Learning by example

Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st Corinthians 7-10

I chose my life theme at Army officer’s leadership school.  A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!”  I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader can have on others is their example.  Jesus was a great model of this principle!  The opposite can also true.  It has been said: “If you are good for nothing else, you can always be a bad example!”

There were several things that Paul exhorted the Corinthians to learn from the example of the Israelites in the Old Testament.  These people  had great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them.    They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert.  They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them.  However, God was not pleased with them!  (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)

In spite of the good example of God’s leadership and Moses’ prayers, many of them were sexually immoral as they worshiped idols  from Egypt.  Others grumbled against God or tested Him and died before reaching the promised land.  Their actions indicated a lack of faith.  They became examples for us of what not to do!

“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. . ” (1st Corinthians 10:6-7a)  America is a land of idols!  Sports stars, movie stars, rock stars and government leaders all serve as idols for those without a true relationship with Christ.  Our nation glorifies sexual freedom  and immorality that mocks God and His word!  We call stories filled with idolatry and immorality “entertainment” and many in the church support this by regularly partaking.

“We should not test the Lord, as some of them did, and were killed by snakes.” (1st Corinthians 10:9) We challenge God by questioning His leadership and right to direct us.  God’s goodness should never be questioned by His people.

“And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel.” (1st Corinthians 10:10)  Grumbling is a sin indicating unbelief in the heart.   Grumbling is common today in our culture.  It can be a besetting sin with church people.   Grumbling kept the Isrealites out of the land of promised land and can do the same for us!  Let’s wisely learn from these examples!

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