Compromise. It’s so easy to do, especially when it comes to our faith. And God asks us to make a decision. Will we stand for him? Or give in to the pressure around us?
Two prophets of God, Oded and Isaiah, chose the former, while Uriah the priest chose the latter.
Because of Judah’s apostasy, God delivered Ahaz’s army into the hands of the Israelite army. But in their victory, the Israelites plundered the people of Judah, and took many of them to be their slaves.
But as they were about to enter Samaria, Oded stood up to the Israelite army, and he warned them to turn from this sin of enslaving their brothers.
This probably was not an easy message for Oded to give. Remember that as bad as Judah was in terms of apostasy, Israel was worse. And here he was, one man, standing up to an entire army saying, “You’re wrong!”
It would’ve been much easier for him to say, “They won’t listen to me. Why even try? I’ll just get myself killed.”
But he stood up and delivered God’s message to the people, and for once, they listened to him. They clothed the captives, gave them medical treatment, and then released them.
Uriah, on the other hand, took no stand at all. It’s especially amazing because in Isaiah 8:2, God refers to him as a “reliable witness” for him. But in II Kings, Uriah received pressure from Ahaz to build an altar to the gods of Assyria, and to offer sacrifices on it. And like Aaron did under pressure from the Israelite people years before, Uriah buckled when faced with Ahaz’s command. He built the altar for Ahaz and started worshiping false gods.
God warned Isaiah about any kind of compromise in chapter 8:11-21. There’s some debate about the meaning of verse 12, but one rendering is,
“Do not call for a treaty everytime these people call for a treaty.” (see NIV notes)
In other words, people were clamoring for a treaty with Assyria because of the alliance (or conspiracy) between Israel and Aram.
But God said, “Don’t do it. Don’t compromise yourself that way, allying yourself with an ungodly country. Don’t fear this conspiracy between Israel and Aram. And don’t fear all that the people around you do. Rather, fear me. If you do, I will be a sanctuary for you. (Isaiah 8:12-14)
Don’t go seeking mediums and spiritists. Seek me and my word. You have me! Why seek others for can shed no light? In the end, you will find only distress, darkness, and fearful gloom. You’ll end up in utter darkness.” (19-22)
God told Isaiah,
[The Lord] will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured. (14-15)
The New Testament writers, of course, used this verse to describe how Jesus would be a stumbling block to people. Peter wrote,
They stumble because they disobey the message. (I Peter 2:8)
That is, the message of repentance and the need to put your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin.
But whenever we disobey God, he becomes a rock that causes us to stumble and fall. And our disobedience will break us, just as it broke the people of Judah and Israel.
So we have a choice. We can disobey God and stumble over him. Or we can choose to make our stand on him. To make him the cornerstone of our life. What happens if we do? Peter writes,
The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame. (I Peter 2:6)
Let us be like Isaiah and Oded. Let us not compromise our faith when the pressure comes. Rather, let us stand on he who is our rock. Our cornerstone. Let us say as Isaiah did:
I will wait for the Lord…I will put my trust in him. (Isaiah 8:17)