Like the year 2012, David’s reign as King of Israel was about to end. He gathered all his princes, captains, and servants together and announced his son, Solomon, would take the throne in his place. In the presence of these people, he told Solomon God had chosen him to lead the nation and build the temple. It was an exciting moment and an incredible responsibility, enough to overwhelm the most capable of leaders. Yet even more important than the planning which would be necessary to carry out this task, David stressed to Solomon that his relationship with God must be a priority.

If you study Solomon’s life in 1 Kings 3–11 and 1 Chronicles 29, you will notice he went on to build the temple as his father had instructed him. He gained a reputation for his great wisdom and riches. He enjoyed peace from his enemies for many years. He had everything a king could ask for, but he didn’t make his relationship with God a priority. In direct disobedience to the Word of God (Deuteronomy 17:16–17), he sent men to Egypt to purchase horses, married hundreds of pagan wives, and increased his supply of silver and gold. God punished Solomon for these sins, and he ultimately paid for them with his kingdom.

What is the most important thing in the world? It is your relationship with God. It doesn’t matter how busy you are in 2013, how many raises you get, how many people you have working for you, or how big your dreams and goals are; if you forget this one thing, you’ll lose everything else. Knowing God is worth more than anything. When you put Him first, He will take care of you.

Tomorrow is the first day of the new year. Why not start it out right by making God a priority? Plan your days and try to set aside time to be with Him, so you can talk to Him and He can talk to you through His Word. You can’t have real success until you put Him first. That’s the most important thing in the world.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder