Following commands to protect themselves from forgetting God and His Word, going after false idols and being deceived Moses now instructs them to take heed and not compromise.
4. Protect Yourself from Compromise
Deuteronomy 12:13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: 14 But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.
Israel had been given clear instructions for all aspects of life and worship. God had explained to them how He expected them to live, how to run their economy, how family life should function, there were dietary laws and regulations to cover even their immigration policy!
They had not only been told what to do, but how, why and when to do it. The clarity of what they should do provided clarity for what they should not do.
God knew Israel would be tempted to go after other gods, that is why He has so far exhorted them to not forget His word, to not go after idols and to not be deceived. But many of these things do not begin with outright disobedience, but by small compromises. Compromise often begins in a small way but it is like a snow ball rolling down a hill, it gathers pace and grows!
God commanded Israel to not just do what He told them, but to do it the way He told them to do it and even in the specific places He commanded. It did not matter if they saw a place that looked better or more convenient. Their responsibility was to follow God’s commands to the letter!
Although we live in the dispensation of grace and the law does not apply to us as it did to Israel, we still have clear commands and principles from the Lord by which we should live. It is obviously easy for the believer to compromise the doctrines which have been given to us. Any deviation from the Bible in Belief or Behaviour is compromise.
Purity in Belief
Before behaviour we must deal with beliefs. I do not expect “Christian” behaviour from a non-Christian culture. It is only by the grace of God that a believer can be Christ-like. how unreasonable is it of Christians to behave in any other way than their nature dictates? As believers, however, we need to be cautious about alternatives to Bible based beliefs. A foundational tenant of baptist and baptistic individuals is that the Bible is our only rule for faith and practise. Consider, however, a few alternatives that we often fall into accepting over the Bible.
Personal opinion can change with experience (Job 4:15)
Personal opinion can change under pressure
Personal opinion can change with education
Unlike personal opinion the Bible never changes.
Cultural traditions can be helpful. This is something any missionary needs to be aware of. But cultural tradition can also be a hindrance (Matthew 15:3). Cultural traditions are merely wide-spread, historic opinions.
The Bible transcends culture!
Popular psychology is very changeable
Popular psychology is merely wide-spread, current opinion
World religions are ultimately contradictory (Psalm 115)
World religions are ultimately hopeless World religions are ultimately opinions hidden behind a deity
The Bible must be our only source for our beliefs and this leads to purity in behaviour. It does not change with experience, pressure or education.
It is the Plumb Line for believers (Amos 7:7; 2 Timothy 3:16)
We protect ourselves from compromise by knowing the truth.
Purity in Behaviour
Believing truth must translate to living that truth (James 1:22). What we believe is primary, but it should be followed by a matching behaviour. Belief without matching behavior is hypocrisy.
Living the truth must incorporate all truth. We must do God’s work in God’s Way and in His timing.
With our beliefs established, by the grace of God, our behavior will become increasingly Christ-like.
God help us to not compromise in our beliefs or in our behaviour.