“And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.” – Exodus 14:10
Israel was pinned between the Red Sea and a desert. In the distant they could see the dust from the approaching army of an enraged Pharaoh. They were not accustomed to trusting God. Although they were God’s people, they had been born as slaves. The slave system had fed them, given them shelter, they had been free to dabble in Egyptian religion and enjoy the pleasures of its hedonistic society. It was a life of sameness. They didn’t have to think for themselves, make decisions, or manage the responsibilities of freedom.
Thus, faced with a perilous dilemma their carnal minds struggled for a logical solution. In their earthly view there were only two choices. They could either go back toward Egypt and beg Pharaoh’s forgiveness, or they would die on the banks of the sea. There was a third option, but they could not fathom it. They could simply trust God.
In another situation, the armies of Israel and the Philistines were in a faceoff on two opposing mountains. Israel’s soldiers were “dismayed and greatly afraid.” The reason was the size of their dilemma. The Philistines had Goliath, a warrior that, according to the Masoretic text, stood over 9 feet tall. His battle armor weighed 78 pounds. He had a huge spear over 2 ½ inches in diameter and the head weighed 17 pounds.
There appeared to be no clear way to defeat Goliath. One option for Israel was to remain trembling on the hillside and hope that he would go away. Another option was for Saul or some other qualified warrior to accept Goliath’s challenge. The third option was for someone to use faith in what God could do. When David, a lad most likely just over 5 feet tall, offered to fight, people scorned and mocked him. His reply to King Saul’s doubt was basically that the same faith and power he had used in lesser trials was able to bring him victory over Goliath. Faith won.
The third option is of course faith in God. We should never accept the option of despair at a dead end, of trembling before Goliath, or running from Jezebel (1Kings 19:2-3). When we do, we compromise our faith to the extent that something will eventually destroy us. When we choose the third option, we are spiritually preparing to live by faith. Otherwise, we only talk about faith, teach about it, possess the shell of it, but have no confidence, and subsequently, no power in it.
However, it is easier to avoid the third option. When it is presented, it is usually responded to with earthly logic. Absolute faith in God in an extremely critical situation often by passes earthly logic. This, people may trust God in the small matters, but they often struggle to do so in critical situations. They may not understand that the process is exactly the same. It is the same faith and same trust. And God is certainly not intimidated by the size of our crisis. It only requires our willingness. But the greater the crisis, the deeper willingness hides.
Consequently, the choice to trust God alone becomes proportionately more difficult when the penalty of failure increases. Choice stems from willingness. When the risk increases, the will to exercise faith can be greatly diminished or may no longer exist.
For example, imagine a 2×8 foot wood beam lying over a small creek 1 foot-deep. It would not take much faith or willingness to walk across on the beam. However, it the same beam were laid across a chasm 100 feet deep, how much faith would it take to walk it? It would not take any more faith, but there would be less willingness to exercise it.
The third option requires stepping outside of the comfort zone composed of our ways and means. It shows up when the faith that we boast about in peace is put to the test in a crisis. Most professing Christians wear faith well in smooth water, but they are fearful and reluctant to trust it in a storm. They eagerly believe God to the fullest for something that they want, but struggle and waver to trust Him their ship appears to be sinking. The greater the dilemma the more willing they are to seek an earthly solution, even when it involves compromise.
Christian living is replete with dilemmas. The time-honored paradigm is that the same faith we shout and testify about in a church meeting will be tested in a fiery trial. It isn’t for God’s benefit that our faith is tested, but for ours. We cannot survive the diabolical forces in this temporal realm without living faith. Further, we cannot maintain sufficient opposition to the encroachment of evil in Christianity. Untested faith is like an expired fire extinguisher.
Presently, our nation and especially Christianity is in a crisis. We are about to choose our nation’s leader. The fact is, there is no acceptable choice for Christian. The faith of many professing Christians is under immense pressure over this crisis. The third option exists, but many professing Christian leaders deny that it does. Some are even declaring that it is a sin to choose the third option. They go so far as to deny the right to salvation to those who decided to trust God. The idea of believing for Divine intervention may be their theological belief, but it does not actually extend to their cores. Compromise has indeed replaced willingness.
The truth is that the compromise began long ago. It is now being forced to the surface. The result is that nearly 60 million babies have been murdered, homosexuality has broken down the closet door, and liberalism has a death grip on society, and Christianity is in full-scale apostasy. Additionally, the designated bastion of our nation’s remaining morality appears to no longer be Christianity. Instead, it is conservative politics and Fox News. Consequently, out of 17 choices fear and hate stoked individuals have selected a candidate that is the epitome of what is morally wrong with our society. The majority of professing Christians intend to vote for him because they fear and hate the equally reprehensible alternative choice.
In this crisis of conscience, Christianity has a supreme opportunity to redeem its decades long hypocrisy and creeping apostasy (now fully engaged). Sadly, the majority has completely rejected the third option. That unwillingness to solely trust in God is indicative of chronic spiritual weakness or worse.
There is no paradox in the world system choosing a wicked leader. However, if professing Christians do so they must reject the third option. The consequences will be severe. First, it will shout to the world that we do not really believe in and trust God when He is our only hope. We speak sermons that soar with lofty phrases about faith. But when an opportune situation arrives for the entire world to view that faith in action, we insist that the only viable choice is compromising our integrity.
Second, rejecting the third option will send the message to weak Christians who are struggling in their faith that it is okay to compromise. If it is okay to support an immoral individual to preserve religious liberty, what other pragmatic choices can we make? It is the classic “ends justifies the means” fallacy.
Thus, when the pressure of temptation bears down on weak Christians, they may believe that it is okay to cheat, to lie, commit fornication or adultery, and any other sin. After all, didn’t our leaders demonstrate that it is okay to ignore our values when the cost of living by them is too stressful or painful? How can this not increase the already consuming blight of apostasy?
The fact is, faith that is merely taught, preached about, and held up as a standard, has little influence beyond producing and promoting religion. Relying on God as the sole means of hope in a crisis brings faith to life. The integrity of that choice is manifested when we deem the other choices spiritually unacceptable.
The integrity of millions of Christians is being put to that test before the nation and the world. The secular media are both amazed and gleeful that so many Evangelicals are compromising. I have read several articles dripping with scorn. Of course, it is not called “compromise” in Christian-speak, but merely “holding one’s nose”. No matter—the result of that compromise will be the death of faith.
I anticipate incredulity from professing Christians that simply trusting God will have any effect on the outcome. It is very possible so few will trust Him that their example will be insufficient to make a difference. God requires a nation to repent, not simply a few souls within its borders to do so.
It is often unpopular to make the right decision, but it is never wrong. I have chosen the third option and I will trust in God’s faithfulness. No doubt, as a result there will be accusations and labeling. However, the truth is clearly presented in God’s word. The Bible is replete with names of those who choose the third option. The Hebrew children chose faith with the penalty of fire. Daniel chose faith with the penalty of a lion’s den. The early church chose faith with the penalty of martyrdom. Will American Christians choose faith with the penalty of an evil leader? The truth is, there is no scriptural standard for compromise to avoid hardships.
“The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: ‘Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,’ says the Lord God.” – Ezekiel 14:12-14