Saul’s Success: Prize or Poison?

Saul was quite the servant-man.

His father’s will was his,

Be it plowing fields or tending herds,

He worked and served with strength and focused will.


Humility adorned his thoughts,

While he was no one big.

The son of Kish, a no-name youth,

Why should he be a king?

It seemed, to him, quite far from what he’d earned.


His strength and height were assets

When it came to farmer’s work.

His trust in God’s instructions

Through the prophet was secure.


The oil didn’t change him,

When anointed as their king.

In fact, God gave His Spirit

As a guide to live within him.

A Spirit who, if followed,

Would empower him with strength –

Strength of will, strength of courage,

Strength of purpose, strength of mind.


So, what was it in Saul’s life

That led him to a turn –

A turn away from humble strength,

To self-exalting, insecure, and hurtful fits of pride?

How could he go from “who am I?”

to “I know better than God!” ?


Through God’s pow’r and by design,

Saul had tasted something strong and potent

for the first time:

The prize and poison that is success.


He looked at his accomplishments

Which God had brought about,

And credited himself instead of,

Giving praise to God.


In pragmatism’s twisted vines,

He reasoned how to work his plans,

Hoping God would get in line,

And follow him with weak, submitted favor.


The glory long designed for God

Was robbed, and so God cut the ropes,

And Saul began his long and painful fall.




A poison or a prize?

A tool to use to bring God praise, for sure.

But many more have had a taste

And chosen to exalt its thrills

As god of all their hearts and wills

Instead of living for the God

Who gave success to us, a gift.


We take the gift, the joy-filled prize

And make it lethal poison when

We make it all of us, not all of Him.


Lord, when I hear “well done,”

“Good job,” or “I am so impressed.”

May they never overtake,

The promised joy of this one sound:

The sound of your “Well done, my child,”

When I kneel before Your throne.


Tune my heart to live for

Just those words upon my ears,

Protect me from the snare of pride,

Through all my days and years.




About Kevin Burrill

A Christian, a pastor, a widower, a husband, a father, a thinker, a worshipper, and a teacher - simply seeking to know my God more and more along the journey, and hoping that what I'm learning will impact others as I'm finding out His greatness. View all posts by Kevin Burrill

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