The high-achievers of this world have many of the same run-of-the-mill problems that everybody experiences. Going to the moon did not change the kind of person that Neil Armstrong would have been anywhere: withdrawn and enigmatic, a puzzling person who just wanted to be alone, as he was described.
It is the same with others. Their fame, the fortune, the academic and professional accomplishments have not proved to be an advantage to help them avoid the very kinds of things that trouble us, so all of their accomplishments, their fame, and their money are not the solutions. They have these things, yet they face the same kinds of problems. In most cases, they cannot meet them well. So, having more brains, money, ease, and fame has not insulated them from divorce, withdrawn and alienated children, emotional breakdowns, and health problems.
By "common," used here in verse 13, God means that the problems are nothing exceptional. They are not beyond the powers of endurance. The word translated "taken" or "overtaken" adds to our understanding of the kind of problem. It is written in the perfect tense and indicates a lasting condition—something one has to deal with every day, a chronic problem. It just does not go away.
"Escape" indicates a way out of a defile, a tight spot, as if surrounded. The word "temptation" is one of the more interesting ones in this whole series of verses because, interestingly, it indicates something designed and unavoidable. It suggests a trial that could become a temptation—something that has been designed and is unavoidable rather than being merely a difficult happenstance, such as a "time and chance" occurrence. It is a test such as a teacher would give. One cannot avoid tests when a student in school.
Overall, because God is faithful, it shows that we can successfully meet our difficulties in life, so there is a great deal of assurance here for those whom God has called. It leaves those He has not called out of this assurance. Life is difficult, but being a high-achiever in this world does not guarantee that one will escape difficulty.
The lessons of the Feast of Pentecost have a great deal to do with pointing us in the right direction to enable us to endure and overcome these lasting, chronic problems common to mankind.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Rejoice in What We Are
There is no need for us to fail. Trials and tests will come—and they will be common tests. They will not be something so unusual that our situation will be absolutely unique. But God is faithful in that He promises to provide us a way out of it—not avoiding it, but through it.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10
This passage appears in the midst of an epistle detailing the problems of a tumultuous congregation. Paul draws on the experiences of Israel in the wilderness as examples to us. He concludes by telling them, despite what manner of sin each individual was involved in, to turn their attention to overcoming idolatry. In others words, idolatry sat at the foundation and was ultimately the cause of whatever their sin happened to be.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment
This verse warns that we who are God's people must not presume, while there is still time for us to get in shape, that, because God has not come down on us like a ton of bricks, everything is fine with our character and attitudes.
Paul includes this verse in a context that lists three or four of Israel's outstanding sins (I Corinthians 10:6-10). Could the ancient Israelites have also thought that they were in good standing when they were not? Were they presuming something? The answer is likely, yes, they showed a careless presumption by their lack of concern about works—by their belief that God is so merciful that He will accept any old attitudes and behaviors and just overlook their sins. However, by doing that, God would not be showing love because the people would not be prepared for the Kingdom of God. Without that preparation, they would not fit into the culture around them and would be absolutely miserable in the Kingdom of God.
The presumption that Paul is talking about is the same flaw that appears in the Laodicean's thinking, revealed when he says, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing" (Revelation 3:17). The members of the Laodicean church felt very good about themselves, but everything was not all right. Their self-satisfaction reveals that their self-evaluation is far from reality, which is that God threatens to vomit them out (verse 16)! We can see what the sin of a Laodicean is. It is presumption, a product of their self-satisfaction that everything is okay.
Because of his lack of faith in the knowledge of God, the Laodicean is deceived into thinking, as Ezekiel 8:12 says, "The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land." In other words, he believes that God does not care. But God has always cared—not even for one second since Adam and Eve has He stopped caring!
We must never overlook the principle in Ecclesiastes 8:11: "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." People presume that everything is okay with the way they are acting. There is a flaw in human nature that persuades men to think that, if God does not immediately punish, He must approve. Yet, do we ever consider that God's non-punishment may very well be the trial that He has imposed on us to see if we will pass it and make the necessary changes ourselves?
John W. Ritenbaugh
Does Doctrine Really Matter? (Part Four)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing 1 Corinthians 10:12: