Many people want to approach the Bible as just a story. It is true that there is much narrative in scripture, historical accounts and one can say that the entirety of the Bible is the story of God dealing with His creation. History is really His Story.
As a parent when I read biblical narratives to my kids as they were growing up, especially Old Testament accounts, there was a temptation present to gloss over it. It is far too easy to accumulate knowledge and then to forget that there is a lesson to be learned and warning that has been given in some cases.
So we shouldn’t pick up these accounts and treat them the same as we would say Mother Goose or Grimm Fairy Tales. These stories are true accounts of a real God interacting with His people throughout history. Paul writes to the church at Corinth who had forgotten that evidenced by individual behavior of some of the members and what the Corinthian church overlooked.
“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,” (1 Corinthians 10:6-13, ESV).
Simply put, don’t ignore your history. Look at mistakes made and don’t repeat them! If you think you are above such things, Paul warns, “let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall,” (1 Corinthians 10:12, ESV).
We aren’t above this. We are fallen human beings. I love the promise that comes in verse 13. “There is no temptation that has overtaken you that is not common to man.”
If you think you are struggling with something that is completely unique… that no one can relate to… guess what? You’re not alone. But there’s more as Paul reminds us of God’s faithfulness. He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. Even if we don’t think we can endure it, God provides a way of escape!
We’ve been warned, but also encouraged with a reminder of God’s faithfulness as well. Let’s learn from past mistakes, guard our hearts lest we fall, and walk in God’s grace, protection and peace.