1 Corinthians 10:1-10 NKJV
10 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 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.
The Corinthians assumed that idolatry, sexual immorality, tempting Christ to prove His word, and complaining about His apostle were compatible with life in Christ. Paul uses Israel as an example of how dangerous this attitude is.
God delivered Israel from Egypt. He baptized them in the Red Sea, drowning their enemies and setting them apart as His people. He fed them with manna in the desert for forty years. He gave them water to drink from a rock. He also fed them spiritually with these things. God intended Israel to receive these blessings as signs that He would bring them into the land of Canaan just as He had promised them. Christ was the spiritual rock that went along with them on the journey to feed and water them. Although all of them were baptized into Moses, ate the same spiritual food, and drank the same spiritual drink, God was displeased with most of them. He was angry with them because they lusted. They desired things which God hadn’t given them, especially the creature comforts of Egypt. Many became idolaters by worshiping the golden calf as if it were the Lord. Many committed sexual immorality with Moabite women. Many tempted Christ by doubting His promise to give them the Promised Land, and many complained against God’s servant, Moses. All but two of that generation—Joshua and Caleb—died in the wilderness and failed to obtain God’s promise.
The same spiritual rock that followed them followed the Corinthians and follows all Christians. Christ baptizes us into His death and resurrection. He gives us the Holy Spirit as streams of living water and Himself as the Bread from heaven, which we spiritually eat by faith. We must be careful to use these gifts in faith so that we do not become discontent with the spiritual food and drink Christ gives us. We strengthen ourselves by them so that we do not fall to the discontentment that leads to idolatry, sexual immorality, tempting Christ, and complaining, but live as those who are His people.
Let us pray: Feed and water us, O Lord, with Your Word, so that, sustained in our spirit by Your gospel, we may avoid sinning and be content with all that you give us. Amen.