Success and the Will of God

One challenge facing the American colonies after they declared independence from England was establishing the commercial viability of the fledgling nation. John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and second president of the United States, went to Amsterdam to obtain a loan so the new country could pay its war debts. He found that the bankers were reluctant to grant the loan until the Dutch parliament formally recognized the United States as a country.

In 1 Chronicles 14, the author highlights three indicators of David’s success. First, David received support from Hiram, the king of Tyre. This Phoenician port city was an important center for shipping. By supplying cedar logs and craftsmen to build David’s palace, Hiram was doing more than engaging in a business transaction. He was acknowledging the legitimacy of David’s rule.

Second, the expansion of David’s family was evidence of David’s growing prosperity. Even the opposition of the Philistines gave David a kind of legitimacy, since it meant that they viewed him as a viable threat. The fact that the Lord answered when David inquired of Him is the third proof that God was behind his rise to power. David’s predecessor Saul knew that God had removed His hand of blessing from him when he inquired of God “but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets” (1 Sam. 28:6).

The mode of David’s victory in verses 13 through 16 was proof of divine support as much as the victory itself. The advance of David’s men was masked by the sound of wind in the tops of the Balsam trees. Not only did God give David the plan, He enlisted the support of creation itself in David’s cause.

Apply the Word

Most people believe the secret to success is a combination of optimism and persistence mixed with a dash of luck. Surely anyone can succeed if they try hard enough! But God was the key to David’s success. Are you hoping for success today? Then seek God first. He will show you what true success looks like.

BY John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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