The Hebrews' ancient hymnal begins with a song that addresses one of life's most common grinds: compromise. Please understand, I'm not referring to those give-and-take times so necessary for living in harmony with one another.
The Hebrews' ancient hymnal begins with a song that addresses one of
life's most common grinds: compromise. Please understand, I'm not
referring to those give-and-take times so necessary for living in
harmony with one another. Without that healthy kind of compromise,
nations could never find a meeting ground for peaceful coexistence and
family members would forever be at each other's throats.
I'm thinking, rather, of compromising with wrong, allowing the slow-moving
tentacles of evil to wrap themselves around us, squeezing the joys and
rewards of obedience from our lives. It happens so silently, so subtly,
we hardly realize it's taking place. Like an enormous oak that has
decayed for years from within and then suddenly falls, those who permit
the eroding grind of compromise can expect an ultimate collapse.
I recall reading years ago of the construction of a city hall and fire
station in a small northern Pennsylvania community. All the citizens
were so proud of their new red brick structure—a long-awaited dream come
true. Not too many weeks after moving in, however, strange things began
to happen. Several doors failed to shut completely and a few windows
wouldn't slide open very easily. As time passed, ominous cracks began to
appear in the walls. Within a few months, the front door couldn't be
locked since the foundation had shifted, and the roof began to leak. By
and by, the little building that was once the source of great civic
pride had to be condemned. The culprit proved to be a controversial coal
extraction process called "longwall mining," deep in the earth beneath
the foundation. Soil, rock, and coal had been removed by the tons so
that the building sat on a foundation that had no support of its own.
Because of this man-made erosion, the building began to sink.
it is with compromise in a life. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, one
rationalization leads to another, which triggers a series of equally
damaging alterations in a life that was once stable, strong, and
reliable. That seems to be the concern of the psalmist as he composes
his first song, which encourages us to resist even the slightest
temptation to compromise our convictions.
The Passage and Its Pattern
First Psalm is brief and simple, direct and profound. Even a casual
reading of these six verses leads us to see that it is filled with
contrasts between two different walks of life—the godly and the ungodly.
A simple yet acceptable outline of Psalm 1 would be:
I. The Godly Life (Psalm 1:1–3)
II. The Ungodly Life (1:4–6)
Written between the lines of this ancient song is evidence of the
age-old battle in which all of us are engaged: compromise—the erosion of
our good intentions.