I. Corinthians 10: 6
The force of example, both to encourage and to deter, is familiar and admitted. “Now these things were our examples,” (v. 6.)
This principle is used, in life, in government, in law and in our serves unto the Lord, “These things were for our example, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” This truth is also used in our faith this very day. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6: 7.)
The Bible is full of examples of sin, punishment, repentance, virtue and rewards. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:” (v. 11.)
Israel in the wilderness is an example of warning and also of God’s blessing “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isa. 1: 19, 20.)
There is a warning against murmuring. Murmuring is to be feared, yet it never appears to many of God’s people to be of the nature of sin. Murmuring is against Divine appointment, and is therefore against the Lord himself, Paul said, “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil 4: 11.)
There is a warning against lustfulness. John said “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…and the world passeth away, and the lust there of but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I. Jh. 2: 15.)
Into these it was not surprising that Israel should fall, having only just escaped from Egypt. Now they were surrounded by the carnal acts of a heathen land. Jesus said to his disciples. “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,” (Jh. 15: 19.)
What’s more important and necessary than a caution against defiling and destroying the temple of the Holy Ghost “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I. Cor 3: 17.)
There is a warning against rebellion. Israel again and again rebelled against Moses the servant of God, and against Jehovah himself. Christians need to be reminded that to violate God’s Law, to defy the authority of God’s inspired apostles, to resist the divine message of God’s ministers, is treason, and cannot go unpunished.
There is a warning against unbelief. This was the sin which lay at the root of the others. The ill conduct and the luck of faith in the Lord was disapproved and censured by God Almighty. They tempted there God while in the wilderness “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents” (v. 9.)
Israel in the wilderness is an example of peace and encouragement. The Lord God is truly our hope.
There is Divine encouragement. As Israel was led by the pillar of cloud and of fire, so will all who look up and commit their way unto the Lord, they will experience his directing grace “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew there strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint” (Is. 40: 31.)
There is divine care, bounty and goodness. As Israel ate of the manna from heaven and drank of the streams from the rock, so that, when earth failed, heaven interposed, in like manner will the beneficence of God satisfy the wants of all who in necessity and straits call upon him “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4: 16.)
There is Divine protection. As Israel foes were defeated, and threatening dangers was averted, so shall a way of escape and a door of deliverance be provided for all who trust in a gracious and redeeming God. “And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews” (Ac. 12: 11.)
The arm of flesh will fail, but the arm of the Lord shall prove ready and victorious, the apostle Paul said, “and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom:“ (II. Tim. 4: 18.)
There is a promise of the final possession of the promises of the Lord. God led his people to the land of promise, not immediately, not by a way they knew, not with out difficulties and hardships, yet surly, safely, and victoriously.
Heaven may seem to us, the land which is very far off, yet faith can bring it near and make it ours even now. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2: 6.)
We are raised from the death of sin to salvation. We die with him, and we live with him, we share his sufferings, and we share his joys, we become dead to the world in virtue of his death, we become alive unto him in virtue of his resurrection “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6: 4.)