We noted in our prior lesson:
1. Pharaoh's reactions to God's instructions are typical of man today.
Pharaoh wanted to compromise with God; he was rebelliously determined to stay in control. It wasn't until he was broken that he relented. Those today who claim to be followers of Christ may struggle to submit their wills to the heavenly Father's. It is difficult to turn loose of self and submit to another. Yet we must submit to God! Many humans will not yield to another until there is a realization of their own complete helplessness. And that is a critical point we need to reflect upon some more in this lesson.
2. We must realize our own helplessness in order to completely surrender to the Lord's will.
It is possible to resist God's commands in a more subtle way than outright rebellion. How many think to themselves: "We can do anything that God does not specifically forbid"? Friends, this attitude is one of compromise and rebellion. Colossians 3:17 teaches us that whatever we say and do must be done "in the name of the Lord" (i.e., by His authority). Without God's authority we have no right to act or speak. The Old Testament, which we are supposed to learn from, includes an example of two priests engaging in behavior that God had not explicitly prohibited. He had instructed Nadab and Abihu what He expected and they decided to do it a different way (e.g., Lev. 10:1-3). They did not honor the LORD in so doing. They did not surrender to the will of God and consequently lost their lives. They attempted to vainly negotiate a different way with God, but He did not accept it!
Friends, we are not in a position to negotiate or compromise with God (even if we feel strong, rich, powerful, and wise). If there are portions of Scripture we think are too hard, outdated, or wrong, then we can choose to submit or we can choose to rebel (and accept the consequences). Our thoughts ultimately don't matter since we are not equal with God or in any position to strike a compromise with Him. We need to pray that we will trust the Lord enough to believe that His way is best. We need to love Him enough that we want to please Him above ourselves.
Of course, the temptation is ever present to do our own thing and want our own way. Such is characteristic of self-centeredness. We must overcome such through the power of God's word, the power of prayer, and the discipline of self (i.e., self-control). To be self-centered is to walk by sight rather than by faith in the Lord! Let us accept what God says and do it. Although there is an art to compromise in the business world, there is no place for such in our relationship with God! The playing field is not even in that relationship. We ought to always be ready to give in to God and settle for His will always. Such is a mark of spiritual maturity.
After death, once one comes to realize his failure to submit to God and his own helplessness in torment, he may wish to make amends. But then it will be too late! After death comes the judgment; there are no second chances then (cf. Heb. 9:27; Luke 16:19ff). Today is the day of salvation (cf. II Cor. 6:2)!
There is much more that could be said about the subjects of compromising and negotiating, but we've restricted our focus primarily to that of our relationship with God. Certainly, there is a time and place for compromising within the church on matters of indifference, but it is never right to compromise on matters of doctrine. Instead, let us cling to: "Thus says the Lord".