When Trusting Our Gut Isn’t Enough

Back in the days of no GPS, traveling with me was not a good idea. You see, I am directionally challenged. I don’t understand how to read maps very well. I hate pictures. I’m a steps person, just give me a list of directions.

Dan and I went on a little weekend retreat just the two of us. We had our handy map with us which I was using to direct him. The first mistake.

We came to a fork in the highway – which way do we go? The map was not clear. Unbeknownst to Dan, I chose the way that “looked” right, in other words, trusting my gut, I guessed! The second mistake.

It became apparent that rather than guessing, I should have consulted Dan about the map since he is the one who reads them well. Finally, my third mistake.

After four hours of driving, we realized we were going the opposite direction of where we were supposed to be. Yikes!

You can only imagine the tension in the car!

Our restful weekend turned into panic! We had a performance to attend that evening. And we were so far out; we were not sure we would make it on time.

Originally, we wanted to arrive at our hotel early, relax some, go to dinner, and then go to the show. You know, start this weekend off on the right foot! But our four-hour mishap got us barely to the show on time! 

We got through that night! But let me tell you, there was some arguing going on that we needed to repent of and forgive!

Likewise, there was some quarreling happening in Abram’s camp.  

Lot, Abram’s nephew, was unaware of the dangers he was about to embrace in his life. All he could see was what appealed to his eye. If he knew the heartache that faced him because of this one decision, I wonder if he would have picked the land that he chose? When we have lost our way, we have a choice to humbly rely on God or depend on our intuition. In Lot’s case, he relied on his intuition, and it was not enough! 

Let’s get the back story! 

Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold…Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, also had flocks, herds, and tents. But the land was unable to support them as long as they stayed together, for they had so many possessions that they could not stay together, and there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.

Then Abram said to Lot, “Please, let’s not have quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, since we are relatives. Isn’t the whole land before you? Separate from me: if [you go] to the left, I will go to the right; if [you go] to the right, I will go to the left.”

Lot looked out and saw that the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well-watered everywhere like the Lord’s garden and the land of Egypt. This was before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose the entire Jordan Valley for himself. Then Lot journeyed eastward, and they separated from each other.

Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived in the cities of the valley and set up his tent near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were evil, sinning greatly against the Lord.

After Lot had separated from him, the Lord said to Abram, “Look from the place where you are. Look north and south, east and west, for I will give you and your offspring forever all the land that you see. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if one could count the dust of the earth, then your offspring could be counted. Get up and walk from one end of the land to the other, for I will give it to you.”

So Abram moved his tent and went to live beside the oaks of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord (Genesis 13:1, 5-18).

We can see that there was a beautiful choice of land to behold and one not so much.

Two people in this story needed to make a choice. One makes his based on the limits of preference, and the other humbly takes what is left, trusting that God had a plan.

What struck me in this passage is why Lot chose the land he did. “the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well-watered everywhere like the Lord’s garden and the land of Egypt.” The land of Egypt was beautiful but ungodly. Did he not remember that looks are not always as they seem? There was no careful investigation made of the people of the land he was looking at; in Sodom where Lot set up camp, “the men were evil, sinning greatly against the Lord.” This is where he would settle his family, be tormented by the evil in the land and later need a rescue.

The problem with trusting just our gut is we are limited to our perceptions, our background, past experiences, our biases, and even our sinful lust. They often deceive us. 

Unlike Lot, Abram didn’t rely on gut, he humbly sought God for his assurance; God took the dusty vision before Abram’s eyes and painted the most beautiful picture. God does that, you know! He takes what doesn’t seem so good to us at the time and turns it into the most amazing experience we could have ever had. 

Our faith in God makes His purpose pleasing to the human eye!  

Our faith in God makes His purpose pleasing to the human eye! Click To Tweet

What I love about Abram is his insistence on returning to the Lord. He made a mistake in Egypt, but worship was his fall back. He went back to the Lord; and because of this, he grew in faith. He trusted that “though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up” (Proverbs 24:16).  

Did you see that? He gets up, not gives up!

When Abram made his choice of land, he chose humility. Humility is a posture of worship that trusts God’s best in any situation. At first, His best may not be clear to our human eye (even our gut), but if we believe Him, we, like Abram, can count on receiving an inheritance of goodness from the Lord – for the Lord is good and His ways are always perfect.   

In what ways are you trusting your gut more than your God? 

Photo by By Jacob Lund


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