The Price of a Decision
By Corinne Smelker
Every choice or decision we make has a price attached to it. If that decision is God-guided it will take us along the road of blessing. If it is made without prayer, it will take us along the road of problems. Therefore, our choices have a definite effect on our future.
Abraham is an example of a man who had choices to make. Letís pick up his life in Genesis 11:31, "Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there."
"Terah took his son AbramÖ" This looks like Terahís idea doesnít it? It looks as though he came to his family and said, "We are leaving Mesopotamia and we are going onto Canaan."
Genesis 12:1 gives us the full story: "The LORD had said to Abram, ĎLeave your country, your people and your fatherís household and go to the land I will show you.í"
"The LORD had said to AbramÖ" This is in the past tense. God appeared to Abraham and gave him four instructions:
Acts sheds more light on this. Stephen is being stoned but before he dies, he says, "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran." Acts 7:2-3.
- Leave your country,
- Leave your people,
- Leave your fatherís household. He didnít say, "Leave your fathersí house". That would be to leave a building.
- Go to a land I will show you.
This is what happened. God appeared to Abraham, back in Mesopotamia. God said, "I want you leave your country and your fatherís household, and I want you to go to the land of Canaan."
But when the time came, Terah took Lot, Abrahamís brotherís son, and some other folks, and they journeyed to Canaan. When they were halfway there, at a place called Haran, Terah said, "Weíll stay right here. This is a great place."
They stayed for five years. Eventually, Terah died. After that, God appeared the second time to Abraham, and said, "Now come on Abraham, youíve got to move on to Canaan."
Abraham faces a challenge though; heís now five years behind Godís program! Heís late! Not only is he late, heís brought Lot along with him.
Seems harmless that he decided to leave late doesnít it? What trial can possibly be attached to that? However, Abraham is about to learn that every choice and decision in life has a price attached to it.
Genesis 12:10 tells us a famine hit Canaan as Abraham arrived. Now, had he come at the appointed time, and not been five years late, he might have had dams built for his cattle and his sheep. He would have understood the territory. He would have realized the Sea of Galilee was just a little to the north of where he was. He would have been well equipped to handle the drought.
But, he didnít know the lay of the land. The only place he knew of that could supply much-needed water was the Nile River, and Egypt. Thatís where he landed up for a while. This is where another twist to the story comes in. Who do they meet there but Hagar whom Sarah decided to buy as a slave. She made a grave error in doing this, as we well know because Ishmael is the result of that decision.
In Abrahamís life, the results of God-guided decisions are evident, as are the results of wrong choices that he made in disobedience to Godís plan. The wrong choices brought problems, and the right choices brought blessings.
Another case where we see the results of a bad decision are found in 1 Kings 19.
"The Lord said to him (Elijah), ĎGo back the way you came and go to the Desert of DamascusÖí" 1 Kings 19:15.
Hereís some background: Elijah was the prophet, Godís anointed one. He was given specific instructions, to anoint three people: Hazael king over Aram, Jehu king over Israel and Elisha to be the new prophet.
Yet, Elijahís next action is, "So Elijah went from there and found ElishaÖ"
At the time King Ahab was king over Israel. He reigned for 22 years, and he was one of the most wicked kings ever, and he had reigned for much longer than most of his predecessors. Why would someone so wicked be allowed to live, while other, less evil Kings were killed?
Ahab was the seventh king of Israel. Most of the others were killed off with their entire families, most often after a word from the Lord through the prophet. Why would Ahab be any different?
Hereís why: Elijah was disobedient! He was told to anoint Hazael, and Jehu. He didnít do it. These men were ultimately responsible for killing Ahabís family. You know who anointed them? Elisha. In 2 Kings 8-10 we read the full account.
In between the time of God telling Elijah to do the job and Elisha actually fulfilling the mandate, Ahab had time to steal Nabothís vineyard, and Jezebel had time to kill Naboth. Ahab was meant to kill Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, and instead called him brother. His daughter married the King of Judah and spread all Jezebel had taught her to Judah.
Another prophet had to tell of Ahabís demise, and once that was done, Elisha anointed Jehu and Hazael. Almost immediately Ahabís family is killed, and the Ahab dynasty came to an end.
Elijah decided to continue with his journey, not a big decision in itself, but look at the ramifications. He was told to go back, he went forward, and as a result Ahabís strength and power continued, rather than being cut right then and there as God intended.
Elijah was anointed, no doubt about it, and he didnít lose the anointing even though he didnít follow all of Godís edicts. Itís important to obey God. Because of Elijahís disobedience Israel suffered.
It is important for us to realize the price of disobeying the voice of the Lord. It is only when we obey that we see the blessings God has for us. Both Abraham and Elijah were blessed when they did the correct thing. But, wrong decisions DO cost!
(All scripture taken from the New International Version)
Corinne Smelker is the mom to five kids and wife of one husband. She is a self-employed writer and also the administrator for Prophetic Life Ministry, a Christian Ministry located in San Antonio. Cori also writes and posts daily devotionals to that site. You can contact Cori via the Letters page of this Magazine.
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