A Real Man
“Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged his son Solomon saying, I go the way of all the earth; be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; and keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself; that the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee [said he] a man on the throne of Israel" (First Kings 2 1-4).
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (First Corinthians 16:13).
In the first passage David is giving his death-bed charge to his son Solomon who was to succeed him as the next king of Israel. He told him to show himself a man and told him what that involved. It meant doing God’s will, being obedient to God’s word, living as God would have him live. That was real manhood.
In the second passage, Paul was instructing Christians in Corinth how to be faithful disciples. Among the instructions he gave was, “quit you like men.” The word “quit” meant to “behave or conduct themselves” as a real man would, not as an immature child, but a man. Every age has its desperate need for real man. And we use the term “man” to mean both men and women of certain kind and quality, but mostly males who are real men. We make a distinction between just being a male and being a real man. Jeremiah 5:1 reveals God’s charge to the prophet, “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem and see now and know and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh truth, and I will pardon it.” Jeremiah could find any number of males. But the instructions implies he would have difficulty finding a real man, the kind and quality described.
Who is a Real Man?
Just what is a real man? Real manhood is not measured in physical power or prowess. It means more than being physically strong with big biceps, tall, broad shoulders, etc. The strongest man of the Bible was Samson, but he was a moral degenerate, weak in self-discipline, void of godly character. Goliath, the giant of the Philistines, was a physical giant, but one of the idolaters that fell before the young boy’s sling. It takes more than physical bravery, athletic achievement, muscles, etc. to be classified as a real man in the sight of God.
It is more than mental power, quickness of mind and wit. Solomon was the wisest to have ever lived except the Christ. Yet he failed to heed the very directions his father David gave him. He lived an indulgent life of luxury, gradually turning to idolatry. He lived his life through in much wantonness, only to come to the ultimate conclusion that all that kind of life was vanity and vexation of spirit. There are many “wise men” of our time, scholars, geniuses in some respects, that show themselves to be fools because they even deny the reality of God. They are not real men.
Paul shows that real manhood is manifested by maturity in those things that matter. Behavior like a man should go before you call yourself a man. Do not continue to be as a child in conduct and think you are a man. Being a man, you should put away childish things and accept the duties, work, and obligations of manhood before you classify yourself as a man. The real man is one who accepts his duty to God and his fellowman, whatever that duty is, and discharges it faithfully and to the best of his ability. Just being a male does not mean you are or shall necessarily ever be a real man in the evaluation of God.
There are many poor excuses for men filling the roles of husbands and fathers today because they either do not know or will not accept their duty to God and man, wife, children, home, church, etc.
What is the duty of a real man? He is to be the head of the home as Christ is head of the church. This is not an arbitrarily assigned duty, but one that has been designated by the Creator of the home, Almighty God. This rules out the “hen-pecked husband.” This outlaws a domineering wife and the weak husband figure. There is no more reason for a woman-governed home than there is for a woman-run church. God decreed that man is to be head of the home. God made Christ the head of the church and God gave man to be head over the family. Variation from this is a variation from God’s design.
Attempts on the part of women to take over the home, assuming that they have husbands, is to show disrespect for the law of God. The failure to assume the duty over the home by the husband is another show of disrespect for the law of God. Regardless of what the fanatical “women’s rights” perversity would have us believe, this is God’s will. Departure from this is already showing its deadly results in our society and all the rabble-rousing rubbish from whatever source cannot and will not prove otherwise. People are fools to listen to and give heed to those who show such little concern for God.
There are decisions in the home that the husband ought be man enough to make, not leaving them to the wife to have to make when many times she prefers not to have to make them. Many wives have to make decisions they ought never be called upon to make because their husbands shirk the duty that is theirs. A wife has a right to a husband that will lead the family aright. Everyone in the family ought to be able to lean on him for support and direction. Some families are like the story where the wife makes all the little decisions and the husband makes the big ones. He decides whether America should declare war on an enemy, when to send up the next space flight, what to do about the nation’s economy, all the big decisions; she decides where they will live, what will be his occupation, where to go to church, how to spend the money, what to do about the children, etc.
Notice, we said the husband ought to lead. We did not say and would not contend that the husband is to drive his wife and family. Attempting to be a dictator and tyrant is not manly. A leader is always considerate of those he leads, sensitive to their needs and what is in their best interest before himself. What would you think of a man’s head that was indifferent to the welfare of the rest of his body? You would rightly consider him "nuts." That is a good description of a man who runs his family without proper love, compassion, consideration and interest for those he leads. There is nothing manly about an abusive brute who throws around his authority, running roughshod over others. Only when he is a real leader is he a real man.
