Unlike fiction stories and books, the Bible tells its stories as they actually occurred. Some of God’s most favored characters, such as Abraham (called a friend of God: James 2:23), David (a man after mine own heart: Acts 13:23) , Noah (walked with God: Genesis 6:9), whose mistakes were very limited, but they are still exposed without excuses wherein they made mistakes. And the mistakes of others who are less prominent and not mentioned as special in the sight of God, are numerous.
Abraham was married to his half-sister, not an uncommon thing in that age, and in fact it was encouraged to take a wife from their own people, usually more like cousins. But as Abraham and his family was traveling to the land of Canaan, by the direction of God, he entered several different nations ruled by kings. On two occasions, Abraham lied to the kings by telling them she was his sister and not mentioning that she was his wife. (Genesis 12 and Genesis 20) The Bible tells us that she was a fair woman and Abraham feared that they would kill him to take her for their own. Except for the intervention of God, each of those situations would have proven disastrous.
All know of David’s unwise decisions of taking another man’s wife and when it was shown that she was expecting a child by David, he had her husband led into battle and withdrawn from resulting in his death. Even though God knew that David was normally a strong and faithful servant of His, it did not hinder His punishing of David. (2 Samuel 12)
Noah, a man who found favor in the sight of God, followed His instructions to the utmost degree and saved his family from the universal flood. The Bible has only praise for Noah and his obedience to God however, after the flood, he planted a vineyard and became so drunken on the wine from it, he was completely passed out. His son, Ham who was the father of Canaan, saw his father naked inside his tent. The episode is lengthy but it infuriated Noah so much that he swore a curse upon Canaan, Ham’s son. Read the story in Genesis 9.
The list of others is extensive and we will only cover a few of the lesser known characters who made unwise decisions.
The first king of Israel, Saul, was appointed at the direction of God. He began as a good king and a capable one, however, he allowed his position to fill him pride and began to make some poor decisions. Witches of that time were evil in that they professed to be able to work magic and they called upon false gods, and glorified them. Such witches were to be put to death. But Saul made a deal with the witch of Endor, that he would assure her she would not be put to death if she would bring forth dead Samuel to whom he wished to speak.
Another time he had been instructed to destroy the entire Amalekites’ kingdom, even to all their livestock. But they brought back some of the best cattle and sheep, plus the king, Agag. For these decisions opposing God’s wishes, he not only lost his kingdom, but his life.
So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.(1 Chronicles 10:13-14 KJV)
In the New Testament, Saul of Tarsus, Later called Paul, thought that he was doing good towards God by persecuting the early church of Christ which was established on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ crucifixion. He was securing papers to place them in prison and also in some cases was consenting for some to be put to death. A very poor decision and after an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was blinded for a short time. Due to his sincerity and zeal, and after his conversion, Jesus chose him to become an apostle out of season. Here is what he said later on.
I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (Acts 26:9 KJV)
These and many other such examples not only show how easily it is for man to sin against God. But the outcome of such depends upon our own turning to the right path and obeying His commands. Christians should always strive to be obedient to all of the instructions of Jesus and His inspired apostles. Being human, we do make wrong decisions, but the grace of God gives us the opportunity to repent, turn away from whatever sin we have done and strive harder to obey every precept.