The question I often find myself asking when I read the stories and history contained in the Hebrew scriptures (aka Old Testament) is this: why was this story preserved? What lesson, what instruction, what insight am I expected to gain from reading this passage. The stories of Genesis and Numbers, the history of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles were not preserved at random. These stories and histories are intended to teach future generations something essential about God, about the life of faith, about how we are to live our lives. Paul begins chapter 10 by recounting some of the lessons from Israel's history. God has formed a people for himself (1-5) and the people shared things in common -- common experience of the red sea, common experience of water from the rock, and the common experience of eating manna. There are negative examples as well -- the people were rebellious, stiff necked, immoral and idolatrous and what happened to them in the wilderness should serve as a reminder to us.
Paul goes on to explain another reason why idolatry is so very bad. We are partakers of the body and blood of Christ through Christian communion. Sacrifices offered in pagan temples are offered to false gods (even demons - 20). What communion does the Son of God have with demons? When we make our choice to follow Jesus we need to do so whole heartedly and free of previous encumbrances.
Finally Paul lays down a vital principle of the Christian life (one that I will preach about on September 16 at Christ Church). We need to do all that we do to the glory of God. Various things motivate us and various emotions inform and dictate divers aspects of our lives. As Christ followers there is no distinction between the sacred and the secular. Everything is spiritual and everything we have, do, say, engage in, etc. -- literally everything -- influences our spiritual growth or lack there of. There is no line between what we do "for a living" and the life to which we are called. If I am a dentist or a line worker in a factory I need to do what I do to my very best and offer it all to the glory of God. When we eat we eat with thanksgiving to God. When we drink we drink with thanksgiving to God. When we work we work with thanksgiving to God. When we play we play with thanksgiving to God. "So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God (10:31)."