“And Elijah came near to all the people and said: ‘How long will you falter between two opinions; If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal, follow him.”  1 Kings 18:21

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One….”  Mark 12:29

Quite a debate is waging around the world about the value or weakness of compromise.  In my vocation, I teach organizational behavior as well as appropriate organizational change and compromise comes up quite often as a topic.

Hear’s what I find.  In matters dealing with purely human ideas and concepts; difference of opinions and disagreements; compromise is vital.  For compromise at its very heart has several precepts.  First, that in any idea that is being considered; there is more than one perspective; one way of looking at an issue and all perspectives are in some way not completely accurate.  Because all human perspectives have an element of inaccuracy to them; the more perspectives you have, the more likely you are to have the most complete picture on which to take the most accurate, appropriate action.  So we are hearing and I often speak on the praises of compromise………dealing with human, earthly things. But what about spiritual things?  What about God?

The prophet Elijah is sent to King Ahab of Israel.  King Ahab had married a foreign woman; Jezebel who only worshiped the god of the Canaanites, Baal.  It was not the God of Israel was banned from being worshiped, it was that He was worshiped along with other gods.  The people of Israel had chosen the human notion of multiple perspectives, in this case concerning gods, and had decided compromise was acceptable.

Elijah was a prophet of God Almighty and God had spoken to him.  So Elijah has had all the people of Israel come together and he puts out there very plainly:  compromise is not an option.  You as a people falter in your belief that you can have it both ways.  There is no possibility that the God of Israel and Baal can be coworshiped, can co exist.  You must choose; Elijah tells them.

Here again to me is where the mercy of Our Heavenly Father is so amazing.  For He could have simply not even allowed for a decision to be made.  He could have simply destroyed every single person who ever bent a knee or burned any incense to the false god Baal.  Instead, God reveals Himself to the people through a test.

Two altars are built for two sacrifices.  There are over 400 Baal priests and prophets there to pray and exhort the god Baal to show himself.  The test is to set up the sacrifices and then call upon each God to send fire down to accept the sacrifice of His respective prophet(s).  The Baal priests go first and for almost an entire day, the pray, the plead, they ritually cut themselves to show their devotion to Baal; yet there is no response.  Finally at the end of the day, when it is time for the evening sacrifice; the one, lone prophet of God; Elijah has his turn.  Elijah commands that the altar be drenched three times with water so that no only is the altar, the wood on the altar, the bull for the sacrifice drenched but there is a deep trench around the altar filled with water.  The possibility of a fire consuming the sacrifice seems dubious to say the least.  Yet Elijah calls upon God Almighty and scarcely have the words left his mouth when a fire rains down, so hot, so intense that it not only consumes the sacrifice but completely drys up the water.  Seeing is believing.  The Israelites proclaim God as the one true God.

Here’s the thing Dear Sisters and Brothers; today, few are out there worshiping gods named Baal, Molech or Zeus.  But that does not mean that we are not faltering.  It does not mean that we have set up new gods for ourselves that we fall down and worship, sacrifice for and to.  These gods are named things like, money, power, fame, a perfect body, sex for the sake of sex and yes even human based church.  How do we know they are gods?  We know that is the case when we put our faith in any or all of these to be path to, the basis for our salvation.

It’s as if we’re saying God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, you may exist; but you exist up there or out there and I live right down here.  And down here these are the things that I need to get by.  So I’ll compromise.  For day to day, down here type stuff, I’ll pay homage to the gods of my choosing and making.  When I get around to thinking about my soul on a certain day of the week or certain holidays, then it’s all about You, God.  We compromise.

The term jealous is used for God but not in the way that we would think of it down here.  You see God knows; He, in the person of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are it.  They are the Only True God.  They are the only way to eternal salvation.  They also know that we are doomed if we compromise and follow our own gods.  You and I might think we see a God as a God ready to judge us, to turn us out, to damn us for all time.  That is what the prince of this world would want you and I to believe.

Judge us? No, instead Our God, the One True God; died for us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.  He took our compromises, our sins upon Himself, who never once compromised, so that we might be saved.  Dear Sisters and Brothers, let that be the only perspective that we will decide to follow.  By the Grace of God Almighty, may we never compromise on that.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we humbly admit that we are not perfect and that often we need, sometimes You even give us guidance through multiple human opinions.  Yet we also confess, that we choose our own opinions over You Most Merciful Father.  That we compromise and chase after gods of our own making who have no power whatsoever and forsake You.  Have Pity on us Dear Father and pour out Your Spirit upon us that we would cease in our striving after false gods and only follow You Dear Father.  For we proclaim that there is only One True Father, Son and Holy Spirit and there is no salvation without You.  We pray this in the most precious Name of Jesus Christ Our Lord.  Amen