“But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” I Cor.10:5. These are solemn words of the Apostle Paul recounting the experience of Israel after it failed to believe their God and refused to enter into the land God had promised them through their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. And what was that experience??? Nothing less than the death, over forty years, of 603,548 KIA disobedient soldiers of a 603,550 man Israelite army. Then Paul writes: “Now these things became our EXAMPLES ...” I Cor. 10:6; and he proceeds to give additional examples that should further arrest and focus our thinking when we consider God's attitude toward global, national, and personal rebellion and rejection of Him and His standards, precepts, and commandments. Because that ain't all. Let's take a look.
In verse 7, Paul recounts the event in Israel's history when Moses had failed to come down from Mt. Sinai in what the nation considered a reasonable period of time, and thus decided in his absence they would make their own god, a golden calf, with Moses' brother Aaron as their new leader. But Moses does return at God's direction, and as you might suspect, there is hell to pay!!! Moses then declares: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Let every man (Levites) put his sword on his side and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.'” “So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand (3000 KIA) men of the people fell that day. Sobering!! Then Moses said, ' Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.'” Exodus 32. But that ain't all.
Paul then follows in verse 8 with another event in Israel's history when the men of Israel cannot resist or restrain themselves from the sirens of Moab or their god, Baal of Peor. Num.25:1-2. 3.“So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel. Verse 4. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and hang the offenders before the Lord, out in the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” Verse 5. So Moses said to the judges of Israel, 'Everyone one of you kill the men who were joined to Baal of Peor.' Verse 6. And, indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Verse 7. Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; Verse 8. and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel. Verse 9. And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand (24,000 KIA). WHOA!!! Verse 10. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Verse 11. Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Verse 12. Therefore say, ' Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; Verse 13. and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel. But that ain't all.
In Numbers 21 we find this little gem: 4. “Then they (Israel) journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom (Esau's, brother of Jacob/Israel, descendants); and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: 'Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.' 6. So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.” ( KIA unknown, but obviously lots) Ummmmm! “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, 'We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.' So Moses prayed for the people. 8.Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.' 9. So Moses made a bronze serpent, and and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” And of course, it is this symbol prescribed by God for the nation of Israel to save them, that was adopted by the scientists of medicine as the symbol of their profession. I have not read whether the culture warriors against Judeo-Christian civilization have undertaken to force medicine to abandon that “mythological” symbol, but if they haven't, rest assured, they will. And that is assuming that the emblem hasn't been removed already. I'll check with my physician. But that ain't all.
In the wilderness, three significant personages of the nation of Israel, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, took umbrage with Moses always calling the shots for the nation, and decided to do something about it along with “two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, men of renown.” Num. 16:2. 13. Said they: “ Is it a small thing that you (Moses) have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey (Egypt), to kill us in the wilderness, that you should keep acting like a prince over us? 14. Moreover you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up!” This my friends, is what you call an incipient rebellion, with full scale rebellion waiting in the wings. 23. “So the Lord spoke to Moses, saying. 24. “ Speak to the congregation, saying, ' Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 26. And he (Moses) spoke to the congregation, saying, ' Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs., lest you be consumed in all their sins.' 27. So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children. 28. Then Moses said: ' By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will.'” 29.“ 'If these men DIE naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. 30. But if the Lord creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord.” 31. Then it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, 32. and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. 33. So they and all those with them went down into the pit, the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the congregation (unknown KIA, but all members of these three families were KIA). But that ain't all.
Now obviously, this is what you would call a teachable moment, and it is obvious as well that the children of Israel took it all in, as we see from the next verse. 34.” Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “ Lest the earth swallow us up also.” They got it, but there would be more for them to mull over. Because that ain't all.
For we see it in the very next verse. Remember the two hundred and fifty other men who sided with the former but now disappeared Big Three? What about them? Verse 35 spells it out in a rather “fiery” way. “ And a fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense.” Yowwee kazowwee, as they used to say on the Bozo Show!! Wouldn't you say that the events of that day would be enough to convince the children of Israel for a rather significant period of time not to question the authority of Moses bestowed upon him by the God of Israel? That's what I would say, but: as usual, WRONG!!!! For on the very next day, not the following week or month or year, BUT the very next day we see the very same kind of rejection of Moses by Israel that had just produced the Korah incident. Go figgur. And here is insanity squared because, believe it or not, that ain't all.
Verse 41. ON THE NEXT DAY all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, ' You have killed the people of the Lord.' 42. Now it happened, when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the glory of the Lord appeared. 43. Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of meeting . 44. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ' Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment...46.So Moses said to Aaron, 'Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun... 48. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plagued was stopped. 49. Now those who died in the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred (14,700 KIA) besides those who died in the Korah incident ( the three leaders of the rebellion, their families and the 250 “men of renown”; all KIA). But that ain't all.
Israel was not the only nation that suffered the chastisement of God for insolence, disobedience, insouciance, and contempt toward Him. Remember Egypt and the ten plagues which devastated that nation. Ex. 1-12. But that ain't all.
“When the King of Arad, the Canaanite, Num. 21:1, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some prisoners. 2. So Israel made a vow to the Lord, and said , 'If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.' 3. And the Lord listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities (KIA unknown, but obviously lots). So the name of that place was called Hormah (meaning ''utter destruction”). But that ain't all.
When King Sihon of the Amorites refused passage to Israel on its way to the Promised Land, Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land (KIA unknown, but obviously lots) Num. 21:23-26. But that ain't all.
Nor would King Og of Bashan learn from the examples of King Arad and King Sihon, and would suffer their fate when he went out as well against Israel; and Israel “defeated him, his sons, and all his people, until there was no survivor left him' and they took possession of his land.” Num. 21:33-35. (KIA unknown, but obviously lots). And even this ain't all, but it will have to do for the time being.
Moses told Israel just after their exodus from Egypt: “For the Lord your God is God of Gods and Lord of Lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows NO PARTIALITY, nor takes a bribe.” Deut.10:17. And each of these incidents fully demonstrate the accuracy of this declaration.
Paul concludes his revelation of examples with these words: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition on whom the ends of the ages have come. I Cor. 10:10. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. I Cor 10:12.
In modern day vernacular, Paul might have said: “CONNECT THE DOTS!!!!”