Our regular readers know that we left Kentucky last Friday and drove to Florida. Yes, the state being threatened by hurricane Dorian.
Some thought we were crazy, but believe me, we made an informed decision. We’ve lived here. We know about the destructive nature of a powerful storm. We’re aware of the “cone of uncertainty.” We also know the difference between media hype and accurate reporting. The storm seemed to be tracking in a direction that was opposite from where we would be. Yet, at any point, we were prepared to turn around and drive to a safe place.
It’s foolish to ignore serious warnings that can imperil one’s life. Too many have done it, to their own destruction. Some have died while having “hurricane parties” and laughing at orders to evacuate.
In a similar way, the Bible often warns us regarding dangers to our spiritual welfare. Paul’s epistles are filled with exhortations to be aware of sins that can easily ensnare us. He also warns against pride and a false sense of security that makes us immune to the snares and schemes of Satan. In 1 Corinthians 10:12 he issues this simple and succinct warning:
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
In the previous verses, Paul reminds them of a 40 year period in Israel’s history during the wilderness warnings. God’s people doubted. Disobeyed. And dared to blatantly and brazenly rebel against Jehovah. They complained. Turned to idol worship. And committed sexual sins.
Paul uses the past to illustrate that God’s people can fall. They did. Even when the could visually see His Divine guidance with a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.
The point of the passage is simple. Learn from their mistakes. Don’t be like them. Keep your guard up. Be aware of your weaknesses. Know that apostasy is possible.
Ironically, we read this text today only in the context of the problems in the Corinthian church. But it’s a warning for all time. By implication and application, it was written to us.
(1) They lusted after evil things. What about you and I? Do we desire spiritual things? Or do we crave the forbidden fruit of the world?
2. They were idolaters. Of course, there’s no idol worship in America and civilized nations. Right? Anything that takes the place of God becomes our idol. What about our jobs? Position? Success? Money? Material possessions? Pleasure? Or sports?
3. They engaged in pagan revelry. Our culture hasn’t changed much since ancient times. So much of the amusement and entertainment of the world is filled with godless festivities. Debauchery. And dissipation. Mardi Gras and similar celebrations are filled with lewdness, lasciviousness, and licentiousness.
4. They were sexually immoral. It seems to be sexually pure today is almost the exception rather than the norm. How many preachers, elders, and deacons have succumbed to this temptation, when they never imagined in their wildest dreams they would fall prey to this sin?
5. They tested God over and over again. Too often even Christian push the boundaries, question God, and quibble with the Bible’s admonitions.
6. They grumbled against God and His leaders. Murmuring and complaining have almost become a national part-time. Don’t be a grumbler and a griper.
The Message, a popular paraphrase of Scripture, renders this passage with this serious and sober exhortation: “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.”
Don’t justify your actions by saying things like “A drink or two at home won’t hurt.” Or “Oh, it’s nothing but a friendly flirtation.” Or “It’s just a quick peak.” Or “It’s only a little harmless fun.”
Hear the warning. Take heed to the advice. Be careful. And circumspect. You, too, could fall and fail.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman