1141 Reasons not to Talk to a Rock – 1 Corinthians chapter 10 vs 3 to 5

 

Just added; a new message preached from 1 Corinthians by J Stewart Gillespie:

 

1 Corinthians chp 10 vs 3 to 5 – 1141 Reasons not to Talk to a Rock – JS Gillespie – 26052015

 

Outline notes available for this message:

 

Last time we noted that whilst 1 Corinthians chp 10 seemed to have little immediate relevance to us / maybe to be out of place.

What does this have to do with Corinth?

We don’t need to Wonder for too long the purpose of recounting this events – we are told in 1Co 10:6; “these things were our examples..” : ‘tupos‘ : type, something caused by strokes or blows

It has its significance in a parallel / parable between the nation of Israel and the Corinthians:

  • Assumptions
  • Blessings
  • Confusion
  • Deception

Points of parallel:

 

  1. Assumptions that they made – that you could have the best of both worlds. That you could run both the old and the new life together. Paul does not refute this idea / premise with any great theological argument; but simply with the fact that this approach has been tried and failed back in the days of Israel! They did not end up with the best of both worlds they ended up with neither!
  2. Blessings they enjoyed: Led, Fed and Dead.
  3. Confusion of external blessing and internal reality

The distinction between what is given to me and what I am.

They reasoned that because they were:

  • Baptised
  • Breaking bread
  • Enjoying God speak

That all was well, that they had the Christian thing in the bag, done and dusted.

  1. Deceptions that robbed them

A 4 fold deception

It may just have seemed a bit of fun to them, a victimless crime but each deception would rob them of each of their blessings in Christ:

  • v7 – of being Led by Christ
  • v8 – of being Dead to Sin
  • v9 – of being Fed from heaven
  • v10 – of being identified with Moses

3 features of those ancient Israelites:

  1. Led (verse 1)
  2. Fed (verses 3 to 4)
  3. Dead – Baptised

They took great comfort and solace in being part of a church where something was happening.

They drew great reassurance from their blessings of:

  • Baptism
  • Communion
  • Ministry
  • Word from the Lord

Like Israel however in Exodus and Numbers they thought that they could live / lead a double life.

They though that they could have the best of both worlds.

They thought that they could:

  • Run with the hares and hunt with the hounds
  • Best of both worlds
  • Take refuge in the blessings of the Spirit (10:1-5) but all the time pursue the lusts of the flesh (10:6)

They seemed to have placed great weight on the fact that they were:

  • Baptised (10:2)
  • Broke bread / took communion (10:3-5; 10:16ff)

Yet they continued in the old life and pursued the old lusts

Did that not get them the best of both worlds?

No it short changed them for both

They hadn’t gained both

They lost both!

 

The blessings they enjoyed:

  1. Led:

under the cloud” (v1)

Under the cloud – that surely is a bad place to be?

  1. It was for the old world that perished under the flood – clouds of Destruction / judgement
  2. It was the Egyptian army pursuing the people of Israel (Ex 14:20-25) – clouds of Death / Darkness
  3. It was at Sinai (Exodus 24:15,16; Deut 4:11) – clouds of Dread.

Yet for the believer the cloud is:

  1. The Place of Gods Promises (Gen 9:13,14,16) – the first mention of the cloud in the scriptures, and in it is a rainbow of Divine promises
  2. The Place of Gods Provision in Guidance (Exodus 13:21; 14:19-24; Ex 40:36-37; Ps 78:14; Ps 99:7) – God goes before them in the cloud by day
  3. The Place of Gods Presence (Exodus 16:10; 19:9; 24:16; 33:9; 34:5; 40:34,35; Lev 16:2; Num 11:25; Deut 31:15; 1 Kings 8:11; Neh 9:12) – In the cloud the, “Glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud”

The people of Israel are in a sense “under the cloud

It is so often “under the cloud” that we find the PRESENCE of the Lord!

