Everyone has the freedom to choose. There are times our choices are dependent on what information we are feeding on. Many times we will make mistakes because we lack knowledge. God says in Hosea 4:6 that we perish or are destroyed because we lack knowledge. That means it is important have the right knowledge in order to minimize the number of mistakes we make.
Some mistakes are too costly. I saw a quote the other day that read, “mistakes are our best teacher.” I beg to differ. There are people who never learn from their mistakes. They keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
Genesis chapter 13 starts with Abram going back to Bethel from Egypt. Bethel means House of God. Before Abram went to Egypt, he had built an altar there. He had temporarily moved to Egypt because of the famine in the land. He had to come back to Bethel, not because the famine had come to an end, but because he was ordered out of Egypt by Pharaoh.
From Chapter 12, we learn that
We can make a bad choice because we are running away from difficult situations
Abram made a choice to run to Egypt because there was severe famine in the land. When we are in a place of difficulty, we can easily make a wrong choice. I listened to a lady who said that the reason she became a commercial sex worker was because she needed to get money to feed her children. Unfortunately, this is a mistake that comes with great consequences. When we find ourselves in a place of difficulty, we should call on the name of the Lord. God is our provider. God is our restorer and he fights on our behalf.
We can make bad choices because we are fearful
In Genesis 12, Abram told his wife to lie that she was his sister because he was afraid he would be killed on account of his wife. This is the lie that made pharaoh command Abram to leave with his household. Fear can affect your behavior. I remember there was a time I lived in fear and whenever it became dark, I had to have some form of light in the house. I was afraid of the dark. Thank God He delivered me.
- Fear made Abram forget the promises that God had given him. At the beginning of chapter 12, God had already told Abraham that he would make him into a great nation, He would bless him, He would make his name great, and he would cause him to be a blessing. Fear can make us forget the promises of God. If you are fearful, just continue to pray that God deliver you from fear. He did not give us a spirit of fear. That kind of fear comes from the devil and acts as a doorway for him to continue to terrorize us.
- Fear will cause you to run away from the challenges of life instead of facing them head on with the realization that God is with you. Before David entered the scene where he came face to face with Goliath, the children of Israel had been running away from Goliath for many days. They were so fearful of him. He was a challenge they had never faced and none of them had the courage to face that challenge because of fear. Yet they were the people of God.
- Fear will cause you to become stuck in an area. In other words, instead of advancing, you are going to retreat. When the ten spies told the children of Israel that they looked like grasshoppers because of the giants, they retreated. They did not believe they could advance and be victorious. Even though they had seen God deliver them from Egypt in a powerful way and they had experienced the parting of the Red Sea, the fear they felt made them get stuck in a defeated mindset hence they could not get to the Promised Land.
In chapter 13, the bible says that Abram was very rich in livestock, silver and gold. Lot his nephew had great possession. Because of their possessions, there was strife therefore Abram thought it important for them to separate to keep the peace. He then asked Lot to choose where he wanted to go. He gave Lot first choice. I would have expected Lot to express reluctance in parting with Abram. I would have also expected him to give his uncle first choice instead. Just like anyone who is selfish he chose what he though was the best for himself. What he did not know what that his choice would cost him greatly.
What leads to a bad choice?
- We make bad choices because we are fully dependent on our natural eyes. When Lot looked, he saw that the land looked like the garden of God. What he did not know was just close by were a people who lived their lives contrary to the word of God. He did not know he would end up in Sodom and Gommorah and his life would never be the same again. We should ask God to help us before we choose because some choices we make can easily alter our destiny. Remember when I wrote earlier that I saw a quote that mistakes are our best teacher. Really our best teacher and our best guide is the Holy Spirit. It is important to listen to him because our eyes can lie to us. When the serpent talked Eve into eating from the tree that God had told them not to, she no longer looked at it as a forbidden tree but a tree good for food, pleasant to the eyes and desirable to make one wise. And she made the choice to eat the fruit of that tree because of how she saw it. And not only did she eat but she gave her husband and the fall happened.
