Psalm 107:1–16; Numbers 20:1–13; 1 Corinthians 10:6–13
Imagine saying, “Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever,” to the Israelites at Kadesh. Those words would have been grating (at best) the ears of all the tongues lashing against Moses and Aaron.
The Psalmist also wrote, “So they cried out to the Lord in their distress, and God delivered them from their desperate circumstances.” Except that is not the story in Numbers. Instead of crying out to God, the condemned, blamed, and judged Aaron and Moses. Instead of crying out to their Redeemer and Rescuer, they passed around blame and bemoaned their freedom from slavery.
The Scriptures are full of stories. Many of them include the failings and failures of families. We witness the bad choices that people make, including followers of God, that are nowhere near the intent or desire of God.
There have been many people that have claimed that God endorses many things (slavery, abuse, polygamy, etc.) that appear in the Scriptures, solely because they appear in the Scriptures. This has been the case with Christians and non-Christians alike. It also is a really bad idea.
Just because it shows up in the Scriptures certainly does not mean endorsement by God. Paul comments on this. Paul notes that the intent of the descriptions of human failures is intended to be descriptive and instructive. They are not to be prescriptive.
Paul reminds and encourages us to remember that we are not alone in any temptation or failure. We are in quite the company, in fact. The lie we tell ourselves and others that others couldn’t possibly be tempted like us, or that have succumbed as we have is put on display by Paul.
Paul, while displaying the lie, also encourages us to recall that God did not tempt us, just as God did not endorse or encourage the sins of those in the Scriptures. Ultimately, it is the weakness of our fallen condition. Which is not unique to an individual, but is part of the state of all of humanity.
Why is it important to understand that we are all tempted? How does that mean we should treat others who have succumbed? What should we do when we succumb? Why and how are these related both in our interactions with fellow Christians and those who are not Christian?
Lord, you set us free from the ultimate consequence of sin…death. Help us in our lives to be free of sin and help others to break their chains and to heal their wounds from sin. Amen.