God promised Abram that He would make him into a great nation, bless him, make his name (Abraham) great and that all peoples on earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:2,3). The promise implied that he and Sarai would have offspring. Years later when God spoke to him in a vision, he despairingly shared his childless situation and the reality that all he owned would go to his servant Eliezer. But God said Elizer would not be his heir and that his descendants would one day be like the stars—too many to count. Again, Abram believed God (15:1-6).
The years piled up and Sarah became an old woman. “Abram’s wife Sarai had not borne any children for him, but she owned an Egyptian slave named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, ‘Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.’ And Abram agreed to what Sarai said” (16:1,2). As a result of consensual sex, Hagar bore her 86-year-old master a son, Ishmael. This was not the child God intended to carry out His promise. Consequently, when Sarai finally gave birth to Isaac, he arrived into a family seeded in conflict.
The English word compromise is not found in Scripture, but the concept exists throughout God’s Word. When God gives us a promise or instruction, it is our responsibility and privilege to believe and obey Him. Abram and Sarai’s inability to look past their aging caused them to question God. Compromise focuses on the problem and is based upon doubt. Tired of waiting on a covenant that looked increasingly fictitious, Sarai went to her husband with her own remedy. Compromise relies on human ingenuity instead of God’s solution. Had Abram asked God if his offspring would come through Hagar, the Lord would have told him no. Compromise offers an immediate remedy without regard for long-term implications. Twelve rulers would descend from Ishmael. Many scholars believe he is the Arab’s progenitor, a civilization at constant enmity with the Jews.
Compromise is all about making concessions. In essence, we sacrifice what is absolutely right for what is relatively convenient. We surrender what is best for what is good. Has God asked you to do something that seems too difficult? Don’t give up! Trust Him. Has God allowed you to be uncomfortable without seeing His blessing? Be steadfast—don’t relinquish what you know to be right to gain respite. God’s promises are based on His power. To rely on our reasoning at the expense of trusting Him is like settling for a roman candle and missing the northern lights.
Whenever you meet with difficulties, whether they are intellectual or circumstantial or physical, remain loyal to God. Don’t compromise. If you do, everyone around you will suffer from your faithlessness, because you are disloyal to Jesus Christ and His way of looking at things.—Oswald Chambers inThe Place of Help
©2004 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)