“And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.” (2 Samuel 5:10)
We live in a success-driven world. Whether it’s the person seeking to drive the newest car, the sports team striving to win the world championship, or the investment firm that promises us a wealthy retirement, we all face the temptation to be on top. But what does it take to make us truly successful?
Part of our success has to do with natural talent. Each of us have strengths and weaknesses, and often success can be achieved more easily if we can determine what it is that we are good at and then pursue it. Another factor for becoming successful is our willingness to work. Even great talent is of little value unless we are willing to put forth the effort to practice and improve. But according to today’s scripture, true and lasting success is achieved when God is with us.
In II Samuel 5, David has finally been made king over all of Israel. I say ‘finally’ because his journey began years earlier when he was first anointed by the prophet Samuel. Though David perhaps wondered at times if what Samuel had prophesied would ever come true, God had a plan. The time between David’s calling and coronation was not wasted. During these long difficult years, God turned a boy into a man. Skills that began with him watching over his father’s few sheep were honed so that he would be prepared to lead a nation. His courage to face a lion and a bear was preparation for the day when he would face mighty armies. The years of waiting upon God was the Lord’s way of helping to develop the important virtue of patience. But from beginning to end, the one important ingredient that helped David to become a great man was the truth that “the LORD God of hosts was with him.”
The world is full of men and women whose house is larger than their neighbors’, but whose home is falling apart. Over and over again we see athletes who can win the championships, but who can’t control their own life. The glamor magazines are filled with the stories of movie stars who once had a beautiful body, and then destroyed it with drugs, alcohol and sexual immorality. Money doesn’t make us truly successful, nor does fame. True success is ‘the LORD God of hosts being with us.’
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells… 7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.