[Solomon] had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. (1 Kings 11:3)
Have you ever found yourself asking the question, “How in the world did I get here?” I remember a trip I took about 10 years ago. I was actually taking a student home from a youth group activity, and he took me through lots of back roads to get to his house (a place where I had never been). I decided to take the back roads home, which turned out to be one of many mistakes I would make that night. I’m not sure when exactly I got off the path, but about an hour later, I phoned home because I was totally lost with no GPS to get me where I needed to go. The mistake started out with one small, tiny wrong turn and several more successive wrong turns that moved me away from the place where I ultimately wanted to be.
The small things are what derail us, aren’t they? No man who is a committed husband goes out one night and has an affair. There are lots of little indiscretions that lead him to that point. Perhaps he starts by abandoning a commitment to not be alone with other women. Or maybe he starts chatting online with an old high school friend.
There is a progression that a person goes on as he or she moves toward making sinful choices.
Solomon’s compromise started by taking on foreign wives. It seemed like a good idea at the time because it would guarantee Israel’s safety from other invading kings. After all, what king would invade a land where his daughter was queen? This decision by Solomon, though, went against what God had instructed. A small compromise, perhaps, but it led Solomon astray. His departure from the right path wasn’t immediate – the departure never is immediate. It was a progression that took time. And it started with something small.
If we’re not careful, we can fall into the same trap that Solomon fell into: making small compromises that lead to large failures. Solomon’s sin resulted in a lot of pain for the nation just as our sin results in a lot of pain for those we love. Be careful that you consider the small things. They matter much more than you think. Don’t compromise what you know is right – regardless of how small the compromise may seem in the moment.
Lord, it’s so easy to be tempted to compromise on the things that I know are right. In the moment, temptation never seems like that big of a deal. Help me not to fall prey to such foolish thinking. Let me stand strong for what I know is right – even if it’s something small.