Things that overthrow God’s people.

Things That Overthrow God’s People (1 Corinthians 10:1-15) 

In this lesson we will look at specific things that overthrew the children of Israel in the wilderness and make spiritual applications for us today. In the church age when a person is saved they receive the gift of eternal life. Therefore they are eternally secure. This gives some Christians the wrong idea. Some think that because they cannot lose their salvation that they cannot be overthrown. But the truth of the matter is that while a saved person cannot lose their salvation they can lose their testimony, witness and rewards. There are many saved born again people right now who never pray, read their bibles, or attend church anywhere. They have been overthrown by temptation and sin.

In the passage for the lesson are some very verses that are quoted many times by saved people. Verse 13 and verse 12 are just two of them.  These verses are great verses to quote by themselves but we must remember that they are in a context. The context here is things that overthrew the children of Israel in the wilderness and how that these things were recorded for our example.

The best thing is to learn from the experience of others. This way we do not have to suffer the consequences ourselves but can still learn the lesson. Let us therefore take heed as verse 12 says and learn about the things that overthrew Israel in the wilderness so that it does not happen to us.

Things that overthrew Israel in the wilderness:

1)  They lusted after evil things. (verse 6)

  • In Numbers 11:4 we see that the children of Israel along with the mixed multitude began to lust for the food that they had eaten in Egypt.
  • While there was nothing wrong with the food by itself God had better food he was taking them to. In Numbers 11:5 there are six foods that they were lusting after. In Deuteronomy 8:8 there are seven foods that God had for them in the promise land.
  • As saved people many times we lust after things that may not be evil themselves but God has something better for us if we would just be willing to wait on him. For example, husbands, wives, jobs, ministries, homes, vehicles etc. If we are not careful the lust of these things will overthrow us as it did the children of Israel.
  • Remember that in the case of Israel wanting the food of Egypt God gave them quails to eat. But he said that they would eat so much of them that they would become sick. The worst thing God can do sometimes when we are lusting after evil things is to give us exactly what we want.

2)  They became idolaters. (verse 7)

  • While Moses was up on the mount receiving the law that Israel had agreed to do, the children of Israel got impatient and made golden calf and worshipped it in the place of God (Exodus 32:1-6).
  • Saved people in America don’t think too much about idolatry today because they are not bowing down or worshipping statues. But idolatry has many different forms.
  • In any we put in the place of God is an idol. Anything that we put before God is an idol. For example sports, cars, homes, careers, money, sex, drugs, etc. Isn’t funny in America that people worship celebrities like movie stars, and when these movie stars are rewarded at the Oscar’s they are given a golden statue that looks like a man. Ironic isn’t it.
  • Saved people can learn a lesson from Israel. This is why verse 14 is an important part of the context. Note, it tells us to flee from idolatry.

3)  They committed fornication. (verse 8)

  • In Numbers 25 we see the result of Balaam’s counsel to Balak. God would not allow Balaam to curse Israel as Balak had hoped he would. Therefore he told Balak that if his people would go and marry the children of Israel God would destroy them because he had forbidden them to marry other nations.
  • This is what happened and God sent a plague among the children of Israel that killed 24000 of them.
  • Fornication has destroyed homes, families and the lives of children all over America in the last century. Now it is even spreading among churches all over America. It is a shame that God’s people are being overthrown by this sin everyday.
  • We should take special note of what 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 has to say about the subject.

4)  They tempted Jesus. (verse 9)

  • In Numbers 21:4-12 the children of Israel were discouraged because of the way and complained against God and Moses.
  • Could you imagine after all that God had delivered the children of Israel from and all the miracles that God had done before them that they could speak against God. Saved people do the same thing today. We speak against God when we get discouraged, mad or impatient just as the children of Israel did. The truth is we should be glad that God doesn’t deal with us as he did Israel in the Old Testament.

5)  They murmured against God, Moses and Aaron. (verse 10)

  • In Numbers 14:2,29 we see that God connected the murmuring of the children of Israel with not getting to go into the promised land.
  • Every one of us have murmured against those in leadership against over us. But we must be careful as this is one of the things that overthrow God’s people.

Now we come to verse 12 in the study. As saved people if we are not careful we will think I would never do those things listed in the passage. That is why verse 12 says, “wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”. That is a great verse on pride. Pride makes us think that we are doing just fine when in reality we are in the process of being overthrown and don not even know it.


Things That Overthrow God’s People (1 Corinthians 10:1-15)



1)  List some key verses in this passage and why they are important for us in regards to this lesson.


2)  Make an outline for five things that overthrow God’s people from the passage.


3)  Why is verse 12 important in connection to the context of this passage?