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HE WHO OVERCOMES SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS,

and I will be his God and he shall be My son

1 Corinthians 10 (part 10) TESTING CHRIST

 

1 Corinthians Chapter 10
Our Journey

(part 10)
 

TESTING CHRIST



We’ve been looking here in our study at behaviors and attitudes that the Apostle warned we need to be aware of. These that God’s people engaged in, Paul writes, “have become examples for us so that we won’t desire what is evil, as they did.” (1Cor 10:6 GW)

We read previously that it was the temptation of sexual immorality that God’s people succumbed to, and therefore after incurred His Judgment. In His mercy, God had saved Israel from bondage in Egypt, and from serving foreign gods; yet many took Him for granted and fell into disobedience, following their own lusts and desires.

This Word is to us, friends; we who have been saved from bondage to sin, and having to follow the passions of our own hearts. May we heed His charge, and strive to “walk worthy” always; not allowing any sexual sin to have dominion over us, lest we suffer the same Judgment.

 

 

And Paul continues his admonition …


nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” - 1Cor 10:9-10 NKJV

 


The Amplified renders verse 9 this way -

“We must not tempt the Lord [that is, test His patience, question His purpose or exploit His goodness], as some of them did—and they were killed by serpents.”
- 1Cor 10:9 AMP
 

How often have we, who have been “saved”, questioned the Lord’s purpose for things that happen in our lives? Have we ever taken His grace for granted, exploited His goodness? Do we blame Him when our lives experience great trials, tribulation and persecution?

In light of much current teaching, I don’t think it can be emphasized too much that it is not to the “unbeliever”, but to those who of us who have been set free from bondage to sin, and baptized into Christ’s death, that the admonition of the Spirit comes by the hand of the Apostle, to learn from the example of our forefathers -

“Neither let us tempt Moshiach, as some of them put Moshiach (Messiah) to the test, and by nechashim (serpents) were being destroyed.” – 1Cor 10:9 Orthodox Jewish Bible

And yes, this says they “put the Messiah to the test.”

We see a couple verses earlier, long before Jesus the Man was born, Paul writes that they “all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” (1Cor 10:4 ESV); “and that TZUR (Rock) was Moshiach” (OJB)

They “tested” the Lord by questioning His purpose, and by their failure to trust Him.

“Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 
 – Num 21:4-5 NKJV

I can hear some of them now, ‘Why are we going this way?’; ‘Is it really necessary to experience this?’; ‘Must we really wait for His promises?’; ‘Is this manna the best He can do?’

The Bible says,
“They willfully put God to the test
By demanding the food they craved.”
- Psalm 78:18  NIV

What do we “crave”? I’ve heard it said, “be careful what you ask God for, He just might give it to you.” And there is Truth in that, as the Israelite’s learned. May it be Truth and Righteousness for which we yearn.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”
– Matt 5:6

Those in the wilderness, although they had seen God’s hand work wonderous things in setting them free, tested Him when they didn’t like the circumstances they were in. All that He had done for them was forgotten when they began to feel uncomfortable and dissatisfied with His provision.

“They quickly forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
14 But craved intensely in the wilderness,
And tempted God in the desert.”

– Psalm 106:13-14 NAS

So, was the Lord’s response to His people, “boys will be boys”, or “I’ve saved them, and they are My chosen ones… and I know that as long as they are in the world they will sin.”?

We see as we continue in Numbers 21 what God’s response was, in this incident that Paul warns us about -

So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” – Num 21:6-9 NKJV

The Lord responded in a way that we might think was harsh. He sent “fiery serpents” among His people, and many died. Only when they repented and cried out for mercy did God hear and instruct Moses. For even in the punishment for their sin, God provided a way of deliverance.
Jesus refers to this incident as a type of His crucifixion and exaltation, by which deliverance would come to all under judgment who would look to Him. Again, we looked at this in our related study on the Eternal Priesthood - http://to-him-who-overcomes.com/entries/1corinthians-10-study/eternal-priesthood-a-study-inspired-by-1cor-10-8--part-2

