Christians need to learn
from the mistakes of others, so they can better prepare to meet God in
eternity. The American Standard Version
of 1 Corinthians 10:11
phrase, “by way of example,” to emphasize that contemporary people can
to learn from the mistakes of those who have come before us.
sometimes say to their
children (and others over whom they may have some influence), “Don’t
same mistake that I made.” This type of advice might have to do with a
youth (e.g., drinking, drugs, premarital sex, an abortion, marrying too
hanging out with the wrong crowd, etc.). Quite possibly, such advice
to do with post-adolescent or adult life responsibilities (e.g.,
one’s money, childrearing, etc.). Any number of things might be
such well meaning parental advice, howbeit, advice that often is
desired by younger persons nor followed.
instances of Bible characters essentially urging subsequent
make the same mistakes that we made.” Solomon, for instance, tried
“under the sun” to bring him earthly, sensual happiness and concluded
was all in vain. “I have seen all the works that are done under the
behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
Book of Proverbs in its entirety is a warning to youth to avoid paths
wickedness (and their hurtful consequences) and rather choose paths of
righteousness (which promise a better today and a brighter eternity).
individual accounts of various Bible characters echo loudly the truism,
make the same mistakes that we have made!” The apostle Paul encouraged
Christians both in Rome and Corinth to learn
from Old Testament history
and to avoid making the same sinful mistakes (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).
we be able to learn
from the demise of the Jewish priests, Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus
NIV says they offered “unauthorized fire” in Jewish worship. The fire
supposed to come from the altar of burnt sacrifice before the entrance
Tabernacle (Leviticus 16:12). Evidently, these two sons of Aaron, the
priest, derived their fire from some other source.
In a very
dramatic and public
display of divine disapproval, God destroyed Nadab and Abihu with fire
the sky. God declared that the two errant priests, by their ignoring of
instruction, neither had neither observed the holiness of God nor were
glorifying God (Leviticus 10:3). Further, under the penalty of death,
their father and brothers were forbidden to either mourn or sympathize
Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:3, 6-7).
might we conclude that we
can apply to ourselves? We had better not worship God in any
or we, too, will come to know divine displeasure (at Final Judgment).
times, especially when worshipping, we need to act in such a way as to
the holiness of God and glorify him. We must not sympathize with
irrespective of whether they may be fellow Christians.
we be able to learn
from God’s punishment of his people following the Exodus from Egypt?
In 1 Corinthians 10:1-11,
the apostle Paul summarized the sins
during this period. The children of God were guilty of “lust after evil
things,” idolatry, fornication and grumbling against God (1 Corinthians
10). One translation says that they tested God (i.e., tested the
fortitude of God like children test their parents to see if they will
through on what they say) (1 Corinthians 10:9).
God littered the
desert with the bodies of those sinners (1 Corinthians 10:5). Preceding
Exodus, the Egyptians had seen the result of the mighty hand of God
them (Deuteronomy 6:21; 7:8; 26:8; Daniel
was not more receptive to God in view of the power he demonstrated
was severely punished by God during the 40-year wilderness wandering so
whole generation eventually died before reaching Canaan
might we conclude that we
can apply to ourselves? We must not lust after evil things (Titus 2:12;
1 John 2:15-17).
We must not practice idolatry
(i.e., nothing and no one must either be more important to us than God
come before God in our lives) (Matthew 6:24, 33). Sexual immorality
characterize the children of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). We must not
against God or his divine Word (e.g., marriage, divorce and remarriage;
role of women in the home and the church; instrumental music; etc.).
punish his children for their sins, perhaps providentially in this life
12:5-11). Especially Christians should not test the authority of God.
In conclusion, though
similar instances could be multiplied greatly, the
principle would remain the same, namely: God says what he means, and he
what he says. There is no need for us to make the same kind of mistakes
Bible characters made to bring upon them God’s severe displeasure. We
by the sinful mistakes of others how to better prepare to meet God in
Judgment (Amos 4:12). The first step today in preparing to meet God in
Judgment is to become a Christian (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 11:26). Each day is an
opportunity to commune with
Jesus Christ and his blood, whereby we can be prepared to meet God in
Judgment (1 John 1:7-10).