Saturday, 4 October 2014
…nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 1 Corinthians 10:10
The word used by Paul for “complain” is the Greek word gogguzó. It means to whisper, murmur, or grumble. He is asking his readers to not engage in this type of activity, which they clearly had been as they divided into factions. Rather than building one another up, factions that arise inevitably work to tear one another down. In the case of those in the wilderness, there were complaints against Moses. Because he was the one chosen by God to lead them, it was an indirect complaint against the Lord. This is evident because they “were destroyed by the destroyer.”
There is no one incident which involved this complaining, but a series of complaints which seemed to arise any time that things got a little bit tough. Instead of seeing the tough times as a chance for God to reveal His glory, they saw them as chance to complain. When they did, the destroyer would reveal God’s glory in another way. This destroyer is certainly the same one who killed the firstborn at the Passover and who continued to destroy pockets of resistance throughout their wanderings.
He further brought destruction to Israel and against Israel’s enemies after they entered Canaan. This is recorded time and time again throughout the Bible. Paul’s words show that this hard and unrepentant attitude against God is not just some “Old Testament” concept, but something that we need to watch out for as well. Were it not so, he would not have included the words here in 1 Corinthians. His words in the next verse will confirm this.
Life application: There is a difference between idle grumbling and calling out erroneous doctrine. Just because we don’t particularly like a precept from the Bible or a teacher of the Bible, this no excuse for grumbling against them. However, if someone is actively teaching a falsehood, they need to be called out for it. Too often, followers of an unsound Bible teacher will accuse his detractors of attempting to “divide Christ.” This terminology is used to get the detractors to remain quiet, as if they have done something wrong when the opposite is true. The teacher of false doctrine is the divider of Christ. Never be afraid to uphold the purity of God’s word above all else.
The Bible is precious and altogether pure
It gives us guidance for our daily walk
And so on it’s precepts I remain confident and sure
And of it’s doctrines I will constantly talk
When someone teaches it in a way which is not right
I know it is my duty to ensure their error is noted
It is too precious to be treated with contempt or spite
And it should never be mishandled or misquoted
It is our guide and the book which is given to instruct us
It is the wondrous gift of God to reveal His heart in Jesus
Lord, too often people attempt to defend the indefensible. When a famous teacher or preacher goes against Your word, they need to be corrected for it. And yet, because of the fame of a name or out of being star-struck, Your word is ignored and bad doctrine is allowed to take root. Which is more important to me? Lord, give me wisdom to rightly handle Your word and the strong will and desire to defend it, even above all else. It is far too wonderful to be treated with scorn. I will always stand on what I believe is the truth of Your word. Amen.