Learn From History

1 Corinthians 10:1
These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave
evil things as they did (v.6).

According to federal education officials, US students
are less proficient in their nation’s history than in
any other subject. The test revealed that most
fourth-graders were unable to say why well-known
president Abraham Lincoln was an important figure, and
few high school seniors were able to identify China as
the North Korean ally that fought US troops in the Korean
War. The failure of a people to know their history and to
learn from it can position them to repeat past mistakes.

That’s what Paul communicated to the Corinthians when
he encouraged them to learn from the example of ancient
Israel. Having been set free from the slavery of sin and
viewing themselves as privileged, the Corinthians assumed
God would not discipline them for consorting with idols.
To bring them back to reality, Paul cited the wilderness
generation of Israel. Though Israel experienced supernatural
deliverance, divine provisions, and the presence of God,
He severely disciplined them for violating their covenant
obligations—one of which was to serve Him exclusively
(Exodus 20:2). Like Israel, the Corinthians supposed
their spiritual standing before God—and corresponding
freedom—gave them license to participate in pagan feasts.
But they were wrong! Israel’s historic fall was a direct
warning to the Corinthians.

Like ancient Israel and the Corinthians, we’ve been
set free from the slavery of our past and have been
set on a journey toward the Promised Land. As we walk exclusively with our
heavenly Father, let’s be careful to learn from the examples of the past and be
responsible with our Christian freedom, refusing to crave the pleasures of our
old lives, worship things, be sexually immoral, grumble against the plan and
purpose of God, and speak rebelliously against His appointed leaders
(1 Corinthians 1:6).

—Marvin Williams

Read Exodus 32:6, Exodus 32:17 and Numbers 11:4, Numbers 11:31, to see Israel’s
penchant for insatiable cravings and idolatry, and God’s response to
His people’s behavior.

What warning should you recall when you’re tempted to participate
in idolatry, sexual immorality, and grumbling against God? How have
you been set free?



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