By George Kulp
"Not a hoof shall be left behind." Exodus 10:26
"All Scripture is profitable for admonition, for exhortation, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work." "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope." "These things were written that ye might believe, and believing might have life through His name." "The entrance of God's Word giveth light."
In the chapter from which our text is taken we have a lesson on the danger of compromising. This history is full of instruction by which we may profit, and become more loyal to God. Compromises of principle or truth have always been hurtful to the Church, the nation or the individual. The Jesuits had many apparent victories in the East and reported many converts, but Macaulay, in his history of England, says: "They were fictitious victories," and that the priests had lowered the standard of the Gospel until it was beneath the average level of human nature.
Blame, in his "Twenty Years in Congress," teaches this lesson: In 1787, when the Colonies were about to federate, many men in the Convention, who had intense convictions regarding slavery, silenced their convictions and compromised their principles. They permitted the slave trade to continue twenty years; permitted three-fifths of the slaves to be counted in the apportionment of representatives for Congress; and that fugitive slaves should be returned to their owners; but in all their compromises they were selling their principles, and bartering away the God-given rights of other men.
Henry Clay, by his persistent efforts, carried the Missouri Compromise through Congress, and afterwards, by his "Omnibus Bill," brought political quiet to the nation for awhile, but they were only putting off the day of judgment for a few years, and not one man's moral convictions were altered. This nation paid in blood for the temporizing of its founders, and we learned the lesson amid the fire and smoke of the battlefield, while our own kin groaned and died. No Moral Question is never settled until it is settled right.
A question a hundredfold greater, and equally as intricate in its solution, faces the nation today. The liquor traffic is the foe of God, the enemy of man, the corrupter of morals, the destroyer of the home, the child of the devil. The Almighty God points out the way in His Word, and by the experience of the past, the only way to the extinction of the traffic is not by temporizing and compromising but by complete and total prohibition of the manufacture and sale of the same. Prohibition is written all over the Word -- there can be no compromise with sin. The Ten Commandments contain the most complete code of laws God ever gave the world, and no compromise is written all over them. From the first utterance to the very last, He thunders "THOU SHALT NOT."
Israel was a typical people for all ages. There are lessons to encourage on every page of their history. God determined their deliverance; He heard their cry; and He came down to set them free. "When the tale of brick is doubled, Moses comes," comes in the right time, comes as God's man for the hour. Oh, when will we learn the lesson that God is never late!
"Say not my soul, 'From whence can God relieve my care?
Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere,
His method is sublime, His heart profoundly kind.
God never is before His time, and never is behind."
"Go say unto Pharaoh, Let My people go" -- not dicker with him; not argue -- give him My message: "Let My people go!" And when Moses stood there in the proud court of the proudest monarch on earth, he was there as ambassador from the Court of Heaven, with a message he was incapable of altering and at the same time remaining true -- "Let My people go!" His strength and courage lay in his loyalty to God. While conscious of this, he was equal to the task.
"His strength was as the strength of ten,
Because his heart was pure."
A disposition to compromise, on the part of ambassadors, robs them of their strength in the pulpit, and leads to compromising and defeat, while loyalty to God, faith in the message, enables one to shout victory in advance.
Pharaoh, type of the old arch enemy, met the message after some time with offers of compromise; four distinct offers, to which I now wish to call your attention. The representatives of God and Israel asked that the people might "go a three days' journey into the desert and sacrifice unto the Lord our God." A bold request, made in a bold manner, as well he might. Not because of mighty battalions back of him, for Israel was an unarmed host of men whose spirit had been broken by years of abject servitude. He knew he was "thrice doubly armed;" his call to the work was clear. That man was a majority. He was well equipped. In what, ask you? Seven mighty weapons. A shepherd's crook, called a rod, one tremendous name in the Hebrew language, four promises, and a miracle. Moses' commission rendered him invincible, and he knew God would lead them out.
