Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14
“Therefore” is given to lead us to a summary thought concerning the previous words of instruction. In verses 1-5, Paul showed how the Israelites had actually partaken of the spiritual goodness of the Lord – the cloud and the sea, the spiritual food, and the spiritual rock (from which the water issued forth). These were there for the people and sustained them as they travelled. And yet, instead of clinging to that which gives life, they turned their backs on Christ and followed a different path. In verses 6-10, we were shown that some fell into idolatry, some into sexual immorality, some into tempting Christ through their speaking out against Him as if He were incapable of properly providing for them, and some merely complained about their circumstances instead of being grateful for His provision. Paul showed that their lives were given as examples for us to learn from. He also instructed us that we should take heed of these things because we all share in humanity and are susceptible to falling as they did. But in a note of encouragement, he said that God will always provide a way out when we are tempted. This is where his thoughts have led to and they bear directly on his previous discussion about foods sacrificed to idols which was seen in chapter 8.
Eating foods is a neutral matter, even foods sacrificed to idols – because idols are nothing. However, idolatry is harmful and sinful. It is also tempting and destructive as his examples have shown. Idolatry leads to barriers between God and us and destroys our intimate fellowship with Him. Therefore, we shouldn’t see how close we can get to it without going over the line. Instead we should turn our backs to it and run from it. The Apostle John has the same word of admonition for us. As the final thought of his first epistle, he closes the letter with, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (1 John 5:21).
In spiritual matters, we are to remain in fellowship with God in ways which He has personally authorized such as reading and studying His word; praising, worshipping, and praying to Him; and fellowshipping with other believers. In doing these things, we will be kept safe from the sins which we can so easily fall into.
Life application: An idol is not necessarily a piece of stone, wood, or metal that is set up to worship, but rather it is anything which replaces devotion to God in our hearts. Sex, money, over-indulgence, etc., are things which tear our hearts and minds away from the Lord. Let us continually walk with Him and purposely flee from idolatry.
Lord God, keep me free from the things which take my heart and eyes away from You. A million temptations come my way each day and some of them are more difficult to face than others. You know the ones which will try me the most, so remind me to put on the armor which will protect me from them. I know that You will always be with me and provide a way out of the temptations I face. And so I ask in advance for eyes to see those paths of exit and to be strong enough to take them when those temptations arise. Thank You for hearing my prayer. Amen.