The Side Effects Of Success

14 David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him.
15 When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him.
1 Samuel 18:14-15 (NLT)

We shall continue with the story of David. After David had successfully killed Goliath in a single combat, he became a legend. He did something that no one thought was possible. As such he would have no problem getting good jobs. He was recruited into the king’s army and served under the king. When he was there, he made friends with the prince, Jonathan. As we have read earlier, Jonathan too had strong faith. So, it was not a surprise that both men of faith became good friends.

3 And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.
4 Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.
1 Samuel 18:3-4 (NLT)

David received a lot of good stuff from Jonathan. Have you ever wonder what they talked about when they got together? Since they were both in faith, I suspect they exhorted each other in matters of faith. Their conversations must be filled with positive words. The more they talked, the more positive they got. This is essentially what fellowship is all about. As Christians, we do not get together to talk negative or to form pity parties. We are supposed to encourage each other in faith. Our words must always be positive because positive words can create good results.

David completed all the assignments from the king successfully. He was promoted to be the commander of the army.

5 Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul’s officers alike.
1 Samuel 18:5 (NLT)

David was so successful that when he was promoted, his promotion was welcome by the people and his colleagues in the army. Why would his fellow officers felt happy about his promotion? He must have done not only good jobs but exceedingly good jobs. The people loved him because he had successfully defeated all the enemies and brought peace to the nation. The soldiers loved him because he always won in every battle. It must be great to be a part of the winning team, not to mention the opportunity to plunder the enemies after they ran away.

In short David was successful in his job. The problem was, he was too successful.

6 When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals.
7 This was their song:
“Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”
8 This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!”
9 So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
1 Samuel 18:6-9 (NLT)

The king got jealous. Was that logical? Saul needed capable commanders in his army to win wars and bring peace to his kingdom. Yet, when his commander had successfully done those, he became jealous. Saul was afraid that this commander might seize his throne. How was he going to recruit capable people to his team if he was to be so insecure? This is another reason why Saul could never be a good king.

You could have met similar people in management. They expect their subordinates to do their jobs well but if any of those subordinates became too successful, they got jealous. They even resorted to steal the credits from their subordinates. If you happen to have a boss like that, you will have to seek God’s guidance on your next move. Are you going to look for new jobs or stay on? Let God guide you and help you to win. No matter how powerful that guy is, your God is greater. Trust in God and he will give you’re your success and prosperity.

If you think your problem is big, think about David. His boss was the king. He could not possibly change jobs. His life was in constant danger. His faced the possibilities of being killed from 2 sides, his enemies and his boss. Saul had even attempted to kill David in a fake accident.

10 The very next day a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman. David was playing the harp, as he did each day. But Saul had a spear in his hand,
11 and he suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David escaped him twice.
1 Samuel 18:10-11 (NLT)

Subsequently, Saul realize that he could not get David killed because David was too popular to the people and his own soldiers. He finally decided to send David away from the palace to the battlefront with a small number of soldiers. Saul must be hoping that David might eventually get killed in the battle.

12 Saul was then afraid of David, for the Lord was with David and had turned away from Saul.
13 Finally, Saul sent him away and appointed him commander over 1,000 men, and David faithfully led his troops into battle.
1 Samuel 18:12-13 (NLT)

Why did Saul give David 1,000 men? I suspect the enemies must have armies at least 10 times that size. Saul was planning to use his enemies’ soldiers to kill David. The Chinese proverb for this is called “borrow knife to kill people”. However, that did not happen. David could still win despite having only 1,000 soldiers.

14 David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him.
15 When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him.
16 But all Israel and Judah loved David because he was so successful at leading his troops into battle.
1 Samuel 18:14-16 (NLT)

Saul’s plan was back-fired. Not only was David managed to survive, he became more popular. Saul became more afraid.

Let us stop here to revise the lessons God wants us to learn.

The first lesson here is God wants us to be successful in everything we do. David obeyed God and acted in faith. As a result he killed Goliath and became a legend. After that he got a job in commanding soldiers to battles. He used the same faith and got the same results. He won in all his battles. He became famous. If we are to use our faith and obey God like David, we will also be successful like David.

The second lesson, success comes with oppositions. Sometimes your success could have caused the ones on top of you to be jealous. This is what David faced. His success had caused the king to be jealous. Saul was so jealous that he even tried to kill David. Saul had first pretended to be insane and throw spears at David. After he failed 2 times, he knew he could not repeat the same “accidents” without causing suspicion. So, he gave David the command over 1,000 soldiers and sent him to battles in hope that David could not survive with so few soldiers.

Your current jealous boss could be scheming to trap you right now. What are you going to do? In David’s case, the Lord was with him. What Saul meant for evil, the Lord turned it for David’s good. Saul sent David with only 1,000 soldiers to fight enemies many times bigger in hope that David would get killed. Yet God turned the situation around and caused David to win despite his relatively weaker army. As a result, David became more famous because he could defeat a huge army with a small army. God had caused Saul’s plan to backfire.

If God could do that for David, he can do the same for you and me. No matter how many bad things others can scheme on you, God can turn them around for your good. In other words, what other people meant for evil, God can turn them to your good. The question here is can you trust in him? Can you believe that he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world? If you can, you can rest assured that all things will work out for good. Your only responsibility is to live by faith and obey God.

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