Conformity, Compromise and the Heart
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My Bible reading this week included 1 Kings 3:1-15, which tells the story of the beginning of Solomon’s reign — and compromise.
  1. 1 Kings 3:1 tells of his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter, a compromise conforming to the customs of the day.
  2. 1 Kings 3:3 tells us that “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.” The latter was a compromise, conforming to the customs of the day.
  3. 1 Kings 3:4 tells of his going to Gibeon, “the great high place,” and offering “a thousand burnt offerings.”

Sounds like a lot of significant compromise to me. How about your? What would we have said to Solomon in this situation, if we had been given the opportunity?

How did God deal with Solomon? (Review 1 Kings 3:5-8) The story is familiar, but had you noticed the setting of conformity and compromise before? (I had not.)

This is no recommendation of conformity and compromise, but it should help us put things in perspective. Perhaps the critical clause is, “Solomon loved the Lord.”
I’m still thinking about the ramifications …. Perhaps this should serve to caution us in how we look at and interact with those we think are compromising.

Man looks at the outward appearance, 
but the LORD looks at the heart.
(1 Samuel 16:7)

 

 

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Conformity, Compromise and the Heart — 13 Comments

  1. Inge,

    Thank you for pointing that out. It got me to think.

    There seems to me to be a whole raft of questions that could be asked. One of them is what Solomon meant when he told the Lord, "I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in" (1Ki 3:7 NKJ). To what extent did he understand the compromise he was involved in? Another question that comes to mind is to what extent the influence of his father had on him and how much did his advisers in the kings court influence him? Also what about the social and religious environment within his own country?

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    • sadly we still can let compromise sneak up on us. If we have to 'justify' what we want to do it is most likely wrong.

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  2. I love your point, Inge. God did not see fit to come down on Solomon as soon as he began to compromise. He loved the Lord, and I suppose the best thing that could have happened would be if Solomon's love for the Lord had grown and deepened to the point where he could see his compromises for what they were and be disgusted with both them and himself.

    Sadly, Solomon's compromises continued and multiplied to the point where (if we trace from cause to effect) he ultimately ruined the nation of Israel -- provided we take the liberty to consider the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities as ruin. So, I can't see any reason here to take the matter of compromise any less seriously. I reckon it comes down to seeing and following our heavenly Father's example, when it comes to dealing with those who (we can clearly see) are in serious error and who may be on a seriously wrong path. Thanks for the thought-provoking article.

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  3. When Solomon asked for an understaning heart to be able to descern between good and bad, it appears to me he asked so that he can be an effective leader to others , but failed to use the same leadership wisdom to himself so as to avoid a pattern of a life of compromise. My question, if you sincerly love God as it is stated Solomon did, how then is it possible that one commits a series of compromises? Did he really loved God or was it convinient love? Lastly , are there any necessary compromises( e.g Jesus healing someone on Sabbath day) that are inevatable in regard to our relationship with God?

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    • Seth, I believe the answer is that Solomon really loved the Lord at the beginning of his reign. Then, gradually, he focused more on self and less on God, and that led to his terrible fall into apostasy.

      My take-away from this instance was that God did not demand absolute perfection from Solomon before blessing him -- as we might have. If Solomon had continued to love the Lord as he did at that time, God would have led him on safe paths, and Solomon would probably have taken down the high places where the people worshiped, once the temple was established.

      But that did not happen, because Solomon stopped putting God first in his life ... every so gradually, most likely.

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    • Good questions, Seth, and well said, Inge. Just a short comment... Jesus' healing on the Sabbath was decidedly NOT a compromise. He had a deep purpose in everything that He did. Here, He was clearly teaching us that a deeper insight into the true intent of the Sabbath will lead us to the realization that relieving the sufferings of others is one of the very most important uses which we ought to be making of those holy hours, each week.

      I think we've GOT to look at it this way, unless we really wish to second the accusations of the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus was a sinner!

      Well, I guess that also answers the question as to whether or not it is ever necessary to compromise with evil. With evil? Well, in this context, what else does the word "compromise" mean, if not compromise with evil?

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      • Excellent response R.G.
        One cannot compromise with good. The essence of compromise is indicative of evil intent.

        Again you are right with Jesus' action on the Sabbath. Sin was not found in Him ever so He could not have "compromised". Solomon, however, compromised his "love" and his actions manifested his heart's separation from God's love.

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        • I believe it's a bit harsh to say that "the essence of compromise is evil intent." Only God can judge the intention of the heart. It's not our business, and that was precisely the point of my post.

          Solomon was in a compromised position, but he had no evil intent in his heart. In fact, his heart was right towards the Lord, and the Lord looked at the heart, instead of the outward evidence of compromise.

          It should teach us not to judge others too harshly.

          At the same time, it's no excuse for us personally to engage in compromise. If we know it's compromise, we know it's sin. Judging by what the Bible says about Solomon's heart at the beginning of his reign, it appears to me that Solomon was not conscious of any compromise.

          If he had continued to walk with God, God would have revealed to Solomon what he still needed to change.

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  4. I agree with you. Thank you for your insight. Circumstantial compromise is beyond one's control. I believe intentional compromise is likened to presumptuous or premeditated sinning.
    We humans don't know the true intentions as you rightly said. This is a prerogative of God we must respect.

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    • Dear h.Swearine,

      I believe that you missed Inge's point. While compromise means compromise with evil, one may slide into a compromised position without evil intent. One may not have realized just how wrong (i.e. how compromising) his or her decisions were. However, to say that compromise is beyond one's control would be to attempt an excuse for sin. A balanced view is key here. Let's not judge others, and let's not try to excuse sin either. May God bless you.

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  5. The wisdom of God in loving man to so desire His salvation is cause for the deepest admiration of man for his creator.

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