Unintended Consequences

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries3 Minutes

“Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord . . .‘You will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’ Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel.’” 1 Samuel 8:8-19 NASB

The Israelites thought they discovered how to improve their lives: to have a king like other nations. As they pondered this decision, Samuel encouraged them to be realistic. He warned that a king would use them and their money and lands to achieve his own purposes.

They would regret this decision and become servants of their kings. In fact, he warned that these men would drive a wedge between them and God. But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning.

Eventually Israel experienced what many today might call the “law of unintended consequences.” For what resulted from their decision was not what was intended, hoped for, or desired.

This is a pattern repeated in many personal lives. In government and business. Even churches and Christian organizations. We see this when laws designed to solve problems give rise to new problems. Policies designed to address one set of circumstances often foster surprising results that can be worse than the original problem.

As we make decisions, we may think we have the necessary understanding, and know what to do. But God knows that our understanding is partial at best.

The Bible tells us that “man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, how then can man understand his way?” (Proverbs 20:24). That we “see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT).

What is the answer? To be cautious about our personal conclusions and focus on God. To seek His help. Remember: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).


Prayer: Father, I commit these matters to You: ________. Help me know what to do. Give me insight and wisdom. I trust in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.