In his first letter to the Christians in Corinth, Paul uses the experiences of the Children of Israel as a warning. All of them, he said, went through the Red Sea on dry ground. They all were led by the same cloud by day and the fire by night. They all ate the same manna and drank the same miraculous water from the rock.
Yet the sad fact remains that the vast majority of them displeased God, and failed to enter the promised land. Most of them died in the wilderness, as punishment for their idolatry, their refusal to trust God, their grumbling, and their rebellion against God’s law.
The record of these things, said Paul, should be an example to us. We should learn from their experience what things displeased God, and diligently avoid them in our own lives. At the time when we are most sure of ourselves, that we are standing firm against temptation, at that point we should be the most careful that we do not fall.
In the face of all these temptations, the temptations that are common to many others, there remains one constant. God is faithful. He knows exactly what temptation each one of us can bear, and He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to stand against. In the midst of the strongest temptation, He will show us the way through, enabling us to bear it.
If the death of most of the Children of Israel in the wilderness was recorded for us as an example, surely God’s pleasure with Joshua and Caleb, and their triumphant entry into the Promised Land is also recorded as an example for us. In the midst of all the impossibilities, they never lost sight of God. They put their entire trust in Him– His Character, His Power, and His favor toward them for Abraham’s sake.
And we, whatever we face today, can put our entire trust in Jesus Christ– in His Character, His Power, and His favor toward us.