Lessons from Israel’s Idolatry
1I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters,# Greek brothers. about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. 2In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. 3All of them ate the same spiritual food, 4and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. 5Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, 7or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.”# Exod 32:6. 8And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.
9Nor should we put Christ# Some manuscripts read the Lord. to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. 11These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
12If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
14So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true. 16When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? 17And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 18Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar?
19What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? 20No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. 21You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. 22What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?
23You say, “I am allowed to do anything”# Greek All things are lawful; also in 10:23b.—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 24Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
25So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience. 26For “the earth is the lord’s, and everything in it.”# Ps 24:1.
27If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience. 28(But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. 29It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? 30If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?
31So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles# Greek or Greeks. or the church of God. 33I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.