Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 27
I CORINTHIANS 9:19 – 10:17
Let’s go back to I Corinthians Chapter 10, and the whole idea here is that Paul is addressing these carnal believers at Corinth. And he’s using everything at his disposal to teach them and to bring them to an understanding of his Gospel that was given him by the ascended, risen from the grave, Lord of glory: and how that Christ died for the sins of the world, that His blood was shed, and that He rose from the dead. And of course He has to constantly bring in all their behavioral problems, and they had them. They were constantly tempted to go back into idolatry, and immoral practices, plus all these other hang-ups that he has been addressing. So, as we saw in our last lesson, the Apostle Paul goes back to Israel’s experience in the wilderness, and how that when they cried for water, Moses at God’s instruction, struck the Rock, and out of the Rock came water, and Paul now makes it’s plain in Chapter 10 that that Rock was Christ.
Now you want to remember that all through Scripture from the beginning of the Old Testament to the end of the New Testament, whenever there is a typical reference to “The Rock,”that Rock is always Christ, and none other. So whether it’s back in Exodus when the Rock is struck or in the Book of Numbers when Moses was supposed to have spoken to the Rock, but he struck it again instead, that Rock is still Christ. You come on up to the Book of Daniel in Chapter 2 when Daniel has the vision of that Rock cut out with hands, and it strikes the image on it’s feet, that’s the 2nd coming of Christ pictured as a smiting stone. Then, when you get to Matthew, of course, Peter made that tremendous profession of faith in Chapter 16.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ And Jesus answered and said unto him, `Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, (a stone) and upon this rock (speaking of Himself, Christ) I will build my church; and the gates of hell, shall not prevail against it.'”
So remember throughout all Scripture, the Rock is always Christ in typical language. Now let’s come on down to verse 5 in I Corinthians 10, and then we’ll have to go back to the Book of Exodus again. Remember these Israelites that had come out of Egypt (and remember they all came through the Passover experience, and the Red Sea experience) are all gathered around Mt. Sinai, and Moses had gone up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments and what took place below?
I Corinthians 10:5
“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” Now in verse 6 we have a verse almost like the one we looked at in Romans’ last lesson.
I Corinthians 10:6,7
“Now these things (that happened to Israel) were our examples, (that we can learn from, it is like an object lesson) to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, `The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.'”
Well let’s go back Exodus and look at that account again, and we’ll find that in Chapter 32. And this is just as applicable for us today as it was for Corinth in Paul’s day, and just as applicable as when it happened back there in Exodus. Remember, I teach that we’re not under Law, but rather under Grace. But the God of the Old Testament, the God of the Mosaic Law is the same God that we deal with today, and He has not changed! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Now this is what we must understand. The things that God hated way back in Genesis, He still hates today. The things that God admonished Israel not to do for their own good, he admonishes us today not to do for our own good. God hasn’t changed, and the circumstances of the world haven’t changed. In other words, the things that damaged the health of an individual back in Israel’s early days are no different than they are today. Now let’s look at the lesson, and we find that Moses had been up in the mountain now for almost 40 days dealing with Jehovah God. God has already written with His finger on the table of stones, the Ten Commandments. Joshua has joined Moses, and they are on the way down the mountain.
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, `Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; (they were used to that in Egypt) for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot (know) not what is become of him.’ And Aaron said unto them, `Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, (the idea of men wearing rings in their ears is not new) and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.’ And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, (he worked at, he must have been a craftsman of some sort.) after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, `These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.'”
Now we know that was a lie. That golden calf had nothing to do with bringing them through the Red Sea. Now in verse 5 we see Aaron building them an altar. You know I can never get over this man Aaron. He didn’t even give them any argument, and we know that he should have preached them a sermon, but he just did whatever they wanted him to do. It looks to me like Aaron is part and parcel to this whole act. I hope I don’t have Aaron confront me in eternity someday and say, “Hey what was the big idea that day down there in Oklahoma running me up one side and down the other.” But nevertheless I can’t figure the man out how he went right along with all this and actually helped them build an altar in verse 5.
“And when Aaron saw it, (the calf) he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, `Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.'”
Now think about that. Here he was mixing the worship of this idol and calling it a feast day of Jehovah. Now we think that’s terrible don’t we? And it is, but you know what? They’re doing the same thing today. I learned years ago that you can have some ultra-liberal preacher or theologian, and he can talk about resurrection, but he doesn’t mean what we mean. He’s talking about something totally different, and so much of the terminology of New Testament Christianity, they can use the same words, but it’s not the same definition. And so what do they do? They use Christian language, they refer to being led by the Holy Spirit, and to me it’s almost blasphemy, but they do it. Now that’s exactly what Aaron is doing, he’s taking the worship of this golden calf, pagan to the core, and then he says, “Tomorrow we’ll call it a feast day of the LORD.” Now verse 6. Now here is where the Apostle Paul is quoting from.
“And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”
Here they’ve had the proof of the Almighty God in fire on the mountain, the pillar of fire at night as they came out of Egypt, that pillar of a cloud during the day to give them shade from the sun, water from the Rock, and yet they can go right down into the depths of idolatry, and worship a stupid golden calf. A dead thing with no life – but again it was an emotional thing. It appealed to their emotion, do you see what they did? With that calf in the center of the camp, they sat down to eat, and drink, and rose up to play, it was the practice of the satisfaction of the flesh. In verse 7, God has to move Moses out of the mountain experience a little bit to see about the children of Israel.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, `Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:'”
Someone else didn’t come in and corrupt them, they did it of their own volition. They asked for it. You know, so often even in our own present time, people who are guilty of things that are anti-scriptural will try to take the whole idea, “Well I couldn’t help it, I’m a victim of circumstance.” No they aren’t. They are people of choice, and they make choices, and you can’t get away from that. It was the same way here. These children of Israel were a people of choice, they didn’t have to have that stupid calf. God was going to take care of them. Now we’re not going to read all these verses so come on over to verse 17 and we’ll begin again.
