Text: Gen 31, Joshua 6-7, 2nd Kings 5:1-27, Jonah 1:1-16
Actions are simply conduct or behaviour or deed. Your actions are likely to affect others either positively or negatively. Therefore, you should be cautious of actions that are likely to have negative effect on others. Some examples to consider in the Scriptures are the actions of Achan, Gehazi, Jonah and Rachel.
Achan's actions (Joshua 6-7)
When The Lord said to Joshua in Joshua 6:2, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men." Joshua immediately warned his people to keep away from things that are sacred to the Lord. He foresaw a situation where people might want to covet things that belong to the treasury after they might have won the battle. As recorded in Joshua 6:18-19, Joshua warned, "but keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and Iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into the treasury." As the Lord promised, He delivered Jericho into Joshua's hands. But soon after the Lord has delivered Jericho into Joshua's hand, the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things and the Lord was against them. They lost the battle against Ai because God was not with them. The Lord said to Joshua in Joshua 7:11-12, "Israel has sinned, they have violated my covenant, which I have commanded them to keep, they have taken some of the devoted things, they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies, they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction."
As directed by the Lord, a search process was made tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family and man by man. Achan, son of Zerah was the victim. After Joshua's interrogation, Achan confessed as in Joshua 7:20-21, "It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. That is what I have done. When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them." Since God's pronouncement in Joshua 7:15 is that who ever was liable shall be destroyed by fire with all that belonged to him. So Joshua together with all Israel took Achan to the valley of Achor stoned and burned him with his sons and daughters and also what he had and stolen burned.
Brethren, Achan's actions brought untold hardship to the Israelites and destruction to all that belonged to him. Consider what you do before you act. When Joshua said in 7:25 that the Lord will bring trouble on Achan because he brought trouble on them, trouble really came upon him. After the stoning and burning of Achan, the Lord turned from his fierce anger against Israel.
Jonah's actions (Jonah 1:1-16)
When Jonah the son of Amittai was running away from God, because he did not want to go and deliver the message of deliverance God sent him to Nineveh, he boarded a ship that was Tarshish bound. No sooner than he boarded, the Lord sent a great wind on the sea and a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. As all were afraid and each cried to his own god, Jonah having fallen asleep was woken up to pray to his own god. Then the sailors cast lots to find out who was responsible for the calamity and the lot fell on Jonah. The Scripture says in Jonah 1:6, "So they asked him, "Tell us who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you? They asked him what he had done. They knew he was running away from the Lord because he had already told them. When the sea was getting rougher, they asked him what they could do to him to make the sea calm down and he asked them to throw him into the sea". Jonah said in Jonah 1:12, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea, he replied and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this storm has come upon you." As soon as Jonah was thrown overboard, the raging sea grew calm. Jonah's actions through disobedience to God's instruction brought hardship to all those he boarded the ship with, and if not for divine intervention they would have all perished. Effects of your actions can cause destructions. So beware of your actions.
Rachel's actions (Gen31)
Rachel was Laban's daughter and Jacob's wife. When Jacob noticed that Laban his father-in-law's attitude changed towards him, he decided to flee from him and God backed him up as recorded in Gen 31:3. Jacob told his wives, Leah and Rachel, to get prepared to leave and they supported him too. They all set out for Canaan but unknowingly to Jacob and even to Laban, Rachel stole her father's household gods and kept them secretly. Three days after they had left Laban pursued Jacob and cut up with him but God warned Laban in a dream to be careful not to say anything good or bad to Jacob as recorded in Gen 31:24. But Laban pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead the same place where Jacob was. Laban accused Jacob of stealing his good's and Jacob answered in v32, "But if you find anyone who has your goods, he shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me and if so, take it." But Jacob still did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing. And Rachel said to her father, "Don't be angry, my lord that I cannot stand up in your presence. I'm having my period." So Laban searched but could not find the household gods.
Meanwhile, Rachel hid them in the saddle-bags of her camel and since she did not get up she could not be thoroughly searched. After the search, Jacob grew angry and took Laban to task by asking him various questions and justifying his innocence through Gen 31:36- 41. Jacob finally said in v42, "If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty handed." Definitely, the torment and harassment on Jacob and his family members from Laban were brought about by Rachel's actions.
Gehazi's actions (2 Kings 5:1-27). Gehazi was the servant of Prophet Elisha.
Naaman, the commander of army of King Aram suffered from leprosy but was healed by dipping himself in the Jordan river seven times as instructed by Prophet Elisha. When Naaman offered a gift to appreciate Elisha, he refused and Elisha said in 2 Kings 5:16, "As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing." And even though Naaman urged him, he refused. So Naaman left but Gehazi the servant of Elisha pursued him and lied that Elisha sent him to collect a talent of Silver and two sets of clothing. Naaman released them unto him but he still lied to his master Elisha that he did not collect anything. Because of this act, Elisha pronounced on him in v27, "Naaman's leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever." Then Gehazi went from Elisha's presence and he was leprous as white as snow. Gehazi did not suffer alone, he also brought great repercussion on his descendants.
Brethren, you have to put others into considerations while taking decisions and actions. You also need to ask for the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Father in Heaven, I pray that all my actions will be directed by the Holy Spirit. May I not lean on my own understanding but seek your face and take instructions from you and act according to your guidance and leading. In Jesus Name. Amen.