Quick, name the toughest test to pass spiritually. Did you say, “Disease”? Did you say, “The death of a loved one”? Did you say, “Troubles?” Did you say, “Disappointment”? Well, there’s no doubt that none of these tests are spiritual gimmes, but would you believe that for many people the correct answer would be, “Prosperity”?
King David was just such a person. Study his life sometime and you will see why I say that. When he was a young man, he was such a spiritual wonder that God Himself rated him as a man after God’s own heart. David was most likely still in his teens when he was anointed by the prophet Samuel as the king of Israel. Not long afterwards he brought comfort to the demon-tormented Saul, the sitting king, by playing soothing music on the harp. Not long after that he slew the giant Goliath. David was on a spiritual roll!
Then began the long years wherein Saul tried to kill David, years which saw David and his personal army living in constant hiding from Saul and his troops. Was David’s behavior perfect and above reproach during those years? No, not by a long shot. But was he always God’s man, a man whose basic spiritual center was right? Yes. And David remained that way all the way up through: those years on the run from Saul, Saul’s death, David’s ascendency to the throne of Judah (the southern part of Israel), and seven years later his ascendency to the throne of all Israel.
What happened next? Oh, the story keeps getting better. As king of all the land, David unified Israel’s fiercely independent twelve tribes. He led his army in the conquering of Jerusalem. Then he expanded Jerusalem and built it into his capital city. A major part of that was him bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. We can truthfully say that, during those days, David’s decisions were, for the most part, dead on. His army was unbeatable. All the people loved him. And God was pouring out His favor upon him. God even made a covenant with him that David’s royal line would be established forever.
You see, after all the years of struggling to formally claim his annointing as king and make the nation of Israel the greatest and most godly nation on earth, David had now “arrived.” His life was just as he wanted it to be. He had remained true to God during all the trials and troubles, and now he was living in a season of major prosperity.
But guess what story from David’s life comes next. Tragically, it’s the one about how David had a one-night-stand with Bathsheba, the wife of one of David’s most loyal soldiers, Uriah. That one-night-stand resulted in Bathsheba getting pregnant. David then indirectly had Uriah killed and hastily married Bathsheba to prevent a royal scandal. You see, David emphatically failed the test of prosperity.
Noted pastor Chuck Swindoll has said, “When testing comes we get purified, but when prosperity comes we get vulnerable.” How true. So tell me, is your life looking pretty good these days? Are you enjoying more ease, comfort, and worldly blessing than you have ever known? Would you call it a season of prosperity for you? Then you’d better put in extra effort to stay on top of your game spiritually. Please don’t pull a David and forget the Lord in the midst of all that prosperity!
But what if your life isn’t looking very prosperous right now? What if you have more in common with David when he was on the run from Saul than when he was reigning as king? Well, if that’s your situation, could it be that God knows that you aren’t ready yet to handle the test of prosperity? Maybe you need some more spiritual maturing and seasoning. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but that doesn’t make it a wrong assessment. So my advice is: Don’t be so quick to gripe and complain to God that your life isn’t exhibiting much prosperity. The fact is that might just be nothing less than an act of mercy on His part.