YOU DON’T GET TO CONTROL THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE CHOICES YOU MAKE
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
It is impossible to be human and not have to deal with making choices. In fact I speculate that we probably make dozens, if not even hundreds of choices everyday. Even the time to get up out of bed is a choice we make. During the course of any day, we make good choices and bad choices. But one thing is certain, for every choice, there is a set of consequences.
Here’s the sad truth: while every human being is able to decide for him/herself the choices, he/she is not in control of the consequences of some of those choices. Think about these questions for just a moment:
· How many times have you made a decision and regret making it when the consequences start getting to us?
· Have you ever made a decision for yourself and realized that the consequences do not effect just you, but many people around you?
· Think of the decisions some parents have made to get involved in addictive behavior like drugs or alcohol
· What about the decision to terminate a marriage relationship, especially when children are involve?
We are indeed free to make choices, but we cannot control the consequence of these choices!
THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES FOR EVERY CHOICE WE MAKE (PROV. 5:21)
This is even a well-known principle in the physical world.
· Newton’s 3rd law of motion in physics teaches that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This really was not a novel discovery, but merely an observation of law the Lord established in the natural world.
· Here’s another great illustration: If you play with fire, you will be burned! Notice, this is in the form of a conditional statement. The conditional statement basically established that statement as a law. It indicates that playing with fire will lead to personal injuries in the form of a burn, literally and figuratively.
· Think about this popular one: you reap what you sow.
But when we are faced with certain opportunities or when we are tempted, we often do not consider the fullness of what we are about to do.
All human sin seems so much worse in its consequences than in its intentions. –
Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life—
The secret of the world is the tie between person and event. Person makes event and event person.
Alfred A. Montapert—
Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices. –
Julian P. Johnson—
Nothing in all Nature is more certain than the fact that no single thing or event can stand alone. It is attached to all that has gone before it, and it will remain attached to all that will follow it. It was born of some cause, and so it must be followed by some effect in an endless chain. –
- Lydia M. Child—
But men never violate the laws of God without suffering the consequences sooner or later.
The Bible warns us this way about the choices we make:
Proverbs 5:21--For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths
To keep this blog from being too long, I will not fully expound on each point.
KEEP VIGILANT EVEN IN TIMES OF BLESSING (Gen. 13:1-7)
One lesson we can learn from this part of the passage is that we must watch how we live, even in times of great personal blessing. Notice that the riches of Abraham and Lot actually end up being a wedge between them. They found themselves a point of decision; a choice is needed in order to ameliorate the situation. But they must choose wisely because those choices will undoubtedly usher in consequences. And we must always be careful to
MAKE CHOICES THAT HONOR THE LORD (v. 8,9)
Abraham was the one with whom God made the covenant, yet he thought it prudent to forfeit his right to choose first. So he allowed his nephew to choose first. But Lot did not consider the consequences of his choice. The language of the Scripture here seems t0 indicate that he chose with his eyes or that he leaned upon his own understanding! He did not seem to have any care about whether the decision would please the Lord or not.
You have heard the statement “when opportunity knocks, open the door”? Allow me to place a caution sign here:
WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, DO NOT CHOOSE WITH YOUR HEART (v. 10-13)
Here’s how to proceed, when opportunity knock: 1) do not lean on your own understanding, trust in the Lord instead (Proverbs 3:5) and 2) remember that the heart is desperately wicked and you do not have the power to tame it (Jeremiah 17:9), the best thing to do is to ask yourself the following question: will this choice honor the Lord?
Here’s why it is important to make choices that honor the Lord:
THE CHOICES YOU MAKE HAVE ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE
Let’s quickly contrast the consequences that came in to play in Lot’s life as well as in Abraham’s life:
1. Lot’s life took to a progression of compromise
a. Looked toward Sodom and liked what he saw (Genesis 13:10)
b. Pitched his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12) (tent indicates a temporary lodging)
c. Lived in Sodom (Genesis 14:12) (he then became a permanent resident)
d. A City Leader in Sodom (Genesis 19:1)
2. Lot himself was a righteous man who was grieved by the sin he saw around him (2 Peter 2:7-8)
3. Compromise Destroys Testimony
a. Because of his compromising attitude towards sin few of his family and none of his friends were saved.
b. Lot’s “don’t judge” approach caused him to lose opportunities to reach others for God. They had no respect for him whatsoever, even though he called the wicked men his brethren.
c. His own sons-in-law did not pay attention to him when he spoke to them about the judgment of God, they did not believe him. They were lost.
d. Lot’s daughters were swallowed up into the wickedness of the people among whom they lived. Some time after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, they plotted together, got Lot drunk, and committed incest with him. They gave birth to two boys: Moab and Ben-Ammi. They were the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites, respectively, two of Israel’s most persistent enemies.
THE LORD BLESSES THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO HONOR HIM (GEN. 13:14-18)
I struggled with this last title: I considered calling it, the decisions we make always have eternal significance.
· He chose to honor the Lord, so God vows to keep His promise to Abraham, which God made in Genesis 12:1-9… Now the Lord said[a] to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[c]
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak[d] of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.)
God restates the promise here in Genesis 13:14-18:
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks[b] of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Here's the bottom line:
It is better to wait to make a choice than to choose the object whose consequences will negatively impact your life physically or even perhaps affect you spiritually. The principle to follow is this: 1) wait on the Lord and 2) make sure you choose in prayer and meditation on the word of God, so that your choice may be one that honors God.