10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
And so begins a sad chapter. Paul is committed to running the race and finishing strong but not everyone is. Tracing the history of his people he begins to show that it's more than possible to drop out of the race.
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt and God sent Moses to lead them in the race to freedom. Jesus Himself made sure they knew that their deliverance was supernatural. It was possible to explain away the plagues as some kind of series of flukes. Perhaps nature just got out of balance for a bit. Maybe it was a magic trick of some sort. Maybe it was all just coincidence. However when they got to the Red Sea and it opened and closed for them while destroying the entire Egyptian army they knew this was not humanly explainable. On top of that a mysterious pillar of cloud went ahead of them all day and then became a pillar of fire at night. Clearly God was leading them.
Paul describes these supernatural manifestations of God a baptism. They were literally immersed in His presence. They were fully submerged in what He was doing. Sadly for most of them it had no personal effect. They saw and experienced what He was doing but it made no internal change.
The same happened well over a thousand years later when Jesus came to earth as one of us. The children of Israel saw Him. They touched Him. They observed miracles. They could clearly see He was no ordinary man. Even the weather submitted to Him. Yet most people were not impacted in any meaningful way. They "passed through the water", dried off and kept on living as if they had never seen Him.
Are we the same or different? Is His presence in our lives and the evidence of His reality drawing us and changing us or are we passing by as if He does not really exist? Paul entered the stream of what God was doing. His life was a continual offering to God. He lived by Him and for Him.
Are we in the race or just spectators? Are we walking with Jesus or just letting Him walk by?