1 Corinthians 10:11
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
Every time you purchase something from the store, you will find the instructions on how to put that item together. Those instructions were placed in that box to help you avoid becoming frustrated with the assembling of that item. The instructions that came with the item are written, not because the maker didn’t make mistakes in the making and putting of the item together, but the maker is giving you instructions on how to avoid their mistakes so that you can easily assemble and use what you have purchased. It would be foolish to throw out the instructions just because the makers made mistakes; rather, it would be wise to follow their instructions because they are teaching you how to avoid the same mistakes they made so that you can fully enjoy the item you purchased.
God makes an interesting statement in the verse above when He says, “…all these things happened unto them for ensamples…” These things that God was talking about were the mistakes that the previous generation made. God reminded the church of Corinth how Israel made many mistakes in the wilderness which cost many of them the opportunity to enter in the Promised Land, but they were still the examples for the present generation.
Sadly, there are many in our present-day who are throwing out the instructions and examples from the past because of the perceived mistakes they think they made. Instead of taking the examples from the previous generation, they want to throw out the instructions and try to rewrite the instruction manual to their own harm. Let me give you a few observations this verse gives that I hope will keep you from throwing out the instructions.
First, God never said that the previous generation was sinless, but they are still examples to follow. Instructions at the core are written from experiences; some experiences are learned from success, and some experiences are learned from failure. No generation would have any instructions to follow if they depended on the previous generation being perfect.
Second, the arrogance to throw out the instructions from the past generation is a guarantee for failure. Verse 12 says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” You may think you are so much better than the previous generation, but God is saying you are about ready to fall because you won’t follow the examples they have given to you. Never be so arrogant that you throw out the instructions from the past so that you can write your own instructions. Always remember that God gives you the past so you can avoid their failures and build on their successes.
Third, instead of attacking the past, let the past be your instruction manual upon which to build. The fool ignorantly spouts about how terrible the past is; whereas, the wise person learns from the past and applies those lessons to their life and builds upon them. My friend, you can do much more than the past if you will simply build upon the instructions they gave you. Were those people in the past sinless? Absolutely not! However, you are not sinless either, and you would be wise to stop spending your energy trying to correct the past and instead follow their instructions so you can build a brighter future for the next generation to follow.