Today’s Scripture: Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. 1 Chronicles 28:8–9

Like the year 2018, 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 2019, 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