In Exodus 7 we read about the first of the terrible plagues that the Lord inflicts on Egypt. Why? Why can’t God be more easy-going?
No one wants to hear it, but it’s true: compromise isn’t always possible, and sometimes conflict is unavoidable.
In Exodus 7, Moses has asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave. Pharaoh refuses. In fact, Pharaoh will never agree. Exodus 7:13 describes Pharoah’s heart as hard, i.e., he is utterly opposed to anything Moses has to say.
We prefer conversation to conflict, and we’d like to look for compromise whenever possible. But sometimes conflict is unavoidable. One of the dominant themes of Exodus is that there are forces in this world utterly opposed to the things of God. Those forces will not compromise; the only course of action is conflict.
C.S. Lewis, speaking in eschalotigcal terms, puts it like this:
There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.”
Don’t think that the evil in this world will go without a fight. Either God wins, or evil wins: there’s no compromise. Either Pharaoh keeps oppressing the Israelites, or Moses leads them to freedom: there’s no compromise.
I don’t like conflict any more than you do, but sometimes conflict is unavoidable:
- the sex traffickers in our city are not going to be won over by reason and conversation; they’ll have to be opposed and fought tooth and nail;
- your marriage is not going to just be healed; you’ll have to ruthlessly fight for it;
- I can’t just compromise with the selfishness in my heart; God needs to heal me from it.
The plagues God sends over Egypt are terrible and uncompromising, but they are necessary, because compromise isn’t always possible. Direct conflict between God and Pharaoh cannot be avoided.