These are the names of David's mighty men:
Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.
Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.
Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel's troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory.
2 Samuel 23:8-12
God gave his ancient people a land, but they had to fight to possess it and to keep hold of it.
In the same way, God has an identity for us to take hold of and possess;
to settle and cultivate;
to raise community within;
to steward on God’s behalf;
and to defend from the enemy
(“...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12).
I love these stories of David’s mighty men (David means ‘beloved,’ and these men clearly loved him), who stood their ground – even a field of lentils!
Our identity is not simply given us. It is contested. Life in the fullness of what God intends for us is not simply given us. It is contested. If we don’t know what is our ‘patch of earth’ – the ‘soil’ from which we come and to which we will return – how will we be able to possess, settle, or defend it?