1 Kings 12:28-30: After seeking advice, the king (Jeroboam) made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.
I came across reading this the other day and I was taken aback. Here the Israelites are over 500 years after the Exodus out of Egypt and out of slavery and they are worshipping golden calves in place of God the “I Am” who commanded them back in Exodus that “you shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Did they forget about their ancestor’s punishment in Exodus 32 for making a golden calf? Did they forget about the constant examples leading up to this time of what grumbling and complaining and not trusting in God’s power got them? Looks like it.
Yes the Israelites were under the direction of a wicked king, King Jeroboam. The Bible doesn’t tell us that he threatened the people under penalty of death, although that was probably a real concern. However, even with the king’s power, he had to “spin” what he presenting to the people. The king said “it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem.” It’s TOO much… interesting isn’t it? It’s too much to make the effort, it’s too much to go ALL the way to Jerusalem to honor the God of your fathers, it’s too much to take the time out of your busy days to leave and worship God. Think of the lack of productivity you will have, think of the time commitment, here’s an easier option for you. Here’s an option that looks “just as good” as the real thing. The verse continues that “this thing became a sin” once the people went to worship the golden calves. The offer itself from the king wasn’t a sin of the people until they ACTED upon it and took the shortcut. This compromise led to a series of compromises, which if you read further, led to the fall of Jeroboam and his entire house.
Compromise tempts us all with an easier way of doing things than what we know is right. Compromise seeks for us to take the easy road, to not strive or work hard for what is important. Today, we do not compromise in terms of physical idols but think in your life of how compromise can keep you from obedience to God. We miss out on going to church because of other commitments we place as a priority. We don’t read the Bible because “I’ve read it before” or “I don’t have the time.” We neglect the calling of God on our life and do not walk in it because it is hard and we feel ill-equipped. With compromise… we settle….
Don’t settle, don’t compromise, and don’t take the easy road. Make time, REAL time, to seek our Creator and find out from Him the direction he wants you to go. Hard or not, the rewards are worth it to walk in obedience to God. I like the way the Message Bible talks about the narrow road in Matthew 7:14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life- to God! – is vigorous and requires total attention.”
I guarantee you will never regret choosing to obey God fully and not compromise on His Word. Are you scared of a challenge? Don’t be. Choosing God means that He will see you through, you will have to put in the effort and it won’t be easy, but he will be there to fulfill His promises to you and see them to completion, for His glory, Hallelujah.
Discerning reflection- How am I not walking in obedience to God? What shortcuts do I make with my relationship to God? What idols do I have in my life that are more important to me than God?
Prayer: God, you know my heart, forgive me for compromises I have made that limit my relationship with you. Help me not seek anything above you in my life. Give me discernment in my decisions and help me choose the narrow road that leads to You. Amen.