1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Paul's letter to the young Christian communities scattered around the Mediterranean world are full of gratitude, encouragement, teaching and counsel. But he was also not averse to calling them to account when he thought that they were behaving badly or placing their trust and hope in something other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, Paul places before his audience the story of their ancestors, whose reliance on being people of the covenant did not protect them from their own choices. These choices led to God's displeasure because they "desired evil." Their idolatry, sexual immorality, willingness to put Jesus to the test and complaining led to devastating consequences.
That is not what Paul expects of the Corinthians as a response to God's love. Rather than trust in themselves or their status as chosen ones, it is God's faithfulness on which their lives are to be built, life which will enable them to endure any test that may come.
In our hour of testing, be thou our guide and stay. Amen.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NRSV)
1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,
2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
3 and all ate the same spiritual food,
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.
5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.
6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.
7 Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play."
8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.
9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.
10 And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
11 These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.
13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.