February 18, 2011

Blessings and Challenges

Psalm 23

I the spring, at the time when kings go off to war … David remained in Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 11:1


Life in Israel looked good under David for a long time. Battle after battle was fought with God’s blessing, and the kingdom began to thrive. Borders were expanded, claimed in the name of the Lord. The little band of Israelite tribes gradually became an empire, a real world power.

Eventually, David could stay home and rest. He could relax for once in his life. God really seemed to have blessed David. This prosperity was in some ways the answer to the prayers of faithful Israelites for many generations. God had blessed the people and expanded their territories, to the honor of his name. To anyone, this prosperity would have looked good. What’s not to like about wealth and success?

But blessings come with great responsibilities. And these blessings would bring the greatest challenges yet for Israel’s king and the nation he was leading. David’s hard years in the past had strengthened him and had drawn him closer to the God who restored his soul. But sudden ease confronted David with a challenge he had never had to deal with before.

It can be easy to overlook the challenges of prosperity. Most of us naturally hope that God will give a resounding “yes” to the requests we place before him. But would we really ask for those things if we realized the responsibilities and even the dangers they could pose for us?

Lord, you alone know what is truly good for us. Help us to trust in your care. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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