- We make bad choices when we ignore the Holy Spirit. I remember a few years ago, I got a friend request on Facebook. I remember struggling with the decision because this is someone I knew. And as I was going to accept the friend request, all I heard was Noooooo. The Holy Spirit was actually very loud. I thought to myself. There is definitely a reason he said a loud no so I am just going to follow his guidance because He knows what he is talking about. I have never asked Him why he said no so loudly. All I can think of is that accepting that friend request was going to cause major issues in my life. It is important not to ignore the Holy Spirit. God has the best in store for us and as believers, the Holy Spirit is there to guide us to what God has in store for us.
- We make bad choices when we choose to ignore the red flags. In Genesis 13:12-13, the bible states, “Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.” Lot chose for himself what he believed was the best land yet this was the territory of Sodom and Gomorrah, the two most perverse and exceedingly wicked cities at the time. You would think Lot would move once he saw what the men in the land were doing. You would think he would pack and go but this is not what he did. He exposed himself and his family which had consequences. Sometimes, the red flags are staring right at us. Other times we discover them when we have made the wrong choice and we do not reverse cause before it is too late. And we stay in the situation and bear the consequences.
Consequences for Lot’s Bad Choices
- He lived a tormented life. 2 Peter 2:7-8 states, “ and if He rescued righteous Lot, who was tormented by the immoral conduct of unprincipled and ungodly men (for that just man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by what he saw and heard of their lawless acts)”. Wrong decisions will lead you into situations where you lack peace, joy and happiness. Can you imagine how Lot’s life was. Everyday, he was tormented by the immoral behavior of the men in the city he lived in.
- He had to be rescued by his uncle. There was an attack against Sodom and Gomorrah and Abram had to rescue Lot. Genesis 14:12-16 states, “And they also took [captive] Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and left, for he was living in Sodom. Then a survivor who had escaped [from the invading forces on the other side of the Jordan] came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the terebinths (oaks) of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner—they were allies of Abram. When Abram heard that his nephew [Lot] had been captured, he armed and led out his trained men, born in his own house, [numbering] three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far [north] as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and attacked and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, and also the women, and the people. Lot had to be rescued because he was at the wrong place. He was in the wrong place because he had made a bad decision.
- He lost his possessions – God eventually destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot could not run away with his possessions. Genesis 19:23-25 states, “The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained down brimstone (flaming sulfur) and fire on Sodom and on Gomorrah from the Lord out of heaven, and He overthrew (demolished, ended) those cities, and the entire valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and whatever grew on the ground. Lot lost everything. All his riches were lost in the fire. Sometimes because of bad decisions we can easily find ourselves starting from square one.
- He lost his wife – Genesis 19:26 states, “But Lot’s wife, from behind him, [foolishly, longingly] looked [back toward Sodom in an act of disobedience], and she became a pillar of salt.” I cannot imagine the pain he felt from loosing his wife. The loss of a loved one is hard to bear. This is was difficult. Sometimes we can loose people and it may not be that they die but we can loose friendships, a marriage etc because of making mistakes.
A bad choice Lot made costed him so much. And worse of all, the bible says that his two daughters slept with him and each of them got pregnant which created other issues.
When you are faced with choices, it is important to ask God the right direction to take. It may look like where God is telling you to go does not look promising however, what you need is a word from Him. I remember talking to a lady about a decision concerning a future husband. She wanted someone who was already rich. I told her that even if she was found by a man who was not rich, they would be able to build their family together. I told her that she was a favor carrier because the word of God in Proverbs 18:22 states, “He who finds a [true and faithful] wife finds a good thing And obtains favor and approval from the Lord.
I pray today that if you are at a cross roads, that you seek God so that you don’t make a mistake. I also pray that if you have made mistakes that you will ask God to restore you after you repent.
Author of Hopeful Living, Trusting God to Guide you through Life and Waiting for a Husband, The Godly Way.
Speaker and Radio Show Host of Woman Transformed
President of Woman Transformed @www.womantransformed.org