Wednesday, 1 October 2014
And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 1 Corinthians 10:7
In the previous verse, Paul spoke of lusting after evil things. Continuing on, he next warns against becoming “idolaters as were some of them.” The very people who had been redeemed from the bondage of Egypt, and who had seen the marvelous works of the Lord, fell into idolatry. Rather than honoring the Creator, they worshipped before the created. This account is found in Exodus 32:1-6 –
“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
2 And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.
Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
5 So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” 6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
Paul, citing this account and saying “As it is written” is intended to show that it was specifically recorded for our learning and our instruction. The people failed to conduct themselves in a manner which was in accord with the glory of the Lord which they had beheld. A question that could be asked then is “What was wrong about the people sitting down and eating and drinking and rising up to play?” The answer is not that the actions were specifically wrong, but the context of their actions was. They directed them towards the golden calf, not towards the Lord.
People need to sit down, people need to eat and drink, and the Bible shows that properly directed worship can be brought to a very emotional state. A great example of this last category is found in 2 Samuel 6. David danced and leapt before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the City of David. His wife Michal didn’t approve of his conduct and rebuked him. His response was that, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight.” 2 Samuel 6:21, 22
This verse which Paul is citing cannot be used as a reason to forbid dancing. There are churches that do forbid dancing and they use verses like this one to justify that stand. However, this is not the intent of what Paul is saying here. Rather, that is a manipulation of Scripture which cannot be justified.
Life application: There is nothing wrong with rejoicing and praising before the Lord. There are abundant examples given in Scripture which show people praising the Lord with their voices and in dancing. If our hearts and souls are directed toward the Lord, then we are given the freedom to jump and shout praises to Him or beat on drums as we praise Him. Surely the Lord is worthy of our praise.
I will praise You, O God, with my voice and with my heart. I will praise You with my actions and in my deeds. I will praise You with music that glorifies You and with twirling dances of joy. Lord, how can I withhold the praises? You have done wondrous things for me and I will surely pop if I don’t return thanks and praise to You. You are great, O God. Surely You are worthy of praise. Hallelujah and amen.