1 Corinthians 10:1-6 I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same supernatural food 4and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did.
It is said that adversity is a blessing, but it is a blessing that most would just as soon avoid. The blessing of adversity, is first, the experience of living by faith, and not by sight, and seeing how God does supply every need. It is seeing all the things that we think we canít live without -- gone in an instant, and in the aftermath seeing that there is only one thing we canít live without, the grace of God in Jesus Christ. And even if we donít live it ourselves, God wants us to know this, and so has provided many examples for us, both in his Word, and also in the people of the church.
Many people say it would be much easier if they had lived in Jesus time, if only they had walked with Jesus, heard him preach, seen the miracles, then they would believe. Many people also say that even if they could have lived in the OT, experienced the Exodus, eaten the bread of heaven that fell from the sky, and drank from the rock, they would believe. But when Jesus died on the cross, Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him, and the disciples fled if fear -- would we have done better? And for all the blessing Israel received in the Exodus, they still rebelled against God.
You see, while we may talk about the enemies without - the world, death and the devil. Often our greatest enemy is ourselves, the evil within. For while it is true that God in Baptism has worked in us a new creation. It is necessary that we daily put to death our old sinful nature, remembering our baptism, and the new life to which we have been called.
What I mean is that from the very beginning, Satan has tempted man to sin, by showing us that the sin is a good thing.GEN 3:6 "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise." Satan said its a good thing, do it -- and we are wise to remember that Satan is the Father of Lies.
You see sin, however we call it, is never a good thing. Sin is always sin, whether it is being on the wrong side of the fence, missing the mark, or open rebellion. Our lesson tells us that sin is desiring evil, and reminds us that those who live this way perish.
At this point, one may wonder whether the grace of God is sufficient. After all, if God really wanted us saved, if God really loved us, he would have given us something so that these things wouldnít lead us to destruction. And he has, for while we are all tempted, we have all been given Godís Word, which is the power to overcome every temptation. We have the promise of God that we will never be tempted beyond our strength, and that with every temptation is a way of escape. God didnít put an end to temptation, because in Christ we have been given the victory, and God wants us to have the opportunity to rejoice in the victory, to see that putting God first was the right thing. So temptation is permitted, so that we can use the grace of God to overcome it, and see the power of God at work in our lives. And it is here, seeing the grace of God at work in our lives, and the spirit guiding us, that we see the wonder of the call of God. For Israel may have passed through the sea, eaten the bread of heaven, and drank from the rock of living waters. And the apostles may have been the first to have received the body and blood of our Lord for the forgiveness of sins. But we still have God with us, not in a pillar of cloud or fire, but in the spirit which makes its temple in our hearts. And we still receive the body and blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
And we have been given Godís Word, so that we can see sin for what it is, not as the fun and profit which the devil claims, but as death, destruction, and rebellion against God. And in Godís word, we see the victory over sin in Jesus Christ, who kept the law perfectly, and died in our stead, and by his death and resurrection gives us love, life, and forgiveness - the peace of God which passes all understanding. We see that though rebellion is still possible, the grace of God is more that sufficient to lift us up, and to enable us to stand firm in faith.