“And when Joshua heard the noise of the people (remember there were millions of them) as they shouted, he said unto Moses, `There is a noise of war in camp. (Joshua thought the people were being attacked, and were screaming and yelling, running for their lives, but Moses said ) … It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.’ And it came to pass as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing and Moses’s anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. And Moses said unto Aaron, `What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?'”
In other words I imagine Moses thought, “these people must have literally threatened Aaron with his life. Either you build us a god or we’ll kill you.” The Book doesn’t say that but, Moses is implying that the people put pressure on Aaron to bring all this about. And again I can’t understand Aaron. Look at his answer. Remember in the previous verses it says he took a graving tool and the gold and made the golden calf, but look what he says.
“And Aaron said, `Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, `Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot (know) not what is become of him.’ And I said unto them, `Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: (this next statement is shocking) then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.'”
Now if it would have happened that way then I could see where Israel thought there was something supernatural going on, but that wasn’t the way it was. He melted the gold down and crafted it with a graving tool, and made it, but he tells Moses this story. It’s unreal isn’t it? Now you know often people will look at the Scripture, and this story, and think, “Why does God see fit to put something so ridiculous in His Word.” I’ll tell you why. To show us the bare human nature. All of these things that we think are so awful in the Old Testament, the instances of adultery, and drunkenness, and all the horrible things that make up human experiences. Why? To show us what man is really made of. Because whether it was 4000 years ago, or 10 years ago or today, man has not changed one iota, nor has God.
Now let’s look at verse 25. And remember it wasn’t just a casual worshiping with native folk dancing and so forth, but how were these people dancing? Naked! Immoral! So what had they done? They had taken that golden calf worship, and put it down on the same level of all other idolaters, and I’ve taught that as long as I’ve been teaching. Because when you go into abject pagan idolatry or mythology you always have rank immorality. And the reason for that is it’s satanically controlled.
“And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) Well anyway you know what happened there.
“And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.”
We know from Scripture that there were 23,000 put to death through the plague because of this very event. Now coming back to I Corinthians again, see how Paul uses this not only to shake the Corinthians up and bring them out of their temptations to go back into these things, but for us as well. We’re no different than they were. We’re not a bit different than the Corinthian believers, and unless we come away from a babe in Christ’s situation, and begin to mature through Bible study, we’re not going to be any different.
I Corinthians 10:8
“Neither let us commit fornication, (or sexual immorality) as some of them committed, (and remember it was part of that worship of the golden calf) and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Remember these Corinthians knew all about that kind of worship, and it was a real temptation to some of them; they lived in the very midst of it, they bumped up against these immoral priestesses everyday. And it was a constant warning to flee from those things. See? Now verse 9.
I Corinthians 10:9
“Neither let us tempt (test) Christ, as some of them also tempted, (tested) and were destroyed of serpents.”
Do you remember the setting? As a result of Israel’s sin, God sent poison serpents out amongst the camp, and the little rascals would bite the Israelites, and it would kill those who were bitten. And that got their attention real fast. So now they had to run to Moses and say, “Do something about this.” Then Moses has to go to God for instruction. And what does God say? You put up a brazen serpent up on a pole, and tell the children of Israel when they get bitten by one of these snakes they can look at the brazen serpent and be healed. And remember brass always speaks of judgment in The Bible. Well that of course was another foreview of the work of Christ, when He took our sins on whom God’s judgment fell then of course we are healed of our sin problem in what we call forgiveness, and Salvation, and justification, and all the rest. Now verse 10:
I Corinthians 10:10
“Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.”
And again that’s a reference of their wilderness experience. They were constantly getting into trouble. Now verse 11, and here we have a repetition. And when you see repetition remember it’s there for a distinct purpose.
I Corinthians 10:11
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. We’re suppose to learn from their mistakes. Now then verse 12. Here is a verse that I think is so applicable for every one of us.
I Corinthians 10:12
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
Everyone of us are candidates for falling as Israel did. None of us can get puffed up, and say, “Well that would never happen to me.” Oh yes it can. Let me show you another verse, and this one is found in Galatians Chapter 6 as Paul is writing to those churches up there in Asia Minor in the area that was called Galatia. And if this isn’t so appropriate for us today.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, (especially the leaders of the Church) restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, (not in the spirit of arrogance and pride) considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
So it could happen to anyone, and we have to be on guard constantly. Let’s come back to I Corinthians Chapter 10 again, and look at verse 13. What a promise we find here.
I Corinthians 10:13
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: (we’re not the only ones that are going to experience this. Everybody does by virtue of our living in this world, and even though we’re not faithful Who is?) but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (or tested) above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
I was reading a Greek author, and his definition in the Greek here `a way to escape‘ was really the picture of an army entrapped in a canyon of sort. And when it looked like there was no possible way to escape the commander finds another little canyon off to the side, that he can let his army escape into. And that’s the picture here. We can find ourselves seemingly entrapped in a temptation, and we think, “Oh no, what am I going to do, there is no escape.” But there is, and God will reveal it to us at the appropriate time. When we start the next lesson we’re going to show what the temptations are that are common to every man, woman, boy and girl living on this old planet earth. They’re the same for every individual, and of course The Lord Jesus Himself faced them all. He knows because He has been there.