Reading: And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. 1 Samuel 18:2

1 Samuel chapter 17 ends with the recounting of the memorable victory David had over Goliath. David’s life was never the same after that victory. In verse two of chapter eighteen David was taken to the palace and in this we see the price of popularity: “And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.”

In many respects David was much better off in the plains of Bethlehem than he was in the king’s household and later in his own palace. Tending the sheep was less exacting than waiting on Saul or reigning in Israel. It is when David is in the wilderness that we read of his victories over the wild beasts, but when he is in the palace—the place of comfort and security—we read of his failures through the lusts of his flesh.

We should take note of David’s experience therefore, and be content in our lowly positions, if for no other reason than that with the increase of power and influence comes the increase of temptation, challenges, and enemies, the potential of greater pride and conceit, and the heavier weight of responsibility. Let us be content with our present condition and “watch and pray that

[we] enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).

For every great work a man must expect to be envied by his neighbor: no distinction or pre-eminence can be so unexceptionably obtained but it will expose the possessor to slander and malice, and perhaps to the most fatal consequences. But such trials are very useful to those who love God; they serve as a counterpoise to the honor put upon them, and check the growth of pride and attachment to the world; they exercise them to faith, patience, meekness and communion with God; they give them a fair opportunity of exemplifying the amiable nature and tendency of true godliness, by acting with wisdom in the most difficult circumstances; they make way for the increasing experience of the Lord’s faithfulness in restraining their enemies, raising them up friends, and affording them his gracious protection. —Thomas Scott