Thursday, 25 September 2014
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 1 Corinthians 10:1
In beginning of chapter 10, Paul will refer back to the issue of chapter 8, food sacrificed to idols. However, he is also building upon the thought which he has been discussing at the end of chapter 9, that of striving for a crown and the conditioning that it required. And so he begins with “moreover.”
Many translators state “but” or “for” rather than “moreover” to either show a contrast to his previous words or a continuation of the argument rather than a new direction. Whichever is intended, he is addressing “brethren.” The words are given to believers in the church for their edification and growth. To these brethren, he gives a phrase which is intended to open their minds to a passage of Scripture in a new way. He says, “I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea.”
As he continues, it will become apparent that they are already aware of the exodus story. What Paul is making known to them is that there is a spiritual application to the story which is applicable to them (and thus to us) as believers. He will repeat the word “all” five times in the first four verses to highlight that what occurred included the entire body involved in the exodus. Despite that however, it wasn’t received by all in the same way.
It then is a spiritual warning and admonition that will apply to those in the church. Yes, all were “under the cloud.” This was the sign of God’s divine protection for the Israelites. The terminology was used, for example, by David in the 105th Psalm –
“He spread a cloud for a covering,
And fire to give light in the night.” Psalm 105:39
That “all passed through the sea” means that the entire body of Israel, along with the mixed multitude who went with them, marched through the waters of the Red Sea and to freedom from the bondage and oppression of Egypt.
Life application: Paul shows us that the stories found in the Old Testament have been given for our instruction. In all, they will always point us to a stronger relationship with Christ if we will use them as they are intended. Not only that, there are spiritual applications and pictures of future redemptive history which can be gleaned from these stories. As you read the Old Testament, always ask yourself, “How does this point to Christ Jesus?” In doing this, you will be pursuing Scripture as it was intended to be viewed.
Everyday, O God, I love to read Your word. I know that every story in it and every detail given was selected by You to lead me to know You and Your heart better. And I know that all of it is intended to show me the work of Jesus. Help me to grasp this as I open Your word each day and help me to understand the treasures You have tucked away there for us to see. Thank You for this immeasurable gift, the Holy Bible. Amen.