March 4, 2010

March 4: The way out

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By Ben Sutter, a first-year history and communication double major from South Bend, Ind.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
Lent is a season of stepping back from life, reevaluating. Holding on to what is right but letting go of our own misconceptions. How must the disciples have felt as the one they hoped would be their Savior was subject to death on the cross? In such a time, God called them to let go of their own ideas of a Savior and hold on to who Jesus truly was.

Paul proposes the same suggestion in Corinthians. He recognizes the struggles and disobedience of all peoples. Yet Paul uses what is not right as a way to instruct in the Truth. Paul calls us to let go of sins of the past and to instead hold onto God. He sees the unjust, unholy ways of humans, and gives the disconcerting news that we can fall. But then, and this is the real kicker, Paul says that God will never give us more than we are able to endure!

There is promise. We may feel overwhelmed that the list of sins against God seems to go on and on, but “God is faithful and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength!” Our Lord has provided us with a way out. There is no promise that it will be easy. The way out will probably not be how we might have envisioned it. But we must let go of our own plans to work it all out. We’re not the ones to provide the way out. God will provide the way out so that we may be able to endure what ever comes our way.

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SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NRSV)
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.

Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

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Comments (7)

  1. This verse cracks me up, lays me low and gives me hope, all at once! It cracj=ks me up because the writer gets alll “chicken – necky”, saying, “if you think you are standing, watch out that you don’t fall”. A sober warning about hubris. I felt very humbled by this warning – so much of the time I think I am doing just fine, great even, when I should be looking to GOd, and thanking Him for this life – everything I have. Finally, the writer gives us the way out, that even through your trials is hidden the way out, and I think the way to spiritual growth and greater union with God.

    Beth March 4, 2010 |
  2. Is it right to give up on someone who’s not living by GOD, and you keep telling them to have faith and keep the faith, but they seem to have not faith at all. And you are doing the praying and singing and keeping the faith that all shall come to pass, but this person somehow seem like that have just given up and do not want to keep GOD in him. What do I do, give up and stop or just keep on telling this person that GOD has the first and last word???? Tell me what to do.

    Sandy March 4, 2010 |
  3. Answering Sandy:

    Don’t “do” anything. Walk your talk and live your belief so as to be a model for this person. Be a model of living with God in your life. Don’t forget change doesn’t happen for us or others in our time, but in God’s time only.

    Elaine March 4, 2010 |
  4. Thanks, Ben, for this reminder about God not giving us more than we can handle.

    Tony March 4, 2010 |
  5. “God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strenght” is salient, but we must be graceful in the context in which we give this out. It can and is often used as a formula to dodge the real suffering and angust in the live of folks. Perhaps it needs to be used with the cry of the psalmist “Be gracious to me O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror…O Lord…how long?

    Fr. Bill Pounds March 4, 2010 |
  6. Bill, amen, amen and AMEN!

    Jennifer March 5, 2010 |
  7. Thank you for this devotional. Both the verses and
    what you had to say were interesting. I think that
    I will continue to ponder on them this weekend because
    there is much to be gleaned, and Paul explicitly states
    that the account of the Israelites was written to be
    an example to us.

    Loretta March 5, 2010 |