The first compromise that Pharaoh offered" -- Go ye, and sacrifice in the land" -- has been repeated to every new convert since that time. Stay in Egypt and serve God; you need not separate from the world to be a Christian; you need not give up your ungodly companions. Every convert should answer that as did Moses: "Nay, we cannot do that; the Egyptians will stone us. If we offer sacrifices that are pleasing to God, the Egyptians will be displeased; if we offer sacrifices such as Egypt approves, God will be displeased. We cannot please God and Egypt. We cannot get along together. We must separate." You cannot be a Christian without offending the world. The world hates God. You cannot serve God in the devil's parlors. You cannot be a secret Christian; it is an utter impossibility. To attempt to be a Christian and yet make no profession is dishonoring to Christ and death to all spirituality. The Christ life will manifest itself.
During the Centennial Exposition the Swedish Government had a number of wax figures and on them were displayed the uniforms of the different branches of the service -- infantry, cavalry, artillery, signal service and navy. One of the guards thought he would deceive the passers-by, and so he took his stand right among those figures. Some people were deceived, but one close observer, seeing the heaving breast, the distended nostril, and the flashing eye, called to him to "come out of that." Life cannot be hid, neither will it be silent -- it will speak for itself. "Ye are My witnesses," said Jesus. Silent partnerships occur in the business world but in the realm of grace they are unknown. Silence betokens spiritual death.
A man who worked in the North Woods in Michigan came home impressed that a lumber camp was a hard place to try to live a Christian life, and when a friend was going up there the next winter, he said to him: "You will have a hard time of it." But the man went, spent the winter working in the camp, and came back, saying he "had no trouble." "You didn't," said his friend, "didn't the men annoy you?" "No," was the reply, "they didn't even suspect I was a Christian."
How different that from a young lady who taught school and, though a Christian, did not pray with the pupils. She was seeking a clean heart and for some time she was asked: "Do you pray with the children?" She replied: "No, I do not dare to; they would discharge me if I did, and this is my only means of support." Again in prayer, she was asking God to search her heart thoroughly) and the inward voice said: "Will you own Me before the children; will you pray with them?" "Why, Lord, the directors will discharge me, then what will I do?" But there was no peace, no answer. The struggling still continued, as it always does until we yield ourselves unto God and take His way. "Will you pray with the children?" "Yes, Lord, if it is through the poor-house to Heaven, directors or no directors, I will pray." Then the blessing came. She went to school happy in God, prayed with the children, read the Bible lesson, and had a good time. Then, just as she expected, she was waited upon by a director, who began the subject immediately: "I understand you have introduced a new study." "Not that I know of," she replied. "Well, you read the Bible and pray with the children, do you not?" "Not in school hours; I teach the time demanded and then pray afterwards." "Well," said he, "you must stop that or leave the school. We don't hire you to teach religion and will not stand it." She did not hesitate a minute; she consecrated to the poor-house, if that was God's way for her, and she said: "When must I leave?" "You can teach until Saturday night." She taught the remaining days -- prayed with the children, and when Saturday came she prayed with them, as she thought, for the last time, telling them before she began that she must leave because she would pray in school. As she prayed for each one by name, the Lord answered, and soon the children were praying for themselves.
One little girl, the daughter of the director, went home and said: "O Pa, you don't know what a good meeting we had with the teacher tonight after school. She prayed with us and then we prayed for ourselves, and while thinking how much Jesus loves little children, I got so happy, and I am happy now while I am telling you. You don't know how happy I am, and oh, Papa, He will bless you, too, and make you so happy if you will only pray to Him and think how He loves you. Come, let us kneel down and pray."
Conviction had been upon him ever since he had dismissed the teacher, and now, under the exhortation of his own saved little child, the Spirit was still working. Down on his knees he Went and he began to pray. Then in agony of soul he groaned. The child, seeing she had a real hard case on hand and not knowing what to do, said: "Pa, shall I go for the teacher?" But he was not ready for that yet. Again the child prayed, and the director continued praying. The Holy Ghost is always faithful, and the agony deepened in the old director's soul until he cried out: "Daughter, go for the teacher. Tell her to come pray for me, for I am afraid I am lost." The teacher came; the director confessed his sin in turning her away; the Lord saved him; a revival began, and the teacher, who had been afraid her duty might lead her into the poor-house, found herself in God's great storehouse of mercy, and goodness, and abundantly blessed for not compromising.
