That’s the question King David asked God one day when he reflected back on his past.
“Who am I, Sovereign Lord and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” 2 Samuel 7:18-19
In God’s providence, David had become the most powerful person in Israel – the King. Yet, in his younger years, no one saw him with that kind of potential.
His father saw him as a shepherd-boy the one who would master the skills of shepherding but nothing more. His brothers, saw him as their kid brother, the one who fetched them bread or water. To Goliath, David was a joke. To Saul, David was an upstart with no real threat to gaining the king’s crown.
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When David went before the Lord, he was stunned, bewildered, shocked. How did he get from the power of the way he was perceived to where he found himself – the King of Israel?
Who am I, Sovereign Lord?” is an identity question, basic to discovering who we really are.
Hannah could have asked the same question. We find Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 in a woman’s nightmare in ancient times. She could not bear children. The shame and rejection she felt daily drove her to pray and call on God. There was little else she could do. Medically there were no answers. As she struggled with her unbearable plight, there were voices around her that added to her deep struggle.
Society in that day had a strong voice to barren women. Hannah was a rejected woman. Friendless. The other woman in the story, Penniah, also had a strong voice. She let Hannah know how she perceived her. Penniah did not spare her words. “Worse than trash.”
Her loving husband, Elkanah, told her clearly. “You are worth more than ten sons.” He could not convince Hannah of his love for her. “Give it up. Give up the dream, Hannah, you are far too stressed over something you cannot change” was the message she no doubt heard.
Eli, the out-of-touch priest, misread her praying in the temple one day and asked Hannah if she had been drinking. A closet drunk. A hypocrite.
People in our lives may name us and label us, but only God knows us at the deepest level because He created us in our mother’s womb and equipped us fully to fulfill His purpose for our lives.
People like a Penniah, an Eli, or a Goliath will enter our lives at one point or another and will voice their criticism, their words of worthlessness and condemnation. Some will be like an Elkanah and be emphatic with their message: “Give it up. You are too ordinary to achieve the dream God has given you.”
You have a choice on whose voice you will hear and whose voice you will believe. It is possible to live our entire lives as strangers to ourselves because we have allowed others to shape our identity, our attitudes, and our lives.
The only way to discover who you are is to discover who God us. You were created by Him, for Him. You belong to God!
While others saw David as ordinary, the kid brother, a joke, no threat to political gain, God saw him as a King!
While others say Hannah as worthless, worse than trash, a hypocrite, too stressed…God saw her as His woman! Chosen before the foundation of the world was laid, to bear a son, Samuel, who would be leader, prophet, and priest over Israel.
In her book, Relentless Redemption, Laura Lynn Tyler Thompson, writes: “Be grateful today for those who never believed in you, they actually inspired you to be better. Be grateful for the enemy, who conspired against you, they opened the door to your next and greater purpose. Be grateful for those who underestimated God’s fingerprint on your life, they are now the ones who stand shocked at your journey.”
David makes this conclusion after his reflection:
…according to Your will, You done this great thing…how great are You, O Sovereign Lord. There is no one like You!” 2 Samuel 7:21-22
by Margaret Gibb