Dose of Truth

Dangerous up and down

Picture of Tim Richards

Tim Richards

January 31, 2024

A few years ago, I read an “Our Daily Bread” devotional by Mike Wittmer about a mountain climber who reached the summit of Mount Everest in 2019. He was treated to the unique perspective of sunrise from the 29,032-foot mountain peak. He must have felt elated at having reached this famous location. Unfortunately, the climber did not survive the descent after his remarkable achievement. The high altitude had overtaxed his heart, and he died while descending the mountain. Wittmer explained medical experts often caution climbers to not view the top of Everest as their ultimate destination, but to realize “they’re in the death zone” until they reach lower altitudes.

We can learn the important lesson of not letting our guard down after reaching the top in any area of life. Many work hard to reach their goals only to fail after they achieve their success.

A tragic illustration of this is the Biblical story of David. He survived a dangerous political climb to eventually become Israel’s king. On his way to the top, he killed a lion, a bear and even the nearly 10-foot-tall giant, Goliath. He survived all these challenges, and more, to reach the height of success.

II Samuel 8:6, describes how much God had blessed him when it says, “the Lord made David victorious wherever he went.” (NLT) It was at this point, while David was enjoying success on every front that he blew up his life. After reaching the top, David took his eyes off God, forgot how much God had honored him and did things he knew were wrong. II Samuel 11-12 tells how he had sex with the wife of one of his most dependable soldiers then tried to cover up his affair by having her faithful husband killed.

It would have been disgraceful if this affair and murder had been committed by anyone, but it was even worse since God had blessed David so generously. Instead of King David being grateful for how God had elevated him to the throne, he focused on using his position to get what he had no right to have. When God confronted David he informed him, “I would have given you much, much more.” (II Samuel 12:8, NLT)

Most of us have experienced a success at some point, let that success go to our heads, and then made a fool of ourselves. The story of David graphically illustrates that sin is not only wrong, but it also brings tragic consequences which we may not grasp at the time. When you achieve success in an area, celebrate your accomplishment and the honor which comes with it, but never stray from what is right. Remember, sin is dangerous whether we are on our way up, or on our way down.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at