Don’t Let the Devil steal your Identity!
This video is our Podcastst Episode 26. To watch, click the player above. For downloads, go to the end of the post.
I have been thinking a lot recently about Identity. I believe that one of the reasons that the church sometimes does not have the power it needs, and the reason that we often do not have the power in our lives that we need is that we forget our identity. Some of us have never known our identity in Christ. Others have been lied to and cheated by the enemy. The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, and one of the best ways for him to steal from you is to get you to believe his lies. If he can cause you to doubt who you are, you are halfway defeated. Remember when the devil tempted Jesus: “If you are the son of God….” Remember also in the garden, where the Serpent asked “Did God Really say…? “ The devil often does not come against you directly, and he is powerless to come against God. Instead, he will sow doubt, or condemnation, or confusion so that you forget who you are in Christ.
We will be teaching today out of First Samuel 17.
In verse on we find the armies of Israel and the armies of the Philistines meeting for battle. They met together in a place called Elah. Each army was arrayed on either side of a lower area, so the armies faced one another, each standing on a hillside, with an open, lower area between them. This type of battleground would give each army a clear view of the field that lay between them.
1 Samuel 17: 4-11
Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.  And he had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze.  He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders.  And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him.  And he stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.  “If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.”  Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”  When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
1 Samuel 17: 16 And the Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days, and took his stand.
So here is what is going on: The Philistines have this giant who is over nine and a half feet tall! If the ceilings in your house are eight feet high, Imagine a man a foot and a half taller. He had a heavy bronze helmet on his head that probably made him look even taller. His armor weighed a hundred and twenty five pounds, and the tip of his spear 15 pounds! So not only was he huge, but the warriors could see that he easily carried armor that would have been too much for a normal man. Verse 16 is a key verse: Goliath came out and challenged them for 40 days. Now, every time you see 40 days in scripture it is associated with a time of testing. So for 40 days this guy ridicules the Israelites, and no one has the guts to accept his challenge. We know from 1st Samuel 11:23 that Saul was head and shoulders taller than any man in Israel. So he would be the natural choice to go and face this warrior. But Saul had become disobedient and had fallen from favor with the Lord. He always tried to please man instead of the Lord, and had been rebuked by Samuel. For forty days the men of Israel were tested, and none had the courage and faith to come forward.
1 Samuel 17:14-30
 Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to your brothers.  “Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them.
So David was sent by his father to the battle line.
 And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.”  Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”  And the people answered him in accord with this word, saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who kills him.”
Notice now that David is the first to ask the most important question of the day: Who does this guy think he is? He is taunting the armies of the living God! So far, not a sword has been drawn, not an arrow has been shot. In spite of the enormous expense of keeping two armies in the field for forty days, this has entirely been a battle for the mind. This is a battle for Identity. Goliath knows who he is. Saul has forgotten who he is. And David is saying “Now, wait just a minute!”
Goliath had an inflated view of his power and importance. He probably had no clue that the Lord was with the people he was taunting. But notice something here…Why was it that no one that was part of the army of the Living God asked this question? Not one of the soldiers of Israel asked that question. In the site of a heavily armed warrior over nine feet tall they forgot that they were the Army of the Living God. In fact, over the last 40 days they had compromised with cowardice so many times that none of them had any courage. Perhaps it was because they had been following a man-pleasing king who had been rejected by God. Perhaps none of them, even including Saul, had a vision for the future beyond that tough situation. But here is this shepherd boy who sees clearly. He knows that Goliath and the Philistines are not in covenant with God, and the Israelites are the people of the Living God.
Sometimes we see this in our country today. So many of us get our thoughts and identity from the news media and Hollywood that we swallow whatever ideas they sow. Sure, there may be bad things going on. But if half of us are supposedly Christians. Why don’t we get busy and do something about it, like David did. If we get all of our beliefs from the TV and the media, we become nothing but a mindless consumer whose sole purpose is to cough up cash to keep big corporations and politicians going! If you get your identity from the television, then that’s all you are good for. But those who find their identity in God are meant for so much more than that!
Another thought: Maybe we should ask the same question when the devil comes to beat people up! Who do you think you are, devil! Maybe when he comes with sickness or accusation we could just say “Who do you think you are? You are NOT of the covenant, You ARE cursed, and God has Damned you to hell! You can’t talk to me like that! I am a child of the covenant! And you are a liar and a thief, so just GET OUT!
So the devil says “Two can play at that game” So the next round in our unfolding story asks the same question, but with a different viewpoint:
 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.”  But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?”  Then he turned away from him to another and said the same thing; and the people answered the same thing as before.
