Sometimes even with the best of intentions, our actions can create a series of events that we never anticipated. What’s worse, like a row of neatly arranged dominos, once the first one has been knocked over, it’s hard to stop the tumble of the other dominos.
Case in point: Abram (or Abraham, as he would come to be known later).
He followed God’s call to leave his homeland of Ur and travel to Canaan—the Promised Land. He came to Canaan as a fairly wealthy man, having built quite a portfolio in his home country. After he arrived, he built a couple of altars to God and things appeared to be going well.
Until the famine. [you can read the story for yourself here]
Then without asking God, Abram left Canaan and traveled to Egypt. This was the first domino to be knocked down. The rest that fell were the unintended consequences of this single decision.
Abram lied to the Egyptians about his wife, telling them that she was his sister. As a result, she was taken into Pharaoh’s harem. Did Pharaoh sleep with her? The Bible doesn’t say for sure. Was Sarai mad at Abram? The Bible doesn’t answer this one either, but I think we all know the answer to this question!
Abram got richer. Because Pharaoh was so happy with Sarai, Pharaoh gave him sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and servants.
But this newly acquired wealth caused yet another domino to fall.
Abram and his nephew Lot began to have arguments about their large herds of animals. To settle their dispute, they split up.
Another domino fell.
Lot, without Abram’s mentorship, moved near Sodom. He got caught up in its sinful lifestyle and lost everything he owned. All he had left were two daughters, who were wicked, manipulative young ladies.
And yet another domino.
Abram and Sarai couldn’t have children. So Sarai suggested that Abram sleep with Hagar, their Egyptian maid. Would Sarai have suggested this if Abram hadn’t abandoned her to Pharaoh? If they hadn’t gone to Egypt, Hagar wouldn’t even have been there!
And the final domino.
Hagar did get pregnant. But her son Ishmael became the father of the Arabic people. A race of people that is openly hostile to the Jewish people to this day.
So many unintended consequences. So many dominos knocked down because of just one decision.
I’m grateful that God made something good out of this, but what incredible pain and hardship exist to this day because of one decision 4000 years ago.
My takeaway: I need to lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all my heart and mind and do not rely on my own insight or understanding.