2 Chronicles 24 – Success or Failure?

Go to any bookstore, browse the business and leadership section, and you’ll find many books that supposedly contain the secrets of success. People want to know the steps, the formulas, and the ingredients that will make them successful.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 24, you find one man’s story of success and failure. Joash is the seven-year-old boy-king whom Jehoiada the priest had hidden as an infant to protect him from assassination. He becomes a very successful ruler by engaging in three specific behaviors.

  • First, he focused on what mattered most…the presence and glory of God.
  • Second, he persistently planned and worked toward what mattered most.
  • Third, he had people in his life who were dedicated to what mattered most.

The right focus, the right effort, and the right influences led to Joash’s success.

But when Joash changed his focus, his efforts, and his influences, he became a great failure. To the point that his life fell apart and his people turned on him. (1 Chron. 24:17-23)

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my focus?
  • How do I spend my efforts?
  • Who are the people influencing me?

Honestly answering these questions will quickly reveal why your life is going in the direction it’s going. Don’t make the mistake that Joash made. Keep your focus, efforts, and influences on what matters most. The presence and glory of God.

2 Chronicles 8-9 – When it Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

There are times in our life (though they may seem few and far between) when we look around and say, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Maybe it’s…

  • When you’re on vacation and enjoying the scenery, the food, and the relaxation.
  • When you’re in your recliner, remote in hand, snacks and drink by your side and an afternoon of sports or movies on TV.
  • When you’re lying with a newborn snuggled up against you.

Whatever it is, it’s those times when all your problems seem to fade and you’re blanketed with a sense of peace and contentment…if only for a moment.

In 2 Chronicles chapters 8-9, Israel is experiencing one of those “it doesn’t get any better than this” times.

  • The nation is experiencing a time of peace and prosperity as it had never known before.
  • Their king Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest man to ever walk the earth.
  • The nation of Israel was building, expanding, fortifying, and dominating like never before.
  • The nations of the world were drawn to and envious of Israel.
  • There was so much wealth that silver was as plentiful as stones.

It would literally never get any better for Israel than it was at this time.

When times are going well for us, we should…

  • Realize that these times are a gift from God; a demonstration of His grace and love in a tangible way.
  • Be grateful and enjoy them.
  • Remember, nothing last forever, so be responsible and make the most of the time.

Such times should remind us to focus on God and respond to Him with recognition, gratitude, and submission. Be careful in the good times not to take them or God, for granted. Learn to be a good steward of the good times.

1 Chronicles 28 – How to Accomplish More

How do they do it? The movers. The shakers. The accomplishers. The Bill Gates. The Steve Jobs. The Walt Disneys. The Jeff Bazos. How do they do it?

In 1 Chronicles chapter 28, we’re privileged to listen in as one accomplisher hands down instructions to his successor. King David, the shepherd boy turned world-renowned leader, shares with his son Solomon what he needs to know to successfully carry on the work.

First, David covers the personal aspect of being an accomplisher.

He reminds Solomon to not forget personal history. David reminds Solomon of how God has been active in their personal history. (1 Chron. 28:2-7)

Then, David points to the need for personal growth. He urges Solomon to know the God of his ancestors, worship God personally, and serve God with a whole heart and a willing mind.

In the second half of the chapter, David moves from the personal aspect of being an accomplisher to the project aspect of being an accomplisher.

He points to project preparation. In 1 Chron. 28:11-19, David gives Solomon all the advance plans and preparations he (David) had made. David had spent time planning and preparing for every part of the project…long before the project actually got underway.

And finally, David points to project growth. He encourages Solomon not to get overwhelmed or discouraged by the size of the work, but rather to courageously move forward in the work, trusting God for guidance and completion.

Though we may never rule a nation, plan a battle, or build a major edifice, everything we need to accomplish can come to pass if we follow David’s example: (1) remember our personal history, (2) commit to personal growth, (3) prepare for the project ahead of us, and (4) consistently push toward project growth rather than getting overwhelmed or discouraged.

So, if you want to be more of an accomplisher, I encourage you to follow these four strategies of David.

1 Chronicles 22 – What Are You Leaving Behind?

In volleyball, there’s something called the “setup” where one player sets the ball in a good position for their teammate to score. In the setup, one player foregoes scoring making it possible for another to successfully score.

In 1 Chronicles chapter 22, David is making preparation, not for his success, but for his son’s success. Though David desired to build a temple for God, God gave that responsibility to his son, Solomon. So, David determined he would prepare and provide what was necessary for his son to be successful in carrying out that responsibility. David not only provided the materials of gold, silver, cedar, and stone; but he also provided story (1 Chron. 22:7-10) and wisdom (1 Chron. 22:13) to Solomon.

We need to learn from this example. We live in an age where everyone seems to be looking out for themselves and their own causes. This is can be an unproductive and dangerous norm to follow for it shows little concern for the generations to follow.

Yes, we need to see to our own needs, but we also need to be working for those who come after us. We need to leave a positive legacy for the next generation. One that will help them rather than hurt them.

What are you leaving behind, spiritually, relationally, emotionally, and materially for those who will come after you? Are you contributing to the building of the next generation, or are you consumed with your own stuff? What’s one thing you can do to pour into the next generation?

1 Chronicles 15 – How do You Handle Mistakes?

No one likes making mistakes, but we all make them. So the key is in how you respond to your mistakes.

Some attempt to avoid mistakes by never attempting anything new or different. Others act as if the mistake is no big deal and proceed on the same path. Neither of these responses works well. The first is unproductive and the second is unwise.

