In this final installment of "Plagued by Plagues?" we are going to look at the last plague in Exodus 8. In part one of this series we looked at the "Plague of Overbundance", and in part two we explored the "Plague of Improper Perspective." Part three will focus on . . . the "Plague of Compromise."
The Plague of Compromise
In Exodus 8, verses 20-30, Moses asks Pharaoh to let the Israelites travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to God. However, the stubborn pharaoh does not let them go per God's instructions, so true to His word, God sent swarms of flies to descend on the Egyptian officials and citizens.
The fly infestation was enough to get Pharaoh thinking that he needed to do some rethinking. So, he went back to the negotiation table with Moses in order to discuss the terms of God's desert sacrificing session. Per God's instructions, Moses asked for three days journey into the desert, but Pharaoh makes this offer:
"I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the desert, but you must not go very far" (Exodus 8:28 NIV).
Pharaoh was going to let them go, but not as fully as God prescribed . . .Pharaoh wanted to compromise which is tantamount to disobedience in God's world.
Compromise is everywhere . . . even in the pages of the Bible. In Samuel 8, the Isrealites dismissed godly leadership because they wanted an earthly king (instead of the Divine Leader) to rule over them. Samuel warned them of the sacrifices they would have to make if they chose a monarch from among the tribes. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and go out before us and fight battles" (1 Samuel 8:19-20). They had lost sight of the fact that God had already proven He could do all that they desired from the control room of heaven. Their compromise cost them God's leadership.
Acts 5:1-11, tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira who compromised the truth. They lied about giving all the proceeds from the sale of some property to the Apostles; they kept part of the promised money for themselves. " What made you think of such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts 5:4). Their compromise of truth cost them their lives.
In 1 Samuel 13, Saul, the first king of Israel, finds compromise lurking in his thoughts under the guise of impatience. As his army was preparing to fight the Philistines, Saul waited for Samuel to arrive to offer the burnt and fellowship offerings, but the king's impatience got the best of him; he performed the sacrifices himself. Saul compromised what he knew was right in order to satisfy his inability to wait. "'You acted foolishly," Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time'" (1 Samuel 13:13). Saul's compromise cost him his kingdom.
Compromise comes in all shapes and sizes. We see it affecting truth, faith, morals, obedience, a person's word, and love. Compromise causes people to act in ways that reflect their earthly imperfections instead of elevating our perfect God. None of us will ever be perfect in this life, but through God we can be righteous if we don't succumb to the Plague of Compromise.
When it comes to serious compromise, I am not talking about insignificant things that it's OK to "agree to disagree" on or devise strategies to keep the peace. But, in God's kingdom there are many things that are not open to debate. Things like the virgin birth and Jesus' equality with God are truths based on divine fact. However, attributes such as truth should reign supreme in the life of a believer, as should honoring God, and not falling victim to our emotions which often times deceive us.
There is always a cost for compromise. If we set aside our wedding vows, our marriages will pay the price. Divorce may not be the end result, but tension and even a lack intimacy will creep in. When we lower our standards, we sacrifice integrity. And when we compromise the things of God, we throw obedience on the negotiation table. Yes, compromise is a dangerous thing, but our God is a big God. Being less than perfect beings, we are going to make mistakes, but as long as we seek forgiveness and try not establish a pattern of compromise in our everyday lives, we can lessen the negative effects. And better yet, as we grow as Christians we will discover that our urges to make unhealthy concessions will diminish.
However, in the meantime if you find yourself struggling with Plague of Compromise do not let it go untreated. Find a spiritual accountability partner and absorb the support they can offer. If you are struggling with specific symptoms, find a Bible story about someone with the same problem. You will either find yourself inspired by their victory or horrified by their consequences (like Ananias and Sapphira.) Either way, you will be actively seeking a way to address your urge to compromise.
No matter what plague is plaguing you, whether it is the Plague of Overabundance, of Improper Perspective, or the Plague of Compromise (or one we've not discussed) the head of your spiritual family is the Great Physician; we always have a doctor in the house! Plus, most of us have access the best spiritual medical guide . . . the Bible. It has all the answers to whatever ails you so remember, healing is always available when you find yourself, "plagued by plagues."