2Samuel 10:11-12, “11 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. 12 Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: may the Lord do what seems good to Him (KJV and ESV combined)”
When you look at most men on TV sitcoms, the men are portrayed as a bumbling fool, unfit household leader, the brunt of the family jokes, the one most highly dishonored, one that has no influence over his children, and subservient to his wife. Then the guys in the movies are hard, indestructible, and the one that gets a different girl with every sequel of the movie. Hollywood is definitely confused about men and is certainly influential over our society. Ray Comfort shares in What Hollywood Believes, “It is a sad irony that when legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMiller (director of the epc movie the Ten Commandments) first came to California in the early 1900s, he settled in a small town that was giving away free land to anyone willing to build a place of worship. The town, said to be a ‘Christian’ settlement, had a picturesque name – Hollywood. Yet through the years the famous town has come to bear little resemblance to middle America” Just as Hollywood has come far from their Christian heritage, men today that profess to be Christian seem so far from what a biblical man should be. Right off the bat, let me state, that I am not saying one needs to be Christ (the perfect man) that is impossible, nor is the expectation to be Paul, John, Luke, etc…you and I are not them, but our identity should be in Christ.
Men of trustworthiness – Although this point deals with a previous verse from the text at hand, it is necessary to bring this into this message because it set the tenor for why Joab was sent to battle. The writer of Proverbs states, “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble Is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint (Proverbs 25:19).” I get frustrated by the lack of faithful men that profess to be Christians. I have found that so many are unreliable when you need them, many don’t stick to their word when they give it. Men that are simply to show up for prayer, evangelism, church service, discipleship, work, etc… when push comes to shove they are not faithful. At one time in American history there was a saying that a man’s word was his bond, how much more should our “yes be yes” and our “no be no?” Men, keep your word, with your family, with your church, with your friends, do what you said you were going to do. When you say you are going to show up, then show up, be there when you say. Look how many women have stepped up in leadership because the men have not been faithful, they have allowed this growing trend. David was able to look to Joab and “he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men (2Samuel 10:7). Can your pastor look to you and trust you will step up to serve? Can another mature believer look to you to follow through, to use your area of influence, to use your gifts/abilities to serve when called upon, or perhaps you would even go so far as to volunteer?
I have heard it said there are five stages in manhood which are: male-hood, boyhood, manhood, fatherhood, and husband-hood. The Apostle John focused on this reality of spiritual maturity when he writes 1John 2:12-15. He is not actually writing to children, young men, and fathers in the physical sense, but in the spiritual maturity sense. He writes the following: “12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one”.
Many men are still boys (little children) spiritually. Jesus called us to have faith like a child, but not the maturity of a child. Paul gave the Corinthian church a tongue lashing for still being spiritual babies. He wrote, “1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh (1 Colossians 3:1–3).” There comes a time to GROW UP! Now I recognize in all fairness that people grow at different rates spiritually, similar to physical growth. Some have growth spurts, others have slow steady growth, but all Christians, if they are Christians WILL GROW, and this is inevitable. If a Christian never grows, you can bet that they are not abiding in the vine (John 15:7). In moving from boyhood to manhood, I heard it said that taking responsibility is what separates the men from the boys. In our secular culture the man is the one that “gets the most girls,” but God is looking for men that are faithful to Him, their wives, their families, and their churches. Job is described in the following manner, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil (1:1).” Do you think he was faithful?, you bet, just read the book and how he was faithful even when his wife told him to curse God and die. I will touch specifically on Job at a later time, as he was truly a man God used.
You have to begin to be faithful in the little things, so you can be entrusted with more. Glorify God in the little things, and He will allow you to glorify Him with more. The man given one talent was UNFAITHFUL and even what he had was stripped from him and given to another, another that had been faithful with their talents. God has commanded you to daily pray, but do you?; He has commanded you to daily read the Word, but do you?; to share the Gospel, but are you?; to serve, but are you a servant? There are those that want to preach, but has He called you to lead in that capacity? A young Bible college student wanted to preach to crowds on the spectrum of a Billy Graham. I invited him to come to NYC and evangelize on the streets with me and said, let’s see how you do sharing the Gospel with one person first. The guy never even showed up. Whenever I disciple people, I see if they are faithful with the little things, and if not it saves me a lot of time knowing that I will not invest greatly in lives that are not willing to at least be faithful in the little things. If someone shares that they want to learn the Bible, I give a verse to memorize. If they are faithful we move on, if they are unfaithful it displays that their heart doesn’t have the desire that the mouth professes and it is simply lip service. We have too many professing men that are just lip service men. Recall what Jesus said in Matthew 15:7,8, “7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8“ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
Why did these give lip service, because that is truly what they believed! What you truly believe will come out when the heat is on. Recall the 3 Hebrew boys in Daniel 3, that refused to bow, and not knowing the outcome of their commitment. They obeyed God and left all the consequences to him. I preached to a man that threatened to cut me while holding a blade in his hand. Yet I shoved the sword of the spirit into his heart and he walked away convicted having put his blade away. He was cut to the heart by the Word of God.
Look into God’s Word and read about faithful men, and then examine if you are faithful. Ask those closest to you (wife, children, boss, co-worker), to be Judgment honest with you, and ask if they believe you to be faithful. Ask a faithful, mature Christian to examine your faithfulness. Do you show up at work on time, and then leave when the day is over? Do you cut corners, or do what expected of you, dare I see above and beyond what is expected of you? Do you raise your kids, or are they raising you? Are you the pastor of your home, or is have you shirked your responsibility and allowed your wife the pastor of your home?
Where are the “Joabs” to call upon now? Men be faithful, be trustworthy, and if need be, grow up. To be continued…
Until the nets are filled….Blessing Phil, The Evangelist <><