Summary: We would like to think that after killing Goliath, David would be well-liked and admired by everyone in Israel. But the problem with success is it brings its own set of difficulties. How we handle these difficulties shows our character vefore God.
The Trouble With Success
How many like to think that when good things are happening that everyone will like us and want to rejoice with us? Most people will. But there will be people, even in the church, who will be jealous of our victories, and how we handle this jealousy and criticism depends on how we embrace the Cross of Christ.
We feel like heroes when we win the game and bums when we lose. We’re celebrities when have our picture in a magazine or newspaper and we cut it out and put it on the refrigerator. But if no one recognizes our good works we wonder what we did wrong and why God isn’t supporting us.
The trouble with success is it never arrives on its own. It is often preceded by difficulties and accompanied by pain and rejection. Furthermore, to be successful in the eyes of God takes a lot more than making big money, being popular and getting your name mentioned on T.V. That is what the world calls success. To be successful in the sight of God also involves the wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent; the ability to teach and be taught; the courage to know when and whom to fight and when to turn and walk away.
These were a number of things that David learned, and was in the process of learning, when God anointed him to be king. Since there was still twenty years to go between the anointing of David and the time he finally took the throne, God began the long and difficult process of helping David become the man God needed him to be in order to lead Israel in a way that honored God.
These 16 verses are going to give us six lessons on what happens when a person is successful in the eyes of the world and the consequences of that success. And as we will see, not everybody you meet will be happy that you’ve been successful. Let’s read our passage and see what we can learn. READ 1 Sam. 18:1-16.
Before David killed Goliath, life was very peaceful for David. He split his time between the quiet solitude of the desert watching the family sheep and the palace to play the harp for the king. Then, after obeying his father and taking food to his brothers, David sees Goliath and the rest is a history we’re still talking about today.
The last chapter ended with Saul asking Abner whose son this young man was. Abner didn’t know and the king wanted to know. Now, just because Saul was told earlier doesn’t mean he was paying attention. I think he had a bunch of people around him and he didn’t have time to learn the names and histories of the hundreds of people that served in his court. David was just a young teenager who showed up and played the harp every once in a while. But he had just saved Israel by killing their most powerful enemy. Now the entire nation of Israel will hear about the exploits of David, and David’s life will never be the same. Now he was a success.
But success isn’t all it is cracked up to be, especially personal success, for David was about to find out that not everyone is happy when you are successful. Sure, most people were at first. Jonathan becomes David’s friend but Saul, who loved David when he was just playing the harp and everything was about Saul, didn’t take it too kindly when the nation sang the praises of David louder than they did the praises of Saul. We like to think that when we’re successful then everything in life starts to fall into place, but success brings with it its own set of trials and tribulations, and David is about to find out just how true this is.
After the slaying of Goliath, we are now going to look at six consequences of such monumental success. And I believe that wise individuals and congregations can learn something from this story to keep them aware of just what might happen if they are successful in their personal life and in their church life. Now, the first thing we see after David kills Goliath is –
1. Favor (vs. 1-4). Yes, success brings with it an element of favor. Instead of allowing him to return home to watch the sheep, Saul keeps David with him. Isn’t that a nice promotion? Who wouldn’t want to leave a bunch of sheep in the desert and move to be with the king of Israel permanently? As the anointed one of Israel, God is now moving behind the scenes to bring David closer to the destiny God has prepared for him.