If the psalmist’s life and words in Psalm 63 illustrate how to approach time in the desert, the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings illustrate how not to. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul urged the immature church to pay careful attention to the lessons of Israel’s past.
Many problems plague the Corinthian church, partially due to its location in an idolatrous and hedonistic city. Little wonder immorality has crept into the church. Among the issues Paul addresses in his two letters to the church are the factions and in-fighting and the fact that the Lord’s Supper has turned into a selfish, raucous feast.
The people, times, and places may differ, but we see in verses 6-10 that the sins of the Corinthians strongly resemble those of the Israelites. It appears that sin and human nature vary little through the ages. Complacency and a sense of entitlement in the Corinthian community has blossomed into full-blown sin: revelry, sexual immorality, testing, and grumbling against God.
We may stand and peer through the dusty veil of time, shaking our heads and tut-tutting in disbelief at the wickedness of the Israelites and the waywardness of the Corinthians. We may think, I don’t do any of those things; I’m much better than everyone else. If these are our thoughts, Paul speaks his closing words to us: “So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.”
Friends, let us use this Lenten season to come humbly before God, asking for the revelation of our own complacency and sinful attitudes and actions. Then, we can take comfort in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit—our wonderful privilege as believers—as well as rest in God’s faithfulness.
Lord, reveal to me any sins that I have been blind to and accept my confession. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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