Reading: Psalm 21
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
The king rejoices in your strength, LORD.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!
You have granted him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
You came to greet him with rich blessings
and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
length of days, forever and ever.
Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the LORD;
through the unfailing love of the Most High
he will not be shaken (NIV).
Quiet stream, Orleans, Ontario — photo by David Kitz
The greatest test of a man’s character does not come during times of failure and defeat, but rather during times of success and victory. The higher a person rises the more detached he becomes from the common man’s reality. The historian Lord Acton observed that “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Despite much opposition, conflict and affliction, David, the shepherd boy, became the King of Israel. David’s character was severely tested as he wandered as a fugitive in the wilderness, but greater testing lay ahead. David’s moral failure came at the pinnacle of his success. He passed the test in the wilderness, but failed the test in the throne room. Nothing tests a man’s mettle like success.
Despite this weakness, David knew where his strength lay. His strength came from the LORD. He knew the true source of his success. Here in Psalm 21 he testifies to why he rose to prominence: The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!
When we achieve success, we need to cast our mind back to the reason for that success. It’s interesting to note that David did not take the credit for his victories. He attributed his accomplishments to the LORD. This is contrary to human nature. I am apt to crow about my triumphs, rather than give the credit to God. The truth is my abilities come from God and any success I achieve comes as a gift from Him. For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. He promotes one and deposes another (Psalm 75:6-7, TLB)
Response: Heavenly Father, help me to rightly handle the success that you bring. Lord Jesus, you are my victory over death, hell and the grave. Keep me thankful. You are more wonderful than I can imagine. I praise you. I owe any success I have achieved to you, Lord. Amen.
Your Turn: What personal success can you thank God for today? Are you giving credit where credit is due?