The second compromise offered was this: "I will let you go, only you shall not go very far away." Dwell on the borderland. This is where a great many unhappy professors dwell and they are unhappy because they never have gone very far away from the world. God told Abraham to come clear out -- "Get thee out from thy country, and from thy kindred, to a land that I will shew thee." To Israel He said: "Get thee out, unto a good land, a large land, a land flowing with milk and honey." Today the command is: "Come ye out from among them and be ye separate, and I will receive you.
A Chinese convert said: "When people come out in our country, they come clear out." Oh, if the devil can only get the young convert to "go not very far away," he knows he will hunger for the fleshpots of Egypt.
I admire the old Roman soldiers, who, when they landed on the shores of Albion, though the enemy was drawn up in battle array, waiting for the onset, burned their ships behind them. That meant: "We have come to stay." It meant victory or death; it meant consecration of all to the one idea that brought them that far, the conquest of Britain, and it takes just as complete consecration -every ship, every bridge burned -- a notification to Heaven, earth and Hell that you have no idea of going back, to get the blessing. If the enemy of souls can only get the Christian to dwell on the border, to take a half-and-half stand, "not to be too fanatical," he will be pleased; and that soul will meet spiritual death, if it stays there.
These people who do not go very far away remind me in the "enjoyment of religion," of boys who go to swim. Here is one boy -- he came to swim, and he wants to swim, but first he puts his foot in, then the other foot, then wades out a few feet farther, and stands and shivers. He is in the water, and he is there by choice, but he is miserable, he does not go very far from the shore. But here comes a boy who means business. He runs to the shore, jumps in, enjoys it all at once, gets way out in deep water, and it is splendid. Listen! The Christian life is a hard life until one gets wholly in. Whenever a person begins to inquire, "Is it wrong to dance?" "Why is it wrong to play cards?" "Can't I go to the theater and yet be a Christian?" "Can't I go to the ball just to see the masqueraders?" I make up my mind at once that that person has never gone very far away. You cannot lead souls out of the world to Christ unless you get away out yourself. Emerson says: "If you want to lift a man up, you must stand on higher ground."
The third offered compromise -- "Go ye that are men, but leave the wives and children behind." Pharaoh knew that if these remained every last man of them would come back; but Moses rejects this at once, "We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters." Oh, that every follower of Jesus, every servant of God, was as steadfast in resisting the wily enemy, and oh, that every Christian was as determined to take the children along! We ought to claim every member of the family for God and stand true until they are all saved. We cannot compromise in our families to make it easier. I have known wives who have said: "I go to the dance with my husband because I want him to go to the church with me." Aye, and by your compromise you disgrace your religion, you lose your influence over your husband, and you will never regain it until you acknowledge you did wrong. Stand firm, be true to your convictions, make no compromises and you will win.
A busy farmer who employed a number of farm hands refused to take the time to have family prayers, because it meant a loss of money. He was paying these men so much a day, and they should be in the field, and to his godly wife, when she suggested the family altar, he said: "I can't afford it." He went out to the field the next day and when noon came there was no dinner-bell; he lingered at his work until he was sure the time for dinner had gone by, but still no dinner-bell. Then he went up to the house, and there was the wife, . but no preparation for dinner. "Why, wife," said he, "what is the matter? No dinner, and no sign of dinner." "Oh," said she, "we pay these men so much per day, and to take time for eating, taking the men out of the field, means so much. We cannot afford it." He saw the point at once, and said: "Wife, get dinner. We will have family prayers after this," and a family altar went up to glorify God, bless that home, and honor a little woman who would not compromise for gain.
Our children belong to God; they are in covenant relations to God; the promise is unto you and your children. It is a violation of the covenant to leave them behind; it is a sin against God to cease to pray for them. Tell the enemy, "There is going to be a feast unto the Lord our God, and we must take our children, our loved ones, along."
Children can know God at an early age. "How long have you been a Christian?" asked a lady of a five-year-old, and the answer came direct and prompt, "Ever since I was a little boy." And it was true, for his father said he was converted when two years old, and was the best Christian in the home.
