1 Corinthians 10.1-18
Funerals and parties
There are so many nuggets in this chapter! Let’s start with verse 2. What does it mean when it says, “better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting”?
Solomon is saying it’s better to go to a funeral than to a party, because a funeral causes you to examine your life and your relationship with God. But a party often distracts you and keeps you from looking honestly at your life.
This chapter also talks about the sovereignty of God and how the plans and purposes of God cannot be thwarted (vv. 12-14).
Solomon encourages us to do right, even though in a sin-cursed world, bad things happen to the good and the evil. He reassures us that the laws of sowing and reaping determine that it is better to do right. Peter echoed that truth in the New Testament:
“For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3.17).
Worship & thankfulness
Again and again we are instructed in Scripture to bless and praise the name of God and to be thankful. This is a great psalm to include in your personal worship, as well as, corporate worship.
Anger, scoffing and gossip or light?
Verse 9 says that a “scoffer is an abomination to men.”
Proverbs 22.24 says we’re to, “Make no friendship with an angry man …”
Psalm 1.1 says we’re not to walk not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful.
And Proverbs 26.22 tells us that the words of a gossip are like “tasty trifles” that affect our hearts.
Paul warned us:
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Cor. 15.33 NASB).
There are some people we are better off to love from afar. We should pray for them and treat them with kindness, but we shouldn’t develop close relationships with them. It’s far too easy to fall into the same habits of anger, criticism, scoffing, and gossip and to end up reflecting that to a world that’s all too quick to call the church hypocrites (sometimes rightfully so).
Instead our words and our actions should reflect Christ:
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Col. 4.6).
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2.12-15).
God’s promise in trials
If you have never memorized verse 13, I would encourage you to do so. This verse is one of God’s great promises and is filled with hope!
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
When we go through great difficulty, we often feel isolated and alone. But the temptations, tests and trials we undergo are “common to man.” Others have gone through them and have come out the other side and so can we. He will “make a way of escape.” Sometimes the way of escape is out of the trial, but more often it’s walking through the trial, yet being “able to bear it” because of His grace.
And “… God is faithful …” No matter what we are going through God is faithful! He won’t leave us or forsake us, but will walk through it with us. He is also faithful to filter the trial through His hands and not allow it to be more than we can handle without sinning … as long as we keep our eyes on Him and rely on His strength.
But that’s the key; we must keep our eyes on Him and rely on His power. And we must respond obediently. Many of our greatest difficulties arise because when we’re in a test or trial, we respond sinfully and then find ourselves struggling with anger, anxiety, guilt, and depression.
Those emotions are like the warning lights on the dashes our cars telling us something is not right under the hood (in our hearts).
James 1.2-4 says:
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t automatically want to be joyful when I’m in the midst of a test or trial! But this passage tells us we can be joyful if we remember that God is using the trial to mature us and make us more like His Son (Rom. 8.29).
James MacDonald in his book When Life Is Hard explains how God uses tests and trials to grow us and ultimately bless us. I’ve recommended it before, but I want to do so again. I’ve seen many lives impacted by the truths Dr. MacDonald shares in that study. And it’s not just for people who are going through severe trials, it’s for all of us as we face the ups and downs of life and struggle to understand what God is doing!
But there’s also bad news in 1 Corinthians 10.13. Since God has promised no trial will be too much for us to handle in a godly way, if we choose to sin in response (with anger, bitterness, worry, unbiblical divorce …), it’s just that … a choice!
Let’s pray that God will give us His grace as we face the ups and downs and struggles of life (Heb. 4.16).
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