Wednesday, May 06, 2015

What is Failure?

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals  

II Samuel 17:14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalo

II Samuel 17 tells us the story of a traitor. Ahithophel, who had been an advisor for David, helped David's son, Absalom, when he rebelled against David and tried to rend the kingdom from him.
The Bible tells us of how David fled, but left a trusted friend named Hushai to counteract the advice of this traitor, Ahithophel. Sure enough, Absalom asked for advice of Ahithophel, who gave him lethal advice that probably would have defeated and killed David and given victory to Absalom. Playing his part, Hushai counteracted that good advice. Absalom followed the advice of Hushai and ignored the advice of Ahithophel. 
In the brief account of Ahithophel, you learn a couple of things by his life and death. By his life, you surmise that he was a man of great savvy and intelligence. He gave good advice, by which we mean its practical value, not its moral value. The effective advice he gave was to an evil end, and that is why God scuttled his mission. God allowed the bad advice of Hushai to be taken because it was to a good end.
Verse 23 says, "And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father."
From his death we surmise that he was a man of great pride. Most of us would not hang ourselves if our advice was not taken, but to Ahithophel his advice was his very identity. We gather that he was a man who was thorough. He didn't just hurt himself; he hanged himself. He was also a man who was organized. He put his household in order.
So here is a man who would prepare his house and then take his own life. The question is "What kind of success is that?" What kind of success is it to give great advice to an evil man and to be thorough in taking one's own life? Ahithophel reminds us that failure is simply succeeding at the wrong thing. Ahithophel was a man of great influence, intellect, organization, and pride, but he employed all these things to his own self-destruction. No such story can be considered a success story.
Today, I need to be concerned not only with improving my skills, but employing my skill to things that matter and that please God.

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