Costly Compromise

Justin Smith


1 Chronicles 21:1-8

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.”But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord's servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?”But the king's word prevailed against Joab…But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.


Have you ever purchased something new, whether a car, pair of shoes, or a shiny new electronic gadget and your goal was to keep that new toy safe and clean as long as possible? You find yourself wiping it down daily, and every smudge or finger print is removed instantly. The first scratch is like a dagger to your soul, as you gaze in devastation at what was once pristine. As time passes, though, one scratch turns to many, and before you know it, it’s been weeks since you last wiped it down, months since you noticed the last new scratch, and the dirtier it’s gotten the less you seem to care. Often our soul can be the same way. When we’re consistently doing our devotions and in tune with His Spirit, every sin and shortcoming hurts and is quickly dealt with, but as time passes and busyness takes over, compromise sets in and a few days of missed devotions inevitably turns to weeks. Compromise compounds upon itself, and before you realize it, you have drifted far from God and the dirtier your heart has gotten the less you seem to care.

This, for some strange reason, came to mind as I read today’s passage in 1 Chronicles. David made a mistake, a seemingly tiny, miniscule sin, which he and his people would pay for dearly. Satan tempted him to take a census, whether motivated by pride or selfishness, he neglected God’s word and gave in. One small stumble punished by 3 days of plagues where 70,000 died. Why this harsh consequence for a minor lapse in judgment? I wonder. I wonder if it’s because God knew David’s propensity to straying. I wonder if He knew that if the consequence wasn’t stringent the repentance wouldn’t be lasting? I wonder if He knew that if this compromise was overlooked a complacency of disobedience would take root allowing his pure heart and soul to get more and more tainted by more compromise? I wonder if it’s because “to whom much is given much is expected”? Whatever the case may be, God wasn’t going to just let it slide because He had a greater purpose in mind, which required an unwavering obedience and steadfast heart.

  1. I must not allow my passion for purity to waver, understanding that compromise is enemy number 1. Tolerating compromise leads to further sin and a heart that quickly strays from God. Each time I stumble, I must make a conscious decision to recalibrate back to Him. Mistakes are inevitable, but I must be quick to remedy them, repent, and return to God. I must continue to make time with God my number 1 priority, allowing Him to transform my heart and mind. Compromise is costly, impacting not only myself but those around me.
  1. As a leader asked to shepherd others, I must discern a way to acknowledge the fact that there are consequences to our sins while balancing the gift of grace given by God. We must have a sober awareness of the impact our compromises have on our relationship with Jesus, our loved ones, and our calling, all tempered with an understanding of His amazing grace. Both are critical to living a life that pleases God.

Heavenly Father,

May I never find myself content with compromise, but may I be one who pursues purity. Please also teach me to know when it’s time to draw lines and build bridges; when grace must be given and when a sobering understanding of consequences will lead us to repentance. Please give me an understanding of the cost of compromise. I choose to live committed to the calling you have given me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Devotions for May 13

2 Samuel 24
1 Chronicles 21
Psalms 30
1 Thessalonians 2

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