Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are 1 Corinthians 9-11
1 Corinthians 9 Lays out a Biblical case as to why we should support local ministries that we benefit from as well as others that YHWH puts on our heart to support. However, as Paul points out (and to his great credit) he does not ask for nor does he accept support from the fellowships he teaches in order to be able to resist even the temptation or the ability for anyone to say that he takes advantage of that.
As we read in Acts 18:3, Paul was a tentmaker and in Acts 28:30 we also see that he paid his own way. The point of this passage should not be overlooked, though, that a worker deserves his wages and we are honor bound by our commitment to the Father to make sure that our ministers and such are taken care of. On the flipside of that, though, they bear, for their part, a serious responsibility not to abuse this support. Each side should rely on the guidance of the Father.
1 Cor 9:21 is a bit of a pretzel sentence. One commentary I had spent several pages going over this one sentence. I simply looked up the interlinear on Biblehub to see what the actual text said and then lined that up with the truth of YHWH’s word and I was fine moving on with my reading.
1 Corinthians 10 is filled with warnings that we not become complacent and think that we are not at risk of falling prey to temptation nor being found displeasing to YHWH. If our spiritual ancestors witnessed the plagues, visibly saw the hand of YHWH part the sea, followed the cloud by day and fire by night, wore clothes that did not wear out for forty years, ate manna rained down from Heaven, and yet even with that experience, they still fell into grumbling and idolatry, how much more prone are we to the same fate?
1 Cor 10:6 states Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.
As my friend, Miss Margie states: “A lot of people think that just because something is in the Bible that’s what you’re supposed to do. But if they’d read the Bible they’d see that a lot of what is in there is put there to tell us what we are not supposed to do.”
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 1 Cor 10:14-15
We need to pause for a moment on this and I need to tell you, outright and as bluntly as I can: If you are reading this, if you are drawing breath, you are prone to idolatry. Paul was not speaking to a minority here. He was not calling out some rare behavior. He clearly states that he is speaking to sensible people and what is his advice? FLEE from idolatry. This is an active verb and our behavior regarding idolatry should be an active fleeing from it, knowing that we are prone, knowing that we have practiced it and are likely practicing it in some (or many) forms right now. This is definitely something which we should ruminate on for our own sakes and out of love and reverence for our Father.
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? 1 Cor 10:21-22
This doesn’t need me to expound upon it but I wanted to make sure I highlighted this verse for us.
In the second half of chapter 10, Paul is again addressing what is a persistent problem of people being concerned about food that had been offered to idols. Note that this is still not a conversation about eating unclean things or what is not deemed food according to YHWH but rather what is considered food but that food having been offered or sacrificed in the name of idols. Paul even talks about how he abstains from food that he is fully free to eat if he feels it will cause another brother to stumble, because that brother may think it is not okay to eat.
Take note that in doing this Paul is not breaking any of YHWH’s commandments but he is seeking to put himself on the same level as or to make himself more approachable to his brother by showing a respect for their beliefs as they grow and mature in the Word of YHWH. Another example is that our dear friends, Miss Margie and Mr Mason, used to own an rv park. They have kept Sabbath for a very long time and so they refrained from cutting the grass on Sabbath. However, on Sunday, Mr Mason also refrained from cutting the grass as they knew their neighbors saw that as wrong in their eyes and their faith. Mr Mason would have been free to do this from a Biblical standpoint but he chose, instead, to use his freedom to humble himself and show respect to his neighbors. Paul is relaying a similar situation here.
1 Cor 10:32 At the onset this passage seems to give a shoutout to a modern denomination but the real meaning makes a lot more sense. In denoting Jews, Gentiles, and the Ekklesia of YHWH (remember ekklesia means a group of believers or set apart ones), Paul is speaking of three specific groups. Jews are those who do not yet believe in Messiah, but live according to the Torah with their own manmade doctrine added in. Gentiles are the Greeks or pagans, idol worshippers. They also do not yet believe in Messiah. The Ekklesia denotes all of those who believe in Yeshua, the Messiah and seek to follow YHWH. This group includes Messianics of all sorts, whether they be Jews or Greeks. They are, collectively, the ekklesia or church of YHWH.
The head covering thing in 1 Corinthians 11
We need to start by going back to what YHWH’s word says about head coverings. Early on we are told that high priests had certain head coverings that they were to wear at all times when serving in the temple. In Leviticus 21:10 we are told that the high priest was not to remove his head covering even when mourning for a loved one.
We are also told that David and others covered their heads as a show of humility in 2 Samuel 15:30. Elders of Israel put dust on their heads as a sign of mourning and anguish while petitioning YHWH in Joshua 7:6.
While there is no direct commandment from YHWH for us to cover our heads outside of the priesthood, we do see this being done as a willing sign of submission and humility towards Him.
Now let us go back to what was going on in the time that Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians. He has been addressing their lewd behavior, their high handed sin and rebellion towards Messiah, and their propensity towards idolatry, which is of course rebellion towards YHWH. These are a people who are having a hard time humbling themselves, recognizing YHWH’s authority, and remembering that they are no longer of the world they are supposedly seeking to leave behind in their pursuit of the life of a Believer.
Now, at this time worshippers of idols and certain “gods” in temples had a habit of dressing as members of the opposite sex while performing certain rituals in the temple, this is possibly where the admonition against men having long hair came from as we know that Paul himself took a Nazarite vow at one time and part of that vow was not to cut your hair. So we know that men did have long hair at times during this culture and most surely men of YHWH under a Nazarite vow (think of Sampson) would have as well.
My point is that these are not new commandments from YHWH applied to the whole of YHWH’s people nor are they across the board condemnations. But to these people, wayward in their behavior and young in their faith, these are markers of wisdom given to them to help them to humble themselves and remember whose authority they should strive to put themselves under. Notice that in 1 Cor 11:2 he commends them for maintaining the traditions he had delivered to them. The original word for this denotes traditions of Jewish law or Jewish tradition, rather than YHWH’s law. In this case, he was likely referring to the fence laws our Jewish brethren put around commandments in order to prevent folks from getting close to breaking actual commandments. Paul was raised and educated in these practices and no doubt sought to use them as one of the tools in his teaching arsenal to help these people overcome persistent spiritual problems.
Having said that, is it wrong for a brother or sister to cover their head as a sign for others or reminder to themselves that they are under the authority of YHWH? Absolutely not. Is it wrong for a brother or sister not to cover their head? Nope. Is it wrong for us to fight about this topic? Yes. Paul Himself warns us not to be contentious about this in 1 Cor 11:16 when he says essentially “If anyone wants to argue about this, we don’t have this custom in our churches and nor do any of the other fellowships among believers”.
If we have time to judge others by how they dress, whether they cover their head or not, whether they keep the Feasts or not, whether they eat according to what YHWH has deemed to be food or is not to be food for us – we are clearly not investing the time needed to make sure we, ourselves, are living according to our Father’s Word and Will.
Regardless, each one should lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is what I prescribe in all the churches. 1 Cor 7:17
Let us strive to live in such a way that brings honor to our Father this week and all others to come!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!