  • Elijahs experience in the cave
  • Mary and Marthas experience at the grave
  • The 2 on the road to Emmaus
  • Pauls experience in prison (2 Tim 4:16-17)

Well they were under the cloud!

But this was a good place to be; God was there.

 

  1. Fed

spiritual meat

In what sense was the food ‘spiritual’?

Was it not in essence physical?

Did it not get eaten and digested and did it not satisfy their hunger? (Deut 8:16).

The manna was physical in nature / in substance

But then bread does not by nature fall from the sky!

The manna was spiritual in source / origin (Psalm 78:23-25).

The spiritual character of the manns is seen in its origin

Maybe we can accept that God can provide:

  • Spiritual supplies by spiritual means
  • Extraordinary substance by extraordinary means

eg:

  • Mount Carmel and fire from heaven
  • The plagues of Egypt
  • The miracles of the Lord

All supernatural provision by supernatural means

But in the manna and the water consider the possibility of:

  • Ordinary provision by extraordinary means

What could be more common or ordinary than water and bread?

Yet the supply was supernatural!

Let us not be afraid to look for this in our own life.

  • 1 Kings 17:12 – just a handful of meal but provided by extraordinary means.
  • Peter and the fish (Matthew 17:27) – just a coin but provided by extraordinary means.

Just because something is ordinary in substance doesn’t mean that it is not extraordinary in its source.

Look for those extraordinary supplies!

And that rock was Christ

In what sense was the Rock Christ?

Surely the rock was a physical rock from which the water flowed (Ex 17:6; Num 20:8)?

Consider that in Numbers 20:8 Moses is invited to; “speak ye unto the rock

speak”: ‘dabar’: occurs 1142 times in the OT

A recurrent pattern is evident in its use; a few examples:

Exo_40:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_1:1 And the LORDH3068 calledH7121 untoH413 Moses,H4872 and spakeH1696 untoH413 him out of the tabernacleH4480 H168 of the congregation,H4150 saying,H559

Lev_1:2 SpeakH1696 untoH413 the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478

Lev_4:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_4:2 SpeakH1696 untoH413 the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 saying,H559

Lev_5:14 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_6:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_6:8 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_6:19 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_6:24 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_6:25 SpeakH1696 untoH413 AaronH175 and toH413 his sons,H1121 saying,H559 ThisH2063 is the lawH8451 of the sin offering:H2403

Lev_7:22 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_7:23 SpeakH1696 untoH413 the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 saying,H559 Ye shall eatH398 no mannerH3808 H3605 of fat,H2459 of ox,H7794 or of sheep,H3775 or of goat.H5795

Lev_7:28 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_7:29 SpeakH1696 untoH413 the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 saying,H559 He that offerethH7126 (H853) the sacrificeH2077 of his peace offeringsH8002 unto the LORDH3068 shall bringH935 (H853) his oblationH7133 unto the LORDH3068 of the sacrificeH4480 H2077 of his peace offerings.H8002

Lev_8:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_9:3 And untoH413 the childrenH1121 of IsraelH3478 thou shalt speak,H1696 saying,H559 TakeH3947 ye a kidH8163 of the goatsH5795 for a sin offering;H2403 and a calfH5695 and a lamb,H3532 both of the firstH1121 year,H8141 without blemish,H8549 for a burnt offering;H5930

Lev_10:8 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Aaron,H175 saying,H559

Lev_10:11 And that ye may teachH3384 (H853) the childrenH1121 of IsraelH3478 (H853) allH3605 the statutesH2706 whichH834 the LORDH3068 hath spokenH1696 untoH413 them by the handH3027 of Moses.H4872

Lev_10:12 And MosesH4872 spakeH1696 untoH413 Aaron,H175 and untoH413 EleazarH499 and untoH413 Ithamar,H385 his sonsH1121

Lev_10:19 And AaronH175 saidH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872

Lev_11:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 MosesH4872 and toH413 Aaron,H175 sayingH559 untoH413 them,

