Introduction: One of the family stories my wife likes to tell is that
her mother stressed to her that she liked “sameness.” She did not
want any changes in her life. Six weeks later, she got married and
moved to a new residence. So much for “sameness.” Generally, people
fear change. Like my mother-in-law, they say they want “sameness.”
Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and see what it has to teach us
about changes in life and how we should evaluate them!

  1. History Lessons

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 10:1. What does God think we should
      know? (History! We should know what happened to our

      1. Were these forefathers in the middle of great changes
        in their lives?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:2-4. What is the Bible saying about
      the common history of these people? (That they all had a
      wonderful spiritual background. Christ gave them food and
      water and Moses gave them spiritual leadership.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 10:5. What is the spiritual lesson?
      What should we learn? (That having a great spiritual
      background and training does not mean that our lives
      please God. We might not do well with change.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 10:6. What is God saying when He refers
      to these things as “examples?” (The main point is that
      history is incredibly important in deciding how to live.
      There are a few things that upset me and make me worry
      about the future. One of those is the future of religious
      and economic freedom. They made our country great. Because
      the nations of the world are turning to religious and
      economic freedom, the number of people living in poverty
      world-wide has dropped. Yet, the younger generation in my
      country question both religious and economic freedom.)

  2. Life Changes and History

    1. Re-read 1 Corinthians 10:6. How should we use history when
      considering change? (History should guide our thinking.
      What changes need to be made, and what needs to stay the
      same? Biblical history should “keep us from setting our
      hearts on evil as they did.”)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:7 and Exodus 32:5-6. What historical
      sin should we avoid? (The “calf” was a god made by Aaron.
      God’s people had just seen His incredible power, and now
      they want to worship something Aaron made. How stupid
      could they be?)

      1. None of my Christian friends have erected an idol in
        their backyard and worship (or trust in) it. Is this
        a history lesson that no longer applies?

      2. Do we worship things that we make or purchase?
        (Sometimes I hear silly things. If a person has a
        nice car or house someone who is jealous calls those
        “idols.” The issue is worship: whether we put our
        trust in those things. If those things reflect
        wealth, it is easy to trust wealth.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 10:8 and Numbers 25:1-3. Which sin came
      first: idolatry or sexual immorality? (Engaging in sexual
      immorality with the Moabite women. It was that which led
      to sacrificing before false gods.)

      1. Read Numbers 25:5. Which sin seems to bother God the
        most? (False worship.)

      2. I have often said (in fact I just preached two weeks
        ago) that “all sin is sin.” The argument is that we
        should not pick out certain sins and condemn them
        more vigorously. Am I wrong? Or, is history teaching
        us another lesson? (I could be wrong, and history is
        also teaching us another lesson. I think the history
        lesson is that sexual immorality leads us into other
        sins. In this case, God treats Baal worship as the
        more serious sin.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 10:9-10 and Numbers 21:4-6. What two
      sins does history reveal here? (Grumbling and testing

      1. Grumbling seems pretty obvious. What is “testing”
        God? (This is trying the patience of God. Doing
        things that make God unhappy.)

      2. If you were with us when we studied the book of Job,
        you recall that Job did a lot of complaining about
        God. Job even asked to sue God ( Job 9:32-33), so
        that he could have someone arbitrate their dispute.
        Why does that seem to be fine, and grumbling about
        the food gets you killed ( 1 Corinthians 10:10)? (An
        obvious difference is that the wilderness grumbling
        was about God not taking good enough care of the
        people. The people kept saying that things were
        better when they were slaves. That insulted God.
        Job, on the other hand, argued that God was treating
        him unfairly. Job had done nothing to deserve the
        punishment under which he suffered. God knew that
        this was a reasonable complaint. Job should not have
        been suffering under the normal rules. The history
        lesson about change is that God indulges our
        reasonable complaints. However, we must not grumble
        about His blessings.)

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 10:11-12. What warning do we find in
      history? (That others fell and so could we. We should not
      be arrogant and overconfident.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. What has God promised us with
      regard to temptation?

      1. What does this have to do with change? (We can, by
        the power of the Holy Spirit, withstand temptation.
        Our life change can (and should) be positive and not

  3. Parenting Change

    1. Read Psalms 127:3-5. What is the assumption about children
      and protection? (If you have many sons, you will have
      soldiers to protect you.)

      1. Is this still a relevant issue? (Engaging in physical
        battles on behalf of parents should be rare, but as
        parents get older children can help protect them in
        many other ways.)

    2. Re-read Psalms 127:3. Children are a reward and a
      “heritage from the Lord.” I think heritage means
      “inheritance” in this context. If you are a parent, in
      what way have you found this to be true? (My wife and I
      learned that our children teach us a great deal about God
      and His kindness to us. When our children were rebellious
      or disobedient, we thought about our own rebellion and
      disobedience towards God. It was a remarkable lesson on
      understanding the grace of God.)

      1. How do children change your life? (They change it
        forever. They make life richer and more complicated.)

      2. Read 1 Samuel 3:12-13. What is our obligation with
        regard to our children? (To restrain them. Obviously,
        at some point children make their own choices.
        However, in the case of Eli, he had authority over
        his sons beyond that of being their father.)

  4. Changing Age

    1. In our prior section we discussed how many sons could
      protect you in your old age. Read Psalms 71:9. What is one
      problem that we face with age? (The loss of strength.)

    2. Read Psalms 71:18. What should be our attitude as we age
      and lose strength? (We should teach the next generation
      that power lies in the hands of our God. We can be a
      witness and an example of that.)

    3. Read Psalms 71:23-24. What should be our attitude as we
      grow older? (To shout praises to God. Rather than grumble,
      we should “tell of [God’s] righteous acts all day long.”)

      1. Focus on verse 24. What should we expect is the
        future for those who seek to harm us? (“Shame and

        1. I’m familiar with the theology that we should
          pray for confusion and defeat for our enemies.
          Read Job 31:29-30 and Matthew 5:43-44. How do
          you reconcile these texts?

        2. Here is my history lesson: One time I decided
          to pray for confusion for my enemies in a
          religious liberty case I was arguing in federal
          court. When my opposing counsel entered the
          court, he hit his head on the metal detector
          and fell down. He staggered into the
          courtroom! He was so injured, the judge did not
          make him argue his case. But, the judge found
          (and made) even better arguments against us and
          dismissed our case!

    4. Friend, when it comes to change we need to look to the
      lessons about how God has led in the past. We need to seek
      his will and cheerfully trust Him. Will you agree to make
      that your goal?

  5. Next week: When Alone.