He has the duty to provide for the family as best he can. God gave man this duty, to earn bread by the sweat of his brow. Unless there are reasons why he cannot provide for his family it is unmanly for him to allow others to provide for him and his. The wife is to be the “keeper of the home" the “help” that is suitable to him. She is not to ordinarily be expected to be the provider, unless there be extenuating circumstances that would demand her assistance. Too many men have allowed their wives to go to work outside the home and the home and the children have been neglected for the sake of more and more money and the things money can buy. You may not have as much, but what you can have will be worth far more than to have all that this world offers and lose the precious souls of your children through your neglect, lack of attention, failure to supervise and guide. This idea that a woman ought work outside the home has harassed the home, marriage, society, etc until America is suffering beyond measure, young and old. Young people need to think about that.
Some men are just lazy and willing to let the wife work herself to an early grave while he loafs, plays, does as little as possible. Yes, in emergencies, she should help if she can, provided the better things are not sacrificed. But we see too many “planned” emergencies that are nothing but manifestations of covetousness and greed. If a man does not provide for his own, he is worse than an infidel (First Timothy 5:8). Such spineless males can hardly be called men.
Advice to young men and young women is in order. Boys, do not marry until you are willing and can carry the load. Girls, do not marry if you are unwilling to be a homemaker which is your primary work. You have no right to violate God’s will by bringing children into a home that is turned upside down through love of money. Learn to do your duty, both the husband and wife. That is God’s way.
A real man is a good example to follow. Some think a real man is the kind that drinks beer, whiskey, etc. We see it advertised all the time. Some big “hero” guzzling down his “booze” as if he was a real man, getting his “gusto.” What a distorted picture! He is a glutton and a wine-bibber, not a real man. His evil appetite is showing his sons and daughters just what a person is not supposed to be, and he is deceived in thinking that is manhood. How many children grow up literally afraid of the presence of their father because he is a servant to the devil’s brew.
A real man is an example of honesty, clean living, clean speech, obedience to the laws, respect for authority, truthfulness. Real men do not brag how they outwitted the policeman, or cheated on a business deal. Fathers with sons in jail wonder why they ever turned out that way. Many of them can just look at the example they gave them and know why. When their mouth is stuffed with tobacco, chewing and smoking, cursing and swearing, what can you expect from that son or daughter who loves father, but he has taught them to be servants of Satan like he is.
Real men will be concerned for the home and everyone in it. They will make time to be with their children and see to it that they are growing in the right direction. So many parents really do not know their children because they spend so few hours with them during the time of their upbringing. They are strangers to their children.
Real men are examples of morality, responsibility, work, and purity. Real men do not commit adultery. Real men do not forsake their families. Real men show the dignity and honor of labor to their family Whether one is single or married, a father or not, a real man holds these things high on his list of that which is deserving of esteem.
Please get the next point. No man is a real man who is not responsible for the spiritual welfare of those of his family, including his wife and every child. The admonition to train the child, and bring the child up in the ways of God are assigned to fathers (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4). This is a duty that cannot be shifted to another. Others may help, and others may have to do it because the father fails to do it, but fathers are not real men who think all they have to do is provide food, shelter, clothing, money, etc., and forsakes the duty of spiritual guidance and instruction. Some may think it manly to be crude, gruff, coarse, worldly, irreligious, indifferent to the Lord. They may think that “church and Sunday school” are for women and children and not “real men.” But they have it backward regarding what is a real man. A real man is Christlike, walking daily in the ways of the Lord, living obediently to His every command. This takes courage, honor, conviction, loyalty, and sacrifice. But to be a real man demands it. Being the family’s religious leader is a sign of strength, not weakness. The failure in this realm is weakness, not strength. The big beer-drinking, cursing, muscular, godless brute is a dwarf and a pigmy in comparison to that person who lives nobly, honestly, truthfully, with dignity and love for God and man, doing his daily duty in fearing God and keeping His commandments. He may be small, physically inferior, financially less blessed, and all else that the world considers so important. But when one does what God wants him to do, he is a real man.
There is a story about a man who took his hog to the state fair and won first prize. But beside the pen was a boy, smoking, stunted in growth, given to profanity, a poor specimen of what a lad ought to be. It was the son of the hog’s owner. He had given more attention to the hog than his son.
Dear friend, nobody has the right to claim to be a real man until the souls of his wife and children are first and foremost in his concern. Until you do your duty before God, regardless of whatever measure you may use to test your manhood, you are not there until God approves of you. We all do well to hear and heed David’s words to Solomon, “Show thyself a man.” Listen to Paul, “Quit ye like men.” By being a faithful Christian, leading the home, providing as best you can, being a good example, showing those in your charge the way to heaven, that is real manhood.
1. Who is a real man in the sight of God?
2. How does the world mistakenly determine who is a man?
3. What are some of the qualities of a real man presented in this lesson?
4. Of all these qualities, all of which are necessary, which would you classify as
the most important?