Learning a lesson

We’ve all done stupid things. Some of us just do more of them.

I’ve had my share.

One time I saw the perfect camouflage for my GI Joe. I was over at some friend’s house and picked off the leaves of a newly planted tree. It went so well with my GI Joe! The problem was it wasn’t so good for the tree. I guess I picked too many off. A few days later his parents had called. I was mortified. I really wanted to hide. I didn’t want to tell the truth. Yet there was no hiding. I was the only one over by the tree, so I had to confess to his parents. Now that’s tough as seven year old.

That day I learned my lesson not to hurt someone else’s things. My GI Joe, well he was lost his stealth-ware in the war against my dog.

Learning a lesson comes up in 1 Corinthians 10: 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.” (NIV)

This section of scripture highlights episodes from Israel’s past. It’s not a history lesson. These stories are examples, examples of warnings. Don’t do this! Don’t act like Israel! Lucky for us they were written down. With no warning we’re apt to repeat and repeat the same dumb mistakes.

So here we have on paper, right before us, lessons that we should be learning. Are we learning?? Are we looking for the examples to avoid?

What were the lessons we are to learn from Israel?

To find these we must go back a few verses. There we will find four things we should be watching for in our lives.

Potential lesson #1

“Do not be idolaters,” says verse seven. Israel quickly gravitated to worshiping something…anything. When Moses was up on Mt Sinai the people grew weary of waiting and established a god in their own fashion. Bad mistake. Yet we too move that way to idol worship. It might not be a golden calf, but plenty of things vie for our attention. We can quickly lift up a number of things to substitute for God. Anything that gets our attention, respect can become an idol.

Potential lesson #2

Sexual immorality. We see sexuality about of bounds all over our culture. And it is so easy to get through every media option. Our sexuality is a gift from God, but we’ve worked at twisting and degrading it. Israel had the same problem. Sexual immorality isn’t a new since the 60s. The warning for us is there. We not only hurt ourselves but others and all those connected with us. It hurst our soul. (see 1Cor 6.15ff)

Potential lesson #3

Testing God, verse 9. I think testing God at its core is about lack of trust. We don’t trust what God has in store for us. This verse is probably from an episode in Numbers 21 where Israel didn’t trust the journey Lord had them on. They were thirsty. They were hungry. Why in the heck did the Lord take them out of Egypt and place them in this desert? It didn’t make sense and they were mad about it. That’s how they were putting the Lord to the test. Not trusting where the Lord has us, needs to be a warning for us. No journey is easy. Everyone’s life demand big steps of faith.

Potential lesson #4

Grumbling, verse 10. This example is closely related with lesson #3. Both stem from a complaining heart, perhaps an ungrateful heart. The only difference being the focus. One carries with it a challenge to God’s authority, the other is so completely engrossed in its anger.

So which of these are you missing the lesson: idolatry…sexual immorality …testing God …grumbling?

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.” (NIV)


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