My heart was thrilled some time ago when I read of the departure of an old disciple at the age of one hundred and five years, who for one hundred years had served God without a break, having been soundly converted when five years old. God's promises include our children and He will save them if we are faithful. They may go way off -- may seem hard and careless -- but hold on; God is faithful.
An old Christian father accosted his son about his soul, as had been his custom for years. The young man was annoyed and said, petulantly, "Father, I am tired of this. If you ever speak to me again on this subject, I'll leave home." "Very well, John, I'll never talk to you again about it, but I promise you I will always pray for you." The young man was a commercial traveler and his duties took him away for months at a time. Returning home after a trip, he one day was passing his father's room, and heard him praying. He stopped to listen. How the old man prayed! He prayed for grace to be a true witness, for strength for every duty, that he might glorify God until the end should come. Then there was a pause, then a sob, and in broken utterances he said: "And now, Lord, about John," and he poured out such a prayer that it not only reached the throne, it got immediate answer and reached John, too, and soon he was numbered among the saved. Amen! Hallelujah! Our God will answer. Hold on, father; hold on, mother; the answer is on the way.
Now for the fourth compromise offered" -- Take them all with you -- fathers, mothers, wives and children -- but leave your flocks and your herds behind." How many today listen to this and because they listen they fail. Give all to God, but the property. Keep your religion and your business separate. But, brethren, listen! The consecration must be complete, before God will sanctify a soul; there must not a hoof be left behind. Covetousness is a thing God despises and hates. The first sin after the entrance to Canaan that God punished with death was covetousness. The first sin in the Church after Pentecost was covetousness, and again God signally punished it with death. The Church costs so much, missionaries cost so much, so many calls for money; but listen to what Jesus says:
"I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed,
That thou might'st ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead.
I gave My life for thee.
What hast thou given for ME?"
The Lord loves a hilarious giver. Christ was a magnificent giver. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." "God so loved ... that he gave."
An Andersonville prisoner one time said that next to the greatest joy of his life was when in Andersonville he one morning got a whole biscuit, while in danger of starving to death. A listener said: "Next to the greatest joy? May I ask what, then, was your greatest joy?" He replied: "Seeing my bunkmate Bob eating the biggest half of it."
There is joy in giving to God, to God's little ones, to God's cause; joy in putting money into God's bank. There is no real heart-satisfying joy without a complete consecration of all to God. Resist the devil when he tempts you to covetousness; tell him not a hoof shall be left behind. It pays to give all to God; it is an judgment to God to trust you.
"Amanda," said a friend to Amanda Smith, the colored evangelist, "can you trust God?" "Yes, and God can trust me."
Rev. Heydrick was engaged in building a church, doing much of the work with his own hands. All was completed but the sittings, the pews. He went to a lumber dealer, explained the circumstances, secured the lumber on time, and said: "In ninety days I'll pay you. I believe my Father will send me the money by that time." The dealer had no faith in that way of doing business, but he had faith in the honesty of Mr. Heydrick, and let him have the lumber. The seats were made, the church was dedicated, the ninety days expired, and, strange to say, the money had not come. Mr. Heydrick, as in duty bound, went to see the lumber dealer, and said: "I cannot pay you. I do not understand it. My Father has never failed me before." The dealer smiled, as much as to say, "Just as I expected," but he still had faith in the preacher and continued his credit. Just as Mr. Heydrick was about to go sorrowfully away, the dealer said: "O Mr. Heydrick, I have a letter for you. I met a gentleman down town, and telling him you would be at my office today, he asked me to give you this letter." Mr. Heydrick opened it and found three fifty dollar bills, just the amount needed to pay for the pews. Turning with a smile of triumph, he said to the dealer: "Just as I expected. My Father never disappoints me. Here is your money." O beloved, when we show we trust God, yielding all to Him, He soon shows that He trusts us and never leaves us to be confounded. Give all to God and you get all from God. A complete consecration brings the fire, insures the victory, and honors God. Make no compromises and He will bring you out with a high hand, and into the possession of a land where there is no scarceness.