But there is a third way to respond to mistakes that’s both productive and wise, and that’s to learn from your mistake and make the appropriate adjustments.This was David’s response in 1 Chronicles chapter 15, with regards to moving the Ark of the Covenant. In 1 Chronicles chapter 13, David didn’t stop to consider how God wanted the Ark moved, and it cost a man his life. (1 Chron. 13:9-10)

Though David didn’t disregard the mistake and continue moving the Ark, he did try to avoid further mistakes by just not taking any more action.

But, in 1 Chronicles chapter 15, David learns from his mistake and makes the appropriate adjustments. He acknowledges God’s sovereignty, asks for God’s direction, and aligns himself with those instructions. The result was not only success but joy and celebration.

How do you handle your mistakes? Do you (1) back away from doing anything so you don’t make a mistake, (2) ignore the mistake and keep moving forward, or (3) survey the situation, search out God, and seek to learn from your mistake? (Hint…the prize is behind door #3)

2 Samuel 8 – How to Succeed

I’m one of those people who tends to wait and see what happens. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lazy or a slacker. I’m the type that steadily works, taking care of the day-to-day stuff; assuming that God will somehow take that and weave it together into some kind of direction or master plan.

But I’ve known people who are conquerors. They are going somewhere specific, and they have a plan to take the next piece of ground that will get them where they want to go.

This was David. In 2 Samuel chapter 8, you see a David who is focused, driven, and calculating. He works hard, makes the hard decision, and strategically advances toward his goal. And in all of this, he didn’t lose sight of the fact that it was God’s blessing (not David’s ingenuity) that made him successful.

If any of us are going to be successful, that’s the combination God’s looking for. A focused and calculated drive toward a goal, along with a grateful humility toward God for His work and blessing. Let me say that one more time…for my sake. Success comes from a focused and calculated drive toward a goal, coupled with a grateful humility toward God for His work and blessing.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be more like David.

1 Samuel 18-19 – How to be Successful

If you type “success” in Amazon’s search bar, you will come up with over 100,000 hits! Why? Because we all want to be successful. We want success in marriage, in parenting, in business, in love, in finances…in everything!

Even churches fall prey to the scramble for success. A church staff will visit other churches that are considered “successful” in hopes of determining the secret to their success. Then that staff races back to their church to implement those success formulas…hoping to to become the “successful” church others want to visit.

But grasping for success can prove as difficult as nailing Jell-O to a tree.

1 Samuel chapters 18 and 19 give us the picture of two men…David and Saul. David steadily becomes more successful, while Saul steadily becomes less successful.

What’s the difference between these two men?

1 Samuel 18:14 tells us the Lord was “with David.” The Lord aligned Himself with David, because David aligned himself with the Lord. (1 Sam. 13:13-14)  In contrast, the Lord pulled away from Saul, because Saul pulled away from the Lord. (1 Sam. 13:13-14) (1 Sam. 15:10-11) (1 Sam. 15:22-23)

It’s always easier to fall down a hill than to climb up one. It’s easy to be like Saul and allow a little self focus, a little jealousy, and a little fear to subtly send you into an increasingly downward spiral. But God calls us back from that kind of drift.

True success comes from being “with” the Lord, and He “with” you. (James 4:8) You may achieve temporal, momentary, materialistic success apart from being “with” the Lord, but it will never be a deep, abiding success that remains irrevocable in the face of circumstances.

So, always remember… in your search for success, it doesn’t matter how much talent, ability, resources, charisma, creativity, or passion you may have. If God is not “with” you, you lose.

Deuteronomy 30 – The Choice Is Yours

Choice. It’s both wonderful and scary. Choice is always there and always available. From the dawn of creation until this very moment, choice has been the canvas on which life is painted. Choice is both the common denominator and the wild card of life.

It’s amazing that God would entrust us with the privilege, power, possibility, and unpredictability of choice. The fact that the God of order would allow us to choose speaks volumes about both His extensive power and love.

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Deuteronomy 10 – The importance of Being Persistent and Consistent.

When I was younger, I used to think that success was dependent upon talent, or skill, or wealth, or connectedness. I thought those who were successful merely had the right stuff and/or were in the right place at the right time.

There’s no doubt that these things are helpful, but the older I get, the more I’ve come to believe that success is much more about being persistent and consistent. Persistence and consistency are the two inseparable keys to success…both temporally and spiritually. In his book by the same name, Eugene Peterson called it “a long obedience in the same direction.”

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Deuteronomy 6 – God’s Locker Room Instructions

Just before a big game, a coach will gather the players together in the locker room and go over instructions about the attitudes and behaviors they will need to win the game.

You would think that Moses would give the same kind of locker room instructions just before sending the Children of Israel across the Jordon river to fight for the Promised Land. But that’s not the case!

In Deuteronomy chapter 6, instead of telling them what they need to do to win the battle, Moses tells them what they need to do after they have won the battle. He warns them not about the struggle, but about the success.

It’s true. Once we’ve achieved the success we’ve desired, we must be even more on our guard, for complacency is much more threatening than combat. Struggle heightens your senses, while success dulls them. When we’re in need, we acknowledge our dependency on God. When our bellies and our bank accounts are full, we act out of self-sufficiency.

So Moses reminds them that when the battle is over, and they are living in the peace and prosperity they always dreamed of, then it’s even more important that they…

  • Revere God as the One and only sovereign Creator and Sustainer.
  • Respond obediently and promptly to His commands and directions.
  • Recall all He has done for them.

This sounds like a good reminder/warning for us. Compared to the rest of the world, we are very wealthy…even the poorest of us. We live in an abundance that much of the world can’t imagine. We’ve been blessed with this, but not guaranteed it.

So don’t forget to revere the God of your blessings. Don’t forget to respond obediently to His commands and directions. And don’t forget to recall His mighty interventions in your life.