Here, Paul begins a lesson about the people whom Moses led. Those people had been slaves in Egypt, but God made them free. However, as free people, they did not serve God. They served their own wrong desires and wrong emotions. In other words, they did whatever they wanted to do. The result was that God was not pleased with them. Almost all of them died in the desert. They never entered the country that God had promised to their nation.
Paul could see that many Christians were starting to have the same wrong attitudes. God had made them free, but they cared only to please themselves. They did not really want to serve God or to show his love to other people.
Paul had to warn them that God would not be pleased with their selfish behaviour. It was a hard lesson for those Christians. They thought that their lives did please God. He had saved them when they began their relationship with him. He was present in their lives by his Holy Spirit. They had gone through the ceremony called baptism to show that they had a new life with Christ.
However, the people whom Moses led had similar experiences. In fact, their experiences had been actual, physical experiences. They really were slaves whom God had made free. They really did pass between the waters of the Red Sea. God really was present with them in a cloud as they travelled through the desert called Sinai.
Clearly, God can be angry even with people who have received his freedom. The fact that he is present in their lives makes their wrong, selfish attitudes even more serious.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.