Summary: In these troubling times, don’t compromise in your commitment to the Lord; but if you have, cry out to the Lord and count on your Sovereign Savior.
On August 10, 1948, Allen Funt debuted a hidden-camera reality TV show called Candid Camera, which became wildly popular for many years. The genius of the show is that it caught people in the act of being themselves. It produced lots of laughs, but it also offered a fascinating look into human behavior.
In one episode titled "Face the Rear," unsuspecting people board an elevator and naturally turn to face the front of the elevator. Three actors then enter the elevator and face the rear. Take a look (Show Candid Camera Face the Rear video).
In every case, the unsuspecting person turns around to face the rear with the others. Sometimes, they are hesitant, which makes it even more comical, but they cannot resist the peer pressure. One gentleman had a hat when he entered the elevator, so the actors entered with hats. They faced the rear; he faced the rear. They faced the side; he faced the side. They faced the front; he faced the front. They took off their hats; he took off his hat. It was hilarious! (Mark Batterson, Play the Man, Thomas Nelson, 2017, pages 144-145; www. PreachingToday.com)
People are easily influenced. That’s why you have to be careful who you allow into your life, especially in times of trouble, because that’s when you’re most vulnerable to bad actors.
Judges 3:5-6 So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods. (ESV)
Israel compromised their residence – They allowed these bad actors to live with them. Then Israel compromised their relationships – They intermarried with these bad actors. And finally, Israel compromised their religion – They served the Canaanite gods, which involved temple prostitution and child sacrifice.
The very evil they once abhorred became normal in their culture. But it all started with one compromise, which led to another and another and another. Israel compromised on God’s clear command to drive out the Canaanites, and it led to moral ruin.
That’s what happened to Lot years before. Genesis 13 says he moved His tent “NEAR Sodom” (Genesis 13:12). Then He lived IN Sodom; and eventually, he became one of its leaders. His daughters were engaged to Sodomite men, and he was willing to let them be violated in order to save his own reputation. The abhorrent became normal, and it all started with one little compromise: he pitched His tent towards Sodom.
The same thing happened to King Solomon years later. The Bible says, he was the wisest man who ever lived, but his love for foreign women led him to moral ruin. 1 Kings 11 says, “King Solomon loved many foreign women... And his wives turned away his heart... after other gods” (1 Kings 11:1-4). The abhorrent became normal even though Solomon had served the Lord faithfully for many years. God even used Solomon to write parts of the Bible – the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. Even so, Solomon ends his life “doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord,” 1 Kings 11:6 says. He prostituted himself with the goddess of fertility and burned children alive on the molten idol of Moloch. The abhorrent became normal, and it all started with one little compromise: He lusted after foreign women.
That’s what’s happening to Israel here in Judges 3. One little compromise led to moral ruin.
But not only that, one little compromise led to material ruin, as well. A ruthless, evil tyrant dominates them for eight years!
Judges 3:7-8 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. (ESV)
God sold them like slaves to Cushan-rishathaim. He was a Mesopotamian King, whose name means the doubly wicked Cushan. It was probably a nickname to describe the tyranny of his rule. He tyrannized Israel for eight long years!
But that’s what happens when you compromise on God’s clear commands. It leads you to moral and material ruin. So in times of trouble, obey God completely. Stay true to His Word, and...
DON’T COMPROMISE in your commitment to Him.
Don’t disregard even His smallest commands.
In the first season of the popular TV show 24, Jack Bauer is a federal agent charged with protecting a presidential candidate from an assassination plot. That’s because, in the uncertain world of espionage, he possesses a rare character trait – integrity.