Summary: Be A Man! 1) Of the Word 2) For the Word
“Be a man!” What comes to mind when you hear those words? Do you picture boys egging one another on to do some daredevil stunt like riding a skateboard down a handrail? Do you picture a sergeant berating a soldier for complaining about a tough training exercise? Would you expect to find those words in the Bible? Probably not but they were spoken by a dying father to his son in 1 Kings 2. There, King David urged Solomon to be a man…of the Word, and for the Word. David’s advice is good counsel for all men, especially fathers.
I’m sure the guys at work or your golfing buddies with would laugh if you told them that at church this weekend you learned how to be a man. Most unchurched guys think that real men don’t bother going to church. They see church as a place for the weak and insecure, not for those who are sure of their masculinity. That just goes to show how little people know about the Bible, for the author of our text, King David, was anything but weak and insecure. Already as a teenager he had killed lions and bears that dared attack his father’s flock. His crowning achievement as a teenager came when he faced the nine-foot plus giant, Goliath. He did this even though seasoned veterans of King Saul’s army shook with fear at the sound of Goliath’s voice. David didn’t just face Goliath; he defeated him with one well-aimed stone to the forehead. David wasn’t just some dumb jock either who was good on the battlefield. He was also a singer/songwriter, skillful enough to play in the courts of King Saul. If anyone was a man’s man, it was David. At the end of his life David told his son Solomon the secret of being a man. If Solomon wanted to be a man, he would first of all need to become a man of God’s Word.
Fathers, are we men of the Word? Do we study it daily? Don’t think we have time for that? Then consider this. God commanded the Israelite kings to personally hand copy the first five books of the Bible and to study those copies daily (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). If God thought it was important for the kings of Israel to study his Word daily, shouldn’t it be important for us to do? And if busy kings were to find time for God’s Word, then we certainly can make time for the Word as well.
Real men don’t just read God’s Word, however, they put it into practice. David said to Solomon: “Walk in [God’s] ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go” (1 Kings 2:3b).
For a time Solomon heeded his father’s advice but as he got older, he stopped reading and living God’s Word. He listened instead to the world’s definition of a man. No longer happy with just one woman, Solomon married seven hundred women, and kept three hundred other women as concubines (1 Kings 11:3)! Solomon paid dearly for being a man of the world instead of a man of the Word. The same man who built a beautiful temple to the true God and at its dedication proclaimed that there were no other gods in the world (1 Kings 8:23), was persuaded by his wives to build altars to their idols and he eventually worshipped at them (1 Kings 11:5, 7)!
Friends, are we men of the Word or men of the world? Do we look enviously on those who bounce around from one woman to the next thinking they must be having a lot more fun than we who are married to one woman? Do we clamor to learn the latest dirty joke so we can be in with the guys? Or do we go to the other extreme and put the perceived needs of our wives ahead of God, sacrificing faithfulness to the Word to keep peace at home? If we do any of these things, we’re not being a man; we’re being cowards because it doesn’t take a lot of courage to do what the world does. No, it’s a lot harder to live by God’s Word. It takes a man to do that because the world laughs at such behavior.
Being a man doesn’t just mean reading and living God’s Word, it also means passing it on. That’s what I meant when I said that God wants us to be a man for the Word. King David demonstrated that by giving godly advice to his son Solomon. Indeed, it was more important to David to pass on to Solomon God’s Word than the riches he had accumulated.