The former New York Yankees catcher, Yogi Berra once said: “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.”
This guy is not a theologian but he said something profoundly true about Christian life.
Apostle Paul was writing this to the Corinthian Church – re-visiting the history of Israel – it has a parallel to his present day church as well as ours today.
The great redemptive act of the Sovereign Lord in the Old Testament was the crossing of the Red Sea.
Paul drew a parallel between crossing of Red Sea and Christian baptism.
People of Israel were under the old covenant – the New Covenant was established through Lord Jesus Christ.
We know that the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years – received many spiritual blessings – ‘ALL’ were under the cloud and passed through Red Sea.
During the Passover night they were all redeemed by the blood of the lamb – All came out of the Egyptian bondage – Many were unwilling to accept such freedom and succumbed to temptations on the road and perished in the desert.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.
Paul was admonishing the Christians at Corinth for craving after evil things and warning them to learn lessons from the past.
Temptation is not sin – To remain and yielding to it becomes sin.
Apostle Paul was summarizing 4 incidents from the 40 years of wilderness wanderings that resulted into ultimate death of most of the Israelis in the desert.
First, he focuses on idolatry which leads to drunken orgies and revelry in the camp – many losing their lives as a result of their rebellion.
Today’s Christian idolatry is not giving the rightful place to God in our lives – replacing God with something in life becomes an idol – It could be anything in our life.
Secondly, Apostle Paul draws their attention to sexual immorality resulting into the death of 23000 people as recorded in Numbers 21.
He found sexual immorality in the church at Corinth and warning them of terrible consequences.
Thirdly, Paul reflects upon the arrogance of Israelites who rebelled and tested the Lord and were killed by snake bites.
Apostle Paul was issuing severe warning against such behavior in the Church.
With our arrogance and attitude we too test our Lord and grieve the Holy Spirit.
Fourthly, God’s people grumbled in their desert wanderings and were killed by destroying angel.
A Christian who is never content in his/her life end up dissatisfied with what they have.
When we are ungrateful for the blessings received we are questioning God’s goodness and HIS mercy – may lose HIS blessings and also HIS protection.
In the past we have witnessed individuals like Jimmy Swagger or Ted Haggard in the ministry falling into disgrace and shame for yielding to momentary temptations.
In Verse 12 Paul warns the Christian to be very careful and beware of the evil one.
Apostle Paul talks about three encouraging statements with regard to temptations in our life.
1. Temptation is common to everyone without exception.
No one’s sin is unique and so he/she can be excused – no one can claim that he/she could not escape the temptation.
2. God knows the circumstances of our temptation.
Some people can bear the pressure of trial and temptation better than others.
God knows the breaking point of everyone – HE will allow any temptation not go beyond that breaking point.
Paul promises that God is faithful and He will not allow us to be tested or tempted beyond what we are able to handle.
3. God provides a certain way of escape route in every temptation.
God always provides a particular way of escape that is available in each temptation.
There is no one way of escape out of the temptation.
We have to look for the escape route as God always puts it there for us to see.
But our responsibility is to look for that escape route and follow it.
Temptations do come and disturb us many times – But God always provides the escape route and we have to look for it.
Our initial response to any temptation is to realize that we are being tempted – resist the temptation and then look for the escape route.