and all ate the same spiritual food;1 Corinthians 10:3(NASB)
The writers of the New Testament often made reference to Israel's past history as an example of virtues to pursue or vices to avoid. Paul was only too aware of how quickly a religious-minded Jew can fall into legalism, or how easily Gentile believers can slip back into their former, pagan practices and absorb secular attitudes. And Paul used the history of the Jews to explain some important spiritual truths, that are relevant to all believers - past, present, and future.
To prevent the Corinthians Christians from regressing into their former ways, Paul used Israel's escape from Egypt, their wilderness wanderings, and their eventual entrance into the promised land, to teach believers how to live godly lives in Christ Jesus and keep themselves from falling into sin, idolatry, apathy, or rebellion.
He explained the spiritual significance of Israel's escape from Egypt, and the wonderful things that took place when they trusted God and obeyed His commands. Paul tells us that ALL who were redeemed from Egypt ate of the manna - the supernatural food that God provided for them, and it represented Jesus - Who is our true, Spiritual Food... "they ALL ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them - and the rock was Christ."
Israel were saved from Egypt, and their faith was reckoned as righteousness, and like all Old Testament saints, they looked forward to the One Who was to come - the Messiah of Israel; the Saviour of the world; the Lord Jesus Christ. Every part of the Mosaic Law and all prophetic writings pointed to Jesus, Who was to come and save them from their sin. He was the true spiritual food and the true spiritual drink for their soul - and for ours too.
The sin of every Old Testament saint was temporarily covered by the shedding of innocent blood, as appointed by God, in the Mosaic feasts and sacrifices, UNTIL their true Lamb of God would come, and take away their sin - through the shedding of His own innocent blood. Just as Christians today look back to Christ's finished work and are saved by faith in Him, so pre-cross believers looked forward to the coming Messiah, and their faith was credited as righteousness - they were saved by grace, through faith in the coming Lord Jesus Christ.
Just as we remember Him as the Living Bread and Water of Life, so the spiritual sustenance Israel received in the wilderness represented Jesus, including the Water that flowed from the Rock and the Manna that came down from heaven. Paul reminded the Corinthians that ALL who escaped from Egypt ate the same spiritual food. They ALL drank of the same spiritual drink. They were all saved by grace through faith in God's promised Messiah. The spiritual food that came down from heaven represented Israel's coming Royal-Priest!. The Manna Israel ate in the wilderness, symbolised JESUS.
Paul also made it clear that, despite being wonderfully redeemed from Egyptian slavery by God's grace, through faith, that first generation of Israelites failed to become a sanctified people. They failed to mature spiritually. They failed to gain their promised rest by living the godly life for which they had been saved. Instead, of living a victorious life, an entire generation of God's redeemed people lived a defeated life, as they meandered through the desert for 40 long years.
The mighty miracles Israel experienced when they left Egypt with great plunder, crossed over the Red Sea, were protected by the Pillar of Cloud and watched the pursuing Egyptians being drowned beneath the waves, was Israel's true 'baptism' into God's eternal family. Every individual was saved by grace through faith in God's Word... and so they were ALL fed with the same, supernatural, spiritual food.
How sad that these redeemed people fell into sin, idolatry, apathy, carnality, and rebellion and how important that Christians learn from Israel's failure, and do not end up as the redeemed of God, who remain in spiritual infancy, and live life, in utter defeat.
Everyone who is saved by grace through faith in Christ's finished work is given power from on high to live a victorious life. Every Christian is part of the new creation IN CHRIST, and we ALL have access to God's sufficient grace through the power of the indwelling Spirit. We are ALL given everything we need for life and godliness through faith in Christ. Like Israel, we ALL have access to the living Head on Whom we feed by faith. We ALL eat of the same spiritual food, and drink of the same living water of life.
Jesus, Himself, reminded us, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."
Just as God was faithful to Israel, He is faithful to us today. May we learn the lessons of godly living, which are laid out in the Word of God, May we learn from Israel's failure and feed on Him in our hearts by faith, with thanksgiving - as we die to self and life for Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is the Living Bread and the Water of Life, Who renews my spirit, refreshes my soul, and restores to me the joy of my salvation. Help me to learn the lessons of life and living, that You would teach me through Israel's lack, and I pray that I would grow in grace and mature in the faith for Your greater praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.