How Close Could You Get?
A king was looking to fill a very important position on his staff: His carriage driver. He took the three best candidates up to a mountain pass with a very steep cliff on the one side. He asked each one of them the same question: “If you were driving my carriage, how close to the edge could you get?” The first one, immediately replied, “I could get you within a foot!” Not to be outdone, the second driver said, “I could get you within six inches.” The third driver answered, “Your highness, your life is too valuable. I would not drive anywhere near the edge of that cliff.” Which driver do you think was hired?
In Genesis 19, Lot knows the wickedness of the culture in which he lives and immediately invites his visiting messengers inside his home. When the men of the city press Lot to release the men for their wicked pleasure, Lot refuses. But instead, he offers his two innocent daughters instead. Lot didn’t give in the way the world wanted, but he compromised and gave in in a different fashion.
We look at Lot and think, “I would never compromise like that!” But how often do we compromise with the wicked world around us? We sin so often, that Matthew 18 outlines how we as believers can hold each other accountable. If you see someone who appears to be falling into sin, go and help him! Like a teammate, or a coworker, encourage him to do what is right. If he refuses, take another ‘teammate’ to help you both. If he still refuses, bring him before the church. Not so that you can publicly humiliate him, but so that you can all endeavor to see him return to what is right. (Also see 1 Corinthians 5)
Psalm 119:9 says that the only way to “clean up our act” is through the Word of God. If we think we can do this work on our own, we are miserably mistaken. In Ezra 8, the people ask Ezra to “bring the book,” then they proceed to stand and listen to the expositional preaching for 4-6 hours! (So when Pastor reaches 12:01, remember Ezra’s sermons were longer!) They don’t just listen though, their hearts are moved as they understand God’s law and their own sinfulness.
Acts 18 brings us the result of the power of God’s Word. Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, gets saved, along with his household. Paul preached the Word of God with great boldness, even at personal risk. But what isn’t immediately clear here is linked to 1 Corinthians 1:1, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother.” That second name may sound familiar because it’s also found in the last verse of Acts 18. The most religious Jews in Corinth, the Chief Ruler of the Synagogue, and his successor, both became adamant followers of Christ. The most religious and the most vile are both in need of the Most Holy.
So whether it’s a matter of sin, or a matter of boldness in the Gospel, remember, compromise is not an option! Don’t get close to the world. A misstep could spell your demise!
Bonus nugget: Look at Genesis 19 again. Lot’s first daughter had a son named Moab. Can you think of a descendant of Moab? That’s right, Ruth, the mother of Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. Even out of man’s sinful choices, God can redeem the situation for His glory. No matter where you’re at today, no matter your past sinful choices, God is still bigger than that, and He is still in charge. Trust your future to Him and see what He can do!