God-given Identity


When David came to the battlefield and found all the men shaking in their boots because of Goliath, he inquired about the reward for slaying the Nephilim offspring. This inquiry was met by hostility from David’s eldest brother, Eliab. Eliab calls David proud and wicked of heart (1 Samuel 17:28). David rejects this false identity label and insists on his quest to find out why Goliath is unchallenged. What makes him brush off the insults of His brother and advance? His God-given identity. David has a solid confidence in who God has named him. David has been labelled as the anointed of the LORD and Eliab’s insults can’t take that away.

It is possible that Eliab’s hostility comes from a place of a weak identity. Perhaps Eliab is envious that of all the sons of Jesse, it was the weakest (David) who got the prophet Samuel’s outpouring. Perhaps Eliab is fearful of Goliath and is letting out his frustrations on the easy target. If that’s true, then it goes on to show how people with weak identities spew their insecurities on others, especially seemingly weak targets. This is a template for bullies- they project their insecurities on those they can pick on. But David withstands the spewing and advances with their cause. David’s strong identity leads him to have audience with the king of Israel.

The king looks at a battle-hungry David and cannot help but highlight the disparity. 1 Samuel‬ ‭17‬:‭33‬ And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” (NKJV‬‬). Saul (without ill intention) opposes the identity of David. He tells him that he can’t slay the giant, while David’s God-given identity says that he can. David’s identity says “warrior, defender, king.” Saul’s identity for David says, “Young, unrealistic, impossible.” And Saul’s opposition has got solid facts to back it up- Goliath is a trained assassin from childhood while David is just a kid. But the God-given identity of David knows that the facts don’t always align with the truth. His God-given identity says that he will slay the giant and it won’t be beginner’s luck. The imminent slaughter of the Philistine is not braggadocio; it’s a promise bankrolled by a God-given identity.

David doesn’t let his God-given identity stand opposed even by king Saul’s well-meaning commentary. David speaks confidently of his battles with lions and bears. He has a track record of his God-given identity in action. He is a warrior, defender, king. He has seen lions and bears fall down to that identity and he will soon add giants to the list. It’s not arrogance; it is assurance. Saul decides to give David the king’s armour, but David removes it because he has not been tested in them (1 Samuel 17:39). David knows he cannot operate optimally in His God-given identity if he clothes himself in the identity of another. He must embrace his God-given identity in the unique fashion it was designed. And his God-given identity leads him to five stones and a sling. When David faces the giant, Goliath speaks against David, just like Eliab did. Again, David refuses to bow to the insults of the ogre. He draws his courage from his God-given identity. He defies Goliath in the name of the LORD. He speaks. He runs. He swings. He hits. He kills. He wins. Warrior, defender, king.

The bold identity of the shepherd David is a foreshadowing of the bolder identity of the shepherd Jesus. David was the last born son, whose brothers did not believe in his anointing and destiny. Jesus was the first born son, whose brothers did not believe in his anointing and destiny. The God-given identity of David saved his sheep from the mouth of lions and bears. The God-given identity of Jesus saves his sheep from the mouth of death and hell. David’s victory over Goliath was imputed freely on the helpless Israelites. Jesus’ victory over sin and death was imputed freely by grace on helpless humanity. David saved Israel at the risk of his life. Jesus rescued you and I at the cost of his life. David’s God-given identity made him leave Israel momentarily and later returned to be crowned as king. Jesus God-given identity made Him leave the earth momentarily and will return to be crowned as King. Kings before may have slain thousands but Jesus on the cross has slain tens of thousands! He is our warrior, defender and king. Embrace his God-given identity and let it feed into your courage to rise to the occasion. Rush forth and claim your territory from the fleeing Philistines, for the Son of David has felled the giant of death.


Ernest is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, and a father. He has been married to Waturi since September 2012. They have three children- Thandiwe, Ivanna, and Theo. He is also the author of four books. The Wamboyes are passionate to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly taught and understood in our post-modern world. They are champions of biblical discipleship and furthering the Kingdom of God by transforming one person at a time. They are the founders of The Relationship Centre Ltd (TRC), an organisation that aims to promote biblical family values in contemporary urban communities.

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