In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul is still answering the 3 questions from the Corinthians letter he started in chapter 7. From Chapter 8 on he has been discussing food sacrificed to idols.
1 Corinthians 10:1-6 Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, (2) and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. (3) They all ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. (5) But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness. (6) Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as they did.
We often ask about the value of studying the things of the OT. Here Paul gives a prime example.
Now connects vv. 1–22 to what Paul has been saying about giving up personal rights for the sake of the gospel (chs. 8–9). The example of Israel’s experience in the wilderness should warn the Corinthians of what can happen to people who hear God’s words and see his works but do not come to true faith.
Notice the “all” statements. The “fathers” were all:
1. Under the cloud or enjoyed God’s supernatural protection and guidance through the pillar of cloud and fire.
2. Passed through the sea or delivered from the Egyptians.
3. Baptized into Moses through the cloud and the sea indicating their oneness, or solidarity, with him as their leader.
4. Ate and drank the same spiritual food miraculously provided by God through Moses.
The all partook of God’s mercy, provisions and blessings but what does verse 5 say? God was not pleased with “most of them”. Verse 6 says said they still desired evil things.
How can they partake of God’s goodness and mercy and still not have the faith to believe?
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, (5) tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, (6) and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are re-crucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt.
The hardness of their sinful hearts would not allow them to have faith in God despite his repeated acts of mercy and provision and kindness. They had seen the pillar and fire, they had tasted the water and manna and yet continued to fall away and desire evil things and God was displeased. They had all the blessings but not the faith. God was displeased because: without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. 11:6
But for those that have true saving faith in God’s promises the true Rock provides a way!