Summary: The key to success, from the eyes of David,the leader of all leaders.

Days of David:

The Test of Success

1 Samuel 18:5-16

Englewood Baptist Church

Sunday morning, April 6,2008

On Sunday nights, we have been peering into the life of David, the man after God’s own heart who was called to lead the nation of Israel in their most glorious era of history.God had given his people clear instructions from the start. As recorded in the book of Exodus,

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Exodus 19:5-6

God promised to bless his people if only they obeyed him. But the people of Israel chose to rebel and they had never truly experienced God’s unrestricted favor. They never found contentment as the treasured possession of the Lord. But then here comes riding onto the scene,a hero, an unlikely hero. He was not a cowboy,but a shepherd boy named David, and almost single-handedly, God uses this young man to bring Israel to the top. David is a leader of leaders—the most likable, lovable, admirable character in the Old Testament in my opinion. He is one of the most beloved figures in all of the Bible. A few weeks ago, I told you why. I want to summarize my opening remarks…

Why do we love David so much? I think there are several reasons:

1.David kept a journal. We call that journal today “The Psalms.” A great portion of the Psalms were written by David and these lyrics and poems give us a window into his soul. It’s one thing to read about a person from a textbook; it’s quite another to read from his diary. Through the Psalms we get to read into David’s secret thoughts—his struggles, his anger, his love for God, his hatred toward idols, his thirst for intimacy. Through the Psalms, we get to know more of David than we do of Abraham, or Moses, or Elijah. He wrote down his thoughts, and now they are preserved.

2.David was a failure. We don’t like to admit it, but we feel encouraged by other peoples’ imperfections. David was called to be the king of Israel, but he was far from perfect. He went through a series of struggles, failures,and disappointments before he ever sat on the throne. He endured a lot of pain. You and I can identify with him because we have all faced the pain of disappointment.

3.David is a “Cinderella Story.” The NCAA tournament has been on television, and this is the first year in history that all four #1 seeds made it to the Final Four. Honestly, this has been a disappointing year from my vantage point…because there was no team like Arkansas State or Applachian State that knocked off a number one seed. There weren’t many upsets, and we love it when an underdog knocks off the top dog. We love an upset, a miracle, and David is truly a miracle in the making. He inspires us to believe that God just might be crazy enough to use little people like us in a miraculous way.

The last time we caught up with David, he had just gathered 5 smooth stones and pulled off the ultimate upset. Without the armor of Saul, he took Goliath down and redeemed the nation of Israel—putting them back on top. As we look at chapter 18 tonight, I want you to see the effects that success often has on people—it often brings great testing into our lives. From the moment that the stone flew from David’s sling, his life was never the same. Goliath hit the ground, and David became like the American Idol of Israel, a rock star, a 1st round draft pick, the Heisman trophy—whatever analogy you like, he was instantly famous. If there were magazines in that day, his face would have been plastered on every cover. And now a new chapter begins in his life. Watch what happens now.

Read 1 Samuel 18:5-16.

Before we dig into this chapter, let me show a verse that is pertinent to this discussion about success. Hidden deep in the wisdom literature of God, in the old proverbs, we read this:

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,

but man is tested by the praise he receives. Prov. 27:21

Criticism can crush a person. We all know that, but praise? What’s wrong with praise? I don’t know a single person that doesn’t appreciate a little applause once in a while. But the Bible says that man is tested by the praise he receives. It is like a hot furnace—it reveals what a person is really made of. The praise that made David humble only brought the dross to the top in Saul’s heart and revealed his pride and desire for glory.

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