“These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.
Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.”1 Corinthians 10:6-14
A few years ago, I had lunch with a most interesting man who commented that “man hasn’t created a new god in the last hundred years.” He comes from a mix of religious traditions which include hundreds of thousands – even millions of gods. Still, there is a ring of truth to what he said – there are no new gods, but there are plenty of false idols and ways to rebel against God.
In the passage above, Paul lists several of the failures of the first generation of Israelites after they were delivered from Egypt – sexual immorality, dissatisfaction, and complaints against God. If we think that such failure isn’t possible for us, Paul reminds us that “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: 12 The Message).
Here are two final thoughts from verse thirteen:
- God is aware of our temptations and will not allow more than we can handle when we rely on Him.
- God provides a way of escape and the power to endure.”
We can learn from the failures of others. We can learn from our own failures, but the best option is simply to “flee.”