You can hear the devil’s accusation in Eliab’s voice. “I know who YOU are…I know your insolence! I know your wicked heart! Notice something. Eliab is one of the soldiers that has failed Goliath’s test. Is he asking the question “Who does this guy think he is?” Nope. Perhaps he is shamed by his baby brother asking this question. Perhaps hearing the battle framed in terms of the Lord’s servants verses the world’s leaves him feeling a little ashamed that he did not see things in this light. And as the oldest of the family, perhaps he resents David because he was anointed by Samuel, after all of the other sons of Jesse passed before him. But if taken to heart these words could deflate the one man who will stand up for Israel on this day. Which is exactly what the devil wants.
1 Samuel 17:31-32
When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him.  And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
So now the King hears of David. Notice the insight that David has even in his youth: “Let no man’s heart fail on account of this man.” The shepherd boy is schooling the king! We expect so little of our teens! A teen saved the nation that day. A teen was gutsy enough to put is life on the line while the fat, dumb and happy older generation stood dumbfounded. Maybe if we spoke into our teens who they are in Christ they would change the world!
1 Samuel 17:33 Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.”
Even now, the voices against David speak: Here is the King speaking: You are not able to go against this Philistine! Thanks, Saul, way to fill your troops with faith and hope! But now the private victories come to David.
1 Samuel 17:34-37 But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,  I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.  “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”  And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Most of us would say we had a rotten day if we had to fight a bear or a lion. You can bet that David was not thrilled on the day that each of these came into the pasture. But he did what he had to do, and overcame. He learned that he could face things that most men would cause most men to flee in terror. Notice also- Not only did David survive these encounters, he came to know that it was the Lord’s hand that saved him. David had a private victory out in the wilderness. I wonder if his scoffing brothers even believed his story. And yet David had a private victory, and a faith point where he Knew that the Lord’s hand was with him.
1 Samuel 17:37b -40 And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”  Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor.  And David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.  And he took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.
You can bet that as the King Saul had a pretty fine set of armor. So now he puts that armor on the boy. But if the tallest warrior in Israel cowered before the giant in that armor, what good would it be on a boy? David went into battle with what he knew, a shepherd’s sling. Some would say that David went almost unprepared. But he had two weapons that natural eyes do not see. He knew that the favor and purposes of the Lord were on Israel, and Goliath was mocking those. Perhaps he sensed that the Lord wanted to deliver His people, and was looking for a willing vessel. Knowing what the Lord’s heart and plan for a situation is a supernatural weapon in the hands of the man of faith.
The second weapon is all of those dreadful trials. The Lion. The Bear. These private faith victories prepared David for the very public victory he was to accomplish. Even though the scriptures about the whole amour of God would not be written for many years, look how David went into battle: He had those private victories that became his shield of faith. He had the sword of the Spirit that is the word- “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine!” David knew from the scriptures who the people of the covenant were. He had the shoes of peace….He had survived the lion, he would survive the giant. He has the belt of truth, because he is not listening to the devil! And he even had the helmet of salvation. David was a worshiper and prophet-psalmist, foreseeing the messiah in his songs. He was a man with faith in the Lord, a man of the covenant.
1 Samuel 17:41-47
Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him.  When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance.  And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.  The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.”  Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.  “This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,  and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”
Again notice David’s wisdom: He knows that all of this is happening so that the Earth will know that there is a God in Israel. Perhaps he had to face the trials of the bear and the lion so he could grow into the man who would face the giant. Maybe all of those trials happened so that years later, the world would know that there was a God in Israel!
The world speaks curses, but the man of God speaks of the move of the Lord. All credit, honor and Glory is ascribed to the Lord here. It was the lord who delivered David from the beasts, and it was the lord who was going to deliver David from the Giant.
Here is where the promises of God come into place. David had been anointed by Samuel. Now, the scripture does not specifically say that Samuel told David or his family that David was being anointed as King. Maybe they new. Maybe they were told, but the scripture does not specifically say. Or maybe David had to grow into the part in that cave in the wilderness before he could wear the crown. Whatever David knew of that anointing from Samuel, he knew that the Lord’s hand was on his life, and he was confidently walking that out.
Samuel 17:48-51 Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.  And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.  Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand.  Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.
The amazing thing here is that the size of the giant did not matter. David never let him get close enough for it to matter.
Samuel 17:48-51-54 When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.  And the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron.  And the sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps.  Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent.
Notice that now that David has his public victory, suddenly faith and confidence fill the men who are supposed to be the army of the Lord. They chased the Philistines all the way home. All it took was a change in outlook and a change in faith to change the outcome of the battle, and for a people to become who they are destined to be. All it took was a pebble from a shepherd who knew who he was to change the destiny of a nation. But somebody had to go stand before the giant before that pebble could fly.
Don’t let the devil steal your identity. Know who you are. Let your experiences prepare you for the battle, even the prior defeats. Know who you are in Christ. Be aware of what God’s heart and plan for the situation is, and align yourself with it. And go forward in faith.