Where Have All the Men Gone?
by Clarence Boyd on April 8th, 2018

Everything God created was created with an identity. Identity is always specific to the created thing. For example, when it comes to mankind, each is created uniquely. You are the only you that God created. No one else can be you, and no one else will ever become you. Identity is so individualized that each person can be personally singled out. Also, identity is never limited to appearance. There are so many personal and character traits that belong to each person. Every individual can be recognized by their appearance, but more importantly, they should be recognized for their character.
 
Whenever identity is compromised, character is also impacted. In other words, no one can change his or her identity without affecting their character. Character is core to identity. Character validates identity. Character is how a person is known, and this awareness of character confirms the identity of the person. It is sobering to notice how quickly one’s character can positively or negatively alter the perception of that person’s identity. This word, identity, is defined as “sameness of essential or generic character in different instances.” This simply means that regardless of the situation or circumstances one faces, it is their response under pressure that is the greatest testimony of who they really are. An individual’s identity and character are proven through trials and tribulations. 
 
1 Samuel 22:1-2 testifies of a time when David, the future king of Israel, was on the run. His life was  threatened by the current king, Saul. Also, this was a time when the leadership of the nation was in jeopardy. The Bible reveals: “David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. (2) All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.” The Bible confirms that David was running for his life. David had no other choice but to run from his own people. In fact, the king he used to serve was now pursuing him with the intent to kill him. In short, David’s identity has been compromised. Who he was before - when he served as Saul’s armorbearer - would no longer represent his true identity. He now was someone who was threatening the throne of Israel. Someone had tampered with David’s identity!
 
The change in David’s identity was the work of King Saul. The king was intent that no one would replace him on his throne. David was a target because he had acquired the praises of the people and could be perceived as a future king. When a man’s identity is altered, it causes collateral damage. It made no difference whether the change in his identity was the result of something he had done or something someone else had done to him. People only remember what they hear or witness last. King Saul was after David, but his pursuit of David would impact others. The Bible reveals that “when David’s brothers and his father’s household heard about it (his plight), they went down to him there.” When a man’s identity is altered, so is his family’s identity and his household. No man can endure a change in his identity alone. It would become evident that David’s family would also be subjected to Saul’s pursuit.
 
Every man who went to David was in distress, or in debt, or discontented. Another way to verbalize this is to state the obvious: they were without leadership. The number one challenge to manhood is the lost of identity. No man can be a man without leadership - or without an example of what real manhood is. David became their leader, but there were yet other men who followed King Saul. Whether it is realized or not, the stage had been set for who would ultimately become the example of authentic leadership. The revelation of who would represent authentic leadership would also validate who served as the example of true manhood. A man’s identity will always be known by his leadership, or the lack thereof. 


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