Lev_11:2 SpeakH1696 untoH413 the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 saying,H559 TheseH2063 are the beastsH2416 whichH834 ye shall eatH398 among allH4480 H3605 the beastsH929 thatH834 are onH5921 the earth.H776

Lev_12:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_12:2 SpeakH1696 untoH413 the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 saying,H559

Lev_13:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 MosesH4872 and Aaron,H175 saying,H559

Lev_14:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 Moses,H4872 saying,H559

Lev_14:33 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 MosesH4872 and untoH413 Aaron,H175 saying,H559

Lev_15:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 MosesH4872 and toH413 Aaron,H175 saying,H559

Lev_15:2 SpeakH1696 untoH413 the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 and sayH559 untoH413 them,

Lev_16:1 And the LORDH3068 spakeH1696 untoH413 MosesH4872 afterH310 the deathH4194 of the twoH8147 sonsH1121 of Aaron,H175 when they offeredH7126 beforeH6440 the LORD,H3068 and died;H4191

 

This Hebrew word ‘dabar‘ on 1141 out of 1142 occasions is always used of speaking to a person; of man speaking to man, of God speaking to man, of man speaking to God.

The only possible exception is here in Numbers 20:8.

I do not think that Numbers 20:8 is such an exception!

Moses and the people of God recognised 2 Rocks:

  • Physical rock – Numbers 20:8
  • Spiritual Rock – Deut 32:4, 15, 18, 33

At times these 2 rocks become close to being intertwinned:
Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?”

(Psa 78:20)

And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.” (Psa 78:35)

So what is 1 Co 10:4 saying?

Not so much that the physical rock but the spiritual Rock is Christ!

He is the God of the nation in the OT!

We have touched upon this issue in the past, whilst looking at Romans chapter 4; ‘how did people get saved B.C?’

We saw that they were saved just the same way they were saved AD!

In Romans chapter 4:

  1. Continuity of the argument of Romans 4 requires it.
  • Abraham – positive justification
  • David – negative justification

Abraham described as the, ‘father of all them that believe’ (Romans 4:11)

That continuity / connection would be fatally traumatised if David and Abraham believed in someone / something else from us.

The argument would break down and I would have no more connection with Abraham or David than with a Buddhist.

  1. Cleansing of Davids sin demands it

Davids atonement / propitiation requires it (Romans 4:6-8)

I know of only 1 biblical means by which God can be both, ‘just and the justifier,’ of the sinner, and that is through Christ (Rom 3:26).

David was living in the benefit / expectation of this.

  1. Covenant promise to Abraham expects it (Romans 4:13ff)

The promises made to a justified Abraham would ultimately be fulfilled in Christ.

Salvation / justification by faith came by faith in a person – faith in Christ.

Christ is the source of SALVATION in the Old and New Testaments.

We found Him in the OT:

  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo in the fiery furnace with one like the Son of God
  • Abraham rejoiced to see my day and was glad” (John 8:56)
  • Elijah and Moses on Mount of Transfiguration
  • Job 19:25
  • Zech 12:10
  • Psalm 110 – Christ pre-eminence and Christs pre-existence as Davids Lord

Christ is not only the:

  • SOURCE of Salvation

but as the Rock:

  • SUSTAINER of Salvation

Why present this truth to the Cornthians, that Christ is the Rock that followed the Israelites in the wilderness?

that Rock was Christ” becomes the high point / pinnacle of this section!

It is downhill after this!

In other words the crescendo is built up from:

  • Led
  • Fed
  • Dead

To: Christ the Rock

We are saved and sanctified and separated in order that we might draw from Christ!

Saved to enjoy Christ.

Saved for relationship and resemblance.

They were not living in the enjoyment of this – see 1 Corinthians chps 5,6 & 8.

Instead of the badges and externals of Christian experience here is the point/purpose/expectation of Christian experience.

Not only the expectation of Christian experience but herein lies the explanation of what went wrong; ie. They were not drawing from Christ, they were not satisfied with Christ; they were instead, ‘lusting after evil things,’ (v6).

All of their failures were in essence a displacement of Christ.