Biblical Masculinity: Desire to be a Man in the Image of God
This is a bit of a different series for me. I know the title talks about masculinity, but many ladies will be able to benefit from this as well, I pray. There has been a decisive movement against men in the last 3-5 years. Wikipedia defines Toxic Masculinity as this:
“In psychology, toxic masculinity refers to traditional cultural masculine norms that can be harmful to men, women, and society overall; this concept of toxic masculinity is not intended to demonize men or male attributes, but rather to emphasize the harmful effects of conformity to certain traditional masculine ideal.”
They state that it is not an attack on men, but nothing could be further from the truth. From TV shows to a recent ad for razors, the attack on men has been on for years and has continued to escalate. The ultimate male that the world system hopes to confront is God himself. I have heard many say that the God of the Old Testament is not the God that they serve. He is too tough, too mean, too hard and too much. They want the Jesus of the New Testament, the one who lets the little children come to Him and seemingly does not condemn people. Many want the God who does not send people to Hell. That God does not exist in the Bible.
So, let us ask ourselves ‘what does a Biblical man look like?’ What should be the characteristics of a Biblical man? What should we be looking for? What should a woman seeking a godly husband look for in her man? What should a church look for in calling a man to lead her? What should a father, a dad, a friend who is a man look like from a Biblical perspective? I hope over the next little while to take a look at this idea of masculinity and explore it in the scriptures. We will get into a book series shortly, but this is in my mind from the Lord.
- God does not hate Women.
God made women; He does not hate them. We are all aware of the account in Genesis 2:7, 21-25:
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul… And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
The books of Ruth and Esther show us that God does not hate women. Even pagan women like Rahab, if they submit to the God of Israel, are honored by God. The first persons to witness the resurrection were women, not the men. This alone is a testimony that God does not hate women. In the tradition of the day, a woman’s testimony about an event was not seen as equally credible as if it was given by a man. So for God to allow the most important part of the Gospel story to be seen and witnessed by women first is a testimony of how highly He regards women, especially godly women