It Is Well With My Soul: March 25, 2022

It Is Well With My Soul

“We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.” -1 Corinthians 10:9

If any of you are reading this verse and wondering what in the daylights the Apostle Paul is talking about, let me explain: In the Book of Numbers, the Israelites were getting cranky about it taking *FOREVER* to get to the Promised Land, and they decided to do that thing they always did where they whined about how God brought them into the wilderness to die, there was no food or water, and they hate the manna that God sent them to eat so they wouldn’t starve. God responded by sending venomous snakes (most likely, Daboia palaestinae) to bite them. A lot of Israelites died, likely due to neurotoxic manifestations from a phospholipase A2 found in the venom. The people went to Moses, told him that they were sorry for whining, and asked him to please tell God to take away the snakes. Moses prayed for the people, and God told him to make a serpent of bronze, put it on a pole, and tell everyone with a snakebite to look at it for healing.

Are we all caught up? Good!

The point that Paul is trying to make is to not test God. He gives a bunch of examples of Israel doing stupid things that ended badly for them. The issue in question for Paul, if you read further in this chapter, is idolatry. Israel messed up repeatedly in worshipping idols and turning away from God, causing God to allow Israel to be conquered. (The Book of Judges has this as a common theme.) Paul wants the church in Corinth to know that eating meat sacrificed to idols is no bueno, and they should not be testing God’s patience on the subject. It will not work out well.

So, how do all of you think we test God today? Is it complaining about “having nothing” when God has provided us everything that we need in life? Is it thinking that one little sin is OK and then having it snowball into a bigger issue?

While you’re pondering this? I think I’ll go watch Viperkeeper play with his snakes…

God, we know that we screw up at these things all the time, and we thank you for picking us up and dusting us off when we fall. Amen.
-Jen McCabe