Danger on the Path

If we could see all the consequences of our decisions, it could make a big difference in how our life turns out. That is, if we are prudent, wise in choosing our paths, we will realize there is a connection between our decisions and their likely destinations.

Monday – Genesis 4.1-12. One of the curious things about the story of brothers Cain and Abel is what started Cain down the wrong path. If we had the opportunity to interview Cain, it’s unlikely that he would tell us he woke up one day saying to himself, “Someday, I think I’ll kill my brother and then lie to God to cover it up.” His journey down a destructive path likely began with a self-centered focus instead of a God-centered focus. A self-centered heart will end up taking you and me places that will bring us regret.

Tuesday – 1 Samuel 13.8-14. (When reading the scripture passage, insert “SAUL” instead of “HE”) To Saul, it may have seemed like a small thing. After all, he was the newly anointed king. A little disobedience can set things in motion that lead to undesirable consequences. Saul, the new king of Israel, took things in his own hands and decided to be the “lord” of his own destiny. As a result, he would eventually go down a path that included extreme jealousy, attempted murder, madness, loss of his kingship, and loss of his life. If he had realized where the path of disobedience would take him, would he have made a different decision?

Wednesday – 2 Samuel 11.1-5. David was a great leader, courageous in battle, described as a “man after God’s own heart.” But, this God-anointed leader took an unwise path when he took notice of another man’s wife. He could have looked or walked away. That would have been the wise thing. Instead, he chose to linger, look, and then take the next step down a path that would bring untold pain into his life. Did he think those initial steps were harmless? If he had to do it all over again, what steps do you think David would have taken to change his direction?

Thursday – Acts 5.1-6. The Holy Spirit was creating generous believers. People were being led to help those in need by selling property and offering the proceeds. This was a God-honoring path taking the young church to a God-honoring destination, his Kingdom coming to earth. Then, Ananias took a greed-motivated step down the path of deception. That direction yielded the worst of destinations for him and then, his wife, Sapphira. Keeping careful watch over our motives is the key to wise living.

Friday – Proverbs 27.12. Andy Stanley writes: “This verse introduces us to two kinds of people the wise and the naïve. Both are headed down the same path. Both ‘see danger,’ but they react differently. And, consequently, they experience two different outcomes.” When we act with wisdom, we “look as far down the road as possible when making decisions − all decisions.” When we act naïvely, we live as though life is disconnected, thinking that today’s decisions are not connected with tomorrow’s experiences.” Is there a decision you are considering where this wise advice can be helpful.

Saturday – Psalm 73:1-3;16-26. Read through this entire passage slowly, and prayerfully answer these questions: What big mistake did the psalmist say he made? How are you tempted to make the same mistake? What was the cure for this mistake? What speaks to you from this passage? Ask God to help you see your life and priorities with clarity.