Lord, may I continue to listen to, learn from, study Your word and seek Your wisdom.

    In the devo, Ellen points out that “the Israelites often turned their backs on God in favor of other, lesser things”.
    Sisters, anything other than God is lesser.

    SHARON JERSEY GIRL – continuing to pray for your husband, med team and you.

    1. Rhonda J. says:

      I am right there with you, stubborn or a slowing learning, making those same mistakes on repeat…thank God, he finally, finally got through to me!

    2. Tina says:

      Searching,Love you, dear sister.♥️

  15. Carol M says:

    Thankful for a God who plans, provides, pursues, protects and walks with us(sorry, ran out of ps)!! Participates!! Absolutely, He does!!
    Love you ladies so much… praying for each of you as we follow His leading together… ♥️

    1. Tina says:

      Perfect!♥️

  16. Lisa Keller says:

    Lord thank You for the one bread for us all! Help us see and flee any shadow of idolatry ..

  17. Kelly (NEO) says:

    From today’s HRT
    “An unbelieving heart will lead us away from the living God…we need to help one another to not be herded by the deceitfulness of sin, the kind of sin we can be lured into by arrogance.
    “This is the aim of [Paul’s] dire warnings—not simply so that we avoid the sins of our forefathers, but so that we would participate in the mission of glorifying God and calling others to him.”
    .
    I believe we “help one another to not be herded by the deceitfulness of sin” in our interaction here, Shes. May the Lord find us faithful.

    1. Laura Dianne says:

      I remember so clearly thinking my mom didn’t know what she was talking about when I was young. She would warn me against doing something, or advise me to go a different way, and I just thought she was out of touch and didn’t know what it was like to be young. As I got older, I realized that my mom was almost ALWAYS right! Ugh. So much wisdom wasted. I regret the times I didn’t listen to her. Paul is trying to help these baby Christians avoid the mistakes and sins of their forefathers. I’m sure many of them thought the same thing that I did when I was young…Paul doesn’t know what he is talking about. I won’t make the same mistakes as those people. I’m stronger than that. I won’t get sucked into (name the sin). How proud our hearts are when it comes to rebellion. We really don’t like to be told what to do. Some more than others (me included). From HRT: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” so that many might be saved. (vv.31–33) This is the aim of his dire warnings—not simply so that we avoid the sins of our forefathers, but so that we would participate in the mission of glorifying God and calling others to him.

      Yes! Glorifying God and calling others to Him! We have a higher calling than just keeping ourselves out of trouble. Others are watching us. Others are modeling our behavior. I want to make sure I don’t just look good on the outside but on the inside too!

      1. Rhonda J. says:

        Indeed. And I think back all the time to the wisdom of my mother as well. I thought she was crazy, then realized later how spot on she was! She called it back then how they were grooming us to be accepting of all the sin today. That is why it’s so important to not stand by lazily as Christians and say that it’s okay to live as you presume is right. It damages more than just them! It is everyone. We need to say sin is not right.

    2. Tami says:

      Laura I can relate to the stubbornness and for not wanting to listen to my mom. She is no longer here and boy do I wish she were! I couldn’t avoided so much pain in my adolescence had a been a better listener. And now God has give me a daughter who is just as stubborn as I was! Pray for me!

  18. Tricia C says:

    Mercy, thank you for sharing from The Pilgrim’s Progress yesterday. I read it when I was younger. Such a good book.
    Have a wonderful weekend, ladies! Keeping you all and your requests in prayer.

    1. Tina says:

      I had my copy of Pilgrims Progress by my bed.. I think I will pick it up again..♥️