November 6, 2008
The High Cost of Compromise
1 Kings 11
We all occasionally succumb to a case of the “I’d never-s”: I’d never cheat on my spouse, I’d never steal from an employer,
I’d never betray a friend, etc. While uttering the words, we are confident of living up to them. What believers often don’t realize is that the journey from I’d never to I did is made up of small steps, each one a compromise.
A young, spiritually fervent Solomon certainly would have said, “I’d never be a lust-driven slave to false gods.” Yet he ended his life with a multitude of wives and lovers who demanded his allegiance to their deities. Neglecting the laws and principles of the true God cost him dearly.
Solomon knew all the warnings against marrying foreigners: “They will turn your sons away from following [God] to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you” (Deut. 7:4). But the political advantages of an alliance with Egypt convinced him to compromise those high standards (1 Kings 3:1). The fact that God didn’t instantly react to his rebellion must have made rationalizing the next marriage even easier—after all, a nation was more secure if its king’s harem included daughters of potential enemies. But just as God foretold, Solomon’s thousand-strong harem lured his heart away. He broke a divine covenant and forfeited his family’s claim to Israel’s throne.
God’s commands are meant to protect us from sin and heartache. Compromise can look tempting and even advantageous, but taking one step off the high road makes the next step even easier.
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