1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Paul jumps into a new thought, intended to further take the Corinthians to task for their overconfidence. He reminds them of the story of God’s chosen people, how they all followed the pillar of cloud when coming out of Egypt and how they all crossed the same Red Sea. They all ate the same manna and quail in the desert, and they all drank water from the same rock. He’s doing a comparison here between those events and the sacraments of Baptism and Communion. He reminds the church the chosen people were all partakers together, and yet some of them (ok, a lot of them) perished in the desert because of their disobedience.
Most of the time it was idolatry of some form. Sometimes it was complaining or sexual sin. The individual stories he’s referencing can be found in Exodus and Numbers. Regardless, Paul reminds them of the peoples’ past failures in order to guide them away from the same failures in the present.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The same is true of us.
Oh, we’re perhaps not tempted to make a golden calf or something, but we are most certainly tempted with idolatry. We are most certainly tempted to become complainers when we don’t get our way or when God’s work in the world seems weird to us. We are most certainly tempted by sexual sin pretty much everywhere we look.
The people in early Israel were not exempt from temptation to sin and its consequences just because they had gone through the Red Sea and eaten manna.
Neither are we exempt from temptation to sin and its consequences just because we are part of the church. Come to think of it, this passage is another spot that pretty well shreds the idea of eternal security, but I digress…
The good news is we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors, but it’s going to take diligence, attendance to the means of grace, and a whole lot less spiritual pride.