I Did That

Success is revered in our culture.  It is even more admirable when individuals have overcome great obstacles and disadvantages to achieve it.  Dr. Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon, who ran in the 2016 primaries for US President, makes my short list.  He faced multiple hardships associated with his parents’ divorce such as poverty and frequent moves that created setbacks in his schooling.  These contributed to an anger problem from which God delivered him through reading and meditating on the book of Proverbs.  His rise to success reminds me of what God did in taking a shepherd boy out of the fields to become an accomplished fighter, King David of Israel.

A notable thing both men have in common is crediting God with their success.  But that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.  Because of human failing, when it was time for the Israelites to enter the Promised Land, Moses admonished them in advance. “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18) David, well aware of these scriptures, constantly gave God the glory for his military conquests. David’s deference to God had to be perplexing to the men who fought with him, for it certainly appeared it was their own herculean effort that kept them alive.

I marvel at the contrast of David’s unwavering belief in the faithfulness of God to go ahead of him to orchestrate victory, and our own experiences in achieving success.  Frequently for us, God is not part of the equation, as we have personally done the hard work of setting goals and working diligently to accomplish them.  That would include obtaining advanced degrees, honing talents to rise above others similarly gifted, or simply being in the right place at the right time to seize an opportunity.  There is great satisfaction in looking back on the triumphs of our accomplishments and thinking, “I did that!”  Most of us see career advancements, financial gain, and status through that lens.  While a few of us will give God lip service, David knew he had to do more.  God will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8).

David accepted God’s Word through Moses as guidance.  If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” (v.19) Today’s gods are success, wealth, materialism, influence, power, body image, sensual desire, pleasure, and many more.  Are we not seeing that the foundations of our nation are being destroyed and our children are being radicalized and sexualized?

The enormity of this national tragedy leaves many of us as deer in the headlights, not knowing what to do.  Fortunately, God’s instructions are metaphorically the same today as in Moses’ time. “Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky.  But be assured today that the Lord your God is the One who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; He will subdue them before you.” (Deuteronomy 9:1, 3)

We desperately need God’s wisdom and power to deliver our country from the evil that has been loosed.  That starts with knowing what Jesus was trying to communicate in John 15:5, “apart from Me you can do nothing.” Will we actually humble ourselves and pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways? (2 Chronicles 7:14) If we choose to obey, and God works a great reversal in the trajectory of our nation, we will know without a doubt that only God can claim, “I did that.”


  1. Phil on April 10, 2024 at 11:22 am

    WOW, such a word for our time!Crying out❗️