I have recently been reading the book of Chronicles and have been captivated by the history of the dynasties of biblical Israel.
Starting from Saul the first king of Israel, we read about God, deciding of His own will, the characteristics of the man that should be king. He did not pick a man from the rich and influential families in Israel but rather, He picked a man from the smallest family in the smallest tribe in Israel. (1 Sam 9:21)
Saul became king and started his kingdom with so much zeal. Along the line however, he got distracted and began pursuing his own agenda rather than the agenda of God who made him king. The result was that God cut short Saul’s dynasty (1 Samuel 13:14)
David was anointed the next king of Israel after Saul. He was an unlikely candidate for the throne. When Samuel was sent by God to anoint one of the sons of Jesse, David was even considered as a contender to the throne. Seven of Jesse’s sons passed before Samuel but He did not get any approval to anoint any of them as king. He must have been worried when he asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ (1 Sam 16:11) That was when Jesse mentioned that he had another son called David, who was at that moment watching the sheep. He was apparently not thought fit to be part of that gathering, talk less of being a candidate for the kingship of Israel. Jesse soon found out how wrong he was because as soon as David came in, Samuel was told by God, ‘Rise and anoint him, he is the one’ (1 Sam 16:12)
David was a remarkable king. His military prowess was next to none compared with other kings of Israel as well as his love for God. In spite of his successes however, David fell into some of the pitfalls of his success. In 2 Sam 11, we read that in the spring time, kings go on war campaigns.
At this particular time, David chose to stay in Jerusalem while he sent Joab his commander in his stead. So while his men were at the battle front, David was relaxing in his palace and then decided one day to take some fresh air on the roof of the palace. At this vantage view, he saw a woman bathing and then felt a longing within him to have the woman. He could not deal with his desire and consequently had the woman brought to him. In his effort at cover up after being told by Beersheba that she was pregnant, he engineered the murder of her husband, Uriah. This was one dark spot in David’s history as king. Although he repented of his sin, he paid dearly through the loss of his son.
Solomon became king after David. God was impressed with the new king’s devotion and gave him a blank cheque. God told him, ‘Ask me anything you want and I will give it to you’. (1 King 3:5) Solomon could have asked for anything else but asked for wisdom. His focus was on service and God recognized this. God did not only bless him with wisdom but also with wealth and influence such that no king who lived before and after Solomon could compare with him.
So many wise writings were credited to Solomon and his fame grew, so much so that people undertook pilgrimage just to hear him speak. It is therefore amazing, that Solomon did not follow his own wisdom especially as regards his affairs with numerous women who lured him away into idolatry. Solomon could not manage his success and fell into one of the numerous pitfalls of success.
Asa was another king who started well. Israel was deep in idol worship instituted from the time of Jeroboam the son of Solomon. The account of his reign begins with, ‘Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord as David his father had done’ (1 Kings 15:11) His religious reforms were extensive and even his grandmother was not spared as he deposed her from the position of queen mother because of her worship of idols. However, when Asa was faced with threats of war, he forgot how God had given him victory over armies more equipped and stronger than his own army. He made an ungodly alliance which displeased God and this cut short his reign.
What can we learn from the lives of these kings? The common denominator was that at some point in their lives, their successes got the better of them because it was not well managed. It is not just about financial success alone but it could be in the area of career, marriage, education and even spiritual.
Three key things can help us manage success at any level and these are;
Maintaining a close relationship with God – From what we learn of the Kings of Israel, the most successful of them was David. Why was this so? Because he had a continuous and consistent relationship with God. Even when he missed it, he came running to God and not away from God.
Maintaining a life of humility – Pride is subtle. We need to be vigilant when we move from one success to another because pride has a way of creeping in without us being aware. By the time we become aware, the odds are that we will justify it rather than deal with it.
We should give glory to God for all our successes, rather than our own abilities: When we see ourselves as accomplishing great feats without giving glory to God, then we run the danger of derailing whatever successes we have achieved. When we however give God glory for our successes, then we can be sure that He will continue to move us from one level of success to another.
If we can do these, we can master our successes and therefore avoid the pitfalls of those who were not able to manage their successes.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the webmaster of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He currently resides in London where he works as an IT professional. He serves in the ministerial team of his local church. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org