Fear destroys. Fear is Satan’s tool. Faith is God’s weapon. Paul would warn us that if we think we are standing firm, we need to be diligent that we do not stumble.
Paul would also remind us to learn from Israel’s history. Look beyond just reading the story of God opening the Red Sea. Imagine standing with those Israelites. Only then, will we be more prepared to heed’s Paul’s warning in facing our life situations.
After Israel witnessed God’s power in the ten plagues, God split the Red Sea enabling Israel to walk through on dry ground. Clearly, God is powerful.
With walls of water on either side of them and a misty cloud above them, Paul envisioned their passage through the water as a baptism (1 Corinthians 10). Hence, all Israel was baptized. Furthermore, he says that all of them were nourished by Christ because of the water and food God provided.
For Paul and his Corinthian readers, this language of baptism and being nourished by Christ would have provided proof that God had delivered all of Israel into safety. Through Israel’s history Paul had provided a parallel story to the liberation a Christian experiences from sin through Christ. In other words, those ancient Israelites were like his Corinthian readers who had been baptized and sustained by Christ. God had rescued them.
Yet, Paul shocks the reader. God was not pleased with most of Israel! In fact, their bodies were strewn throughout the desert. Why? Paul provides several answers that involved sin. Among these is some grumbled.
Imagine waking up in a wilderness and not having food to eat or water to drink. As the sun beats down stomachs rumble. Fear grows. “What are we going to drink today?” Maybe a little bit of water and food is found. However, the next day repeats the same experience. Fear grows stronger.
Fear breaks out into grumbling and complaining. Fear is Satan’s tool.
Instead of manifesting fear, God calls us to trust in him. Trusting God to provide in a wilderness devoid of food and water takes faith. Yet, God taught Israel that they could trust him in this matter too.
Where does fear lurk close to us? In what areas or situations, have we not yet learned to trust God? Taking this lesson to heart can spare us the destructive consequences of fear.