Summary: This sermon looks at the lives of King Saul and King Uzziah to examine how success can lead to negative behavior on our part.
The Dangers Of Success
Success is something that we all want to obtain. We want to have it, we want to keep it, and we usually want others to know when it was that we received it. Success in and of itself is a good thing. All of us should strive to be successful in whatever it is that we are doing for it reflects on the kind of God that we serve. The Bible encourages us to go out and be successful. The Bible tells us in Prov 13:4 The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
There is an element to success that can cause us to lose friends, family members, and associates. Some become envious and others jealous of what another has done, but that’s not a danger we need to be overly concerned about. The danger of success is not what does our success do to others, but rather what does our success do to ourselves. How many of you can think of person who went out and did it, be it as small as winning a race, or marrying a person, or building a house, or landing a job, o r becoming famous, and after it happened the person changed?
There was something on the inside of that person that died, and it was replaced by another image that was fed by the person’s success. You may have thought in the language of today’s youth "Oh he ain’t all that." You may not know exactly what that "that is", but you know he or she isn’t what he or she thinks he is. There is a chance that our success can make us unfit for God’s service.
When God began searching for a man to become king of His people, he saw a man with a very humble spirit and heart. Samuel the prophet went up to this young man by the name of Saul and told him, "the desire of the people is for you to become their king." Saul responded to him by saying, "who in the world am I, the least of the least, that you would even say such a thing to me." In other words, you must have the wrong person, because I’m just a nobody. Saul was so embarrassed by what Saul had told him, when He got home and his father asked him what had happened, he wouldn’t even mention what Samuel the prophet had said.
Samuel called all the tribes together to show which person God had called to be the new king. They cast lots for each tribe. The tribe of Benjamin won. They cast lots for each clan in the tribe. The clan of Merari won. They casts lots for each family in the clan. The family of Kish won. They cast lots for each person in the family and Saul won. Even though he won, he was so humbled they could not find him. In fact God had to show them where he was. Saul was hiding in the baggage because he did not consider himself worthy of being the king. He saw himself just like everybody else.
They took Saul and made him their king. The people shouted long live the king. That sounded pretty good to him. When he went home that day, some valiant soldiers provided him with an escort. No longer would he go in and out without protection. After all, he was the king. It was not long before he led the army in battle against the Ammonites, and they destroyed them in battle. The people gave a great banquet in his honor. This was the kind of things that a person could get to enjoy. Then it happened without the Bible giving the slightest hint that something was about to go wrong.
God’s people’s enemies, the Philistines were gathering together to prepare for battle at Micmash. Samuel was to come to Saul and his army at Gilgal within 7 days to offer a sacrifice on behalf of the soldiers going into battle. The Philistine army was getting larger. Samuel wasn’t coming soon enough for some of the soldiers, so they started to desert the army. Saul was getting afraid as he got word, some of the men are deserting and running away.
The seventh day had come and still no Samuel. Saul felt he had to do something. After all, he was the king and the king should be able to do as he pleased. The man who once thought himself to humble to be the king, was now ready to declare himself, God’s special priest. Priests are never self appointed. They are called by God. Success had gone to Saul’s head. He gave the order, "bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings" They brought it to him, and he offered the sacrifice. No sooner than he had finished, Samuel arrived.