“Make thee a fiery serpent, set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” – Num 21:8 OJB

To the Pharisee Nicodemus, Jesus equated that event with His own destiny -
“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross],
15 In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:14-15 AMPC

Amen. May we learn from this example of our forefathers in the wilderness, and tell ourselves when we face compromising situations, even as Jesus declared to the devil in His time of testing,

“It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” – Matt 4:7 (Deut 6:16)

 

Looking briefly at that word “tempt” in the ancient languages -

The Greek word translated “tempt” here is ἐκπειράζω (ek-pi-rad'-zo) from Strong's G1598; meaning: to test thoroughly:—tempt.

This comes from another root word, πειράζω (pi-rad'-zo) Strong’s G3985; to test (objectively), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline: translated in the KJV: tempt, try, tempter, prove.

And in the Hebrew, we have the word נָסָה (naw-saw') Strong’s H5254; a primitive root; to test; by implication, to attempt:— prove, tempt, assay, try.


Do our choices and behavior “test” the patience and goodness of God? May we never assume He will forgive us or deliver us from something we engage in that we know is contrary to His will and way. As the Psalmist prayed -

“Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.”

- Psalm 19:13 ESV

Interestingly, other than 1Cor 10:9, and Matt 4:7, the only other usage of ekpeirázō in the New Testament is found in this interaction with a Jewish lawyer and Jesus -

“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested (G1598) Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
- Luke 10:25-29 NKJV

This individual seemed to have an agenda in his questioning of Jesus. “Seeking to justify himself” he “tested” (tempted) Jesus, perhaps looking for an answer that would suit him, allowing him to continue his chosen lifestyle while having “eternal life” to look forward to, with minimal effort or change on his part. Does this sound anything like what is being preached, sought after, and embraced in the churches today?

Are we truly interested in knowing what will please God and how we can serve His purpose; or just finding out the supposed minimal requirement so we can enjoy the pleasures of life while looking forward to heavenly bliss when we die?

It’s been said so often in recent decades that we will not be judged, only rewarded for our faith or belief in Christ, apart from our works (which we’re constantly told cant’ save us), that the Christian Religion has adopted the doctrine, despite the canon of Scripture teaching almost the complete opposite. Sadly, the “fear of the Lord”, who is a “consuming fire”, a “jealous God”, has been lost over the generations, and another god has taken His place in our preaching.
 

May we, who are reading this be among those of whom Malachi prophesied -

"Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.

17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
18 Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him.”
- Mal 3:16-18

 

Another one of the ways we test God, is by complaining, or murmuring against Him. Again, this shows we don’t trust that He really knows what He is doing, even in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances.


Complaining

As the Apostle continues in his admonition to the saints -

“Nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.”
– 1Cor 10:10 NKJV

J.B. Phillips renders vs 9-10 -

“Nor should we dare to exploit the goodness of God as some of them did, and fell victims to poisonous snakes. Nor yet must you curse the lot that God has appointed to you as they did, and met their end at the hand of the angel of death. – 1Cor 10:9-10 Phillips

The brother here equates complaining about our circumstances, or our position in life, with “cursing the lot that God has appointed us.” And again, we see the result of such an attitude.

God sent serpents against those who “put Him to the test”, and in this incident God sent the “angel of death” among His people because they complained. Truly God is love, but He is also a “consuming fire” and He will never tolerate or excuse willful sin. If we are not being taught this in the assembly we attend, then we are not being instructed in the “whole counsel of God.”

We may not always understand what God is doing, or like the circumstances He has allowed us to experience. I pray we would remember that God has a purpose in everything, and He can see that which we cannot with our carnal eyesight. Our place is to trust Him and believe that truly “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)

“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life”
- Phil 2:13-16 NKJV

Can we believe this? Just as the Israelites in the Exodus couldn’t see past their immediate circumstances, even though they had the promise of God before them; we often struggle to view things with an eternal perspective when surrounded, it seems, by injustice and inequality… which leads us into the next portion of our study.

 

To be continued….
Next: Complaining (The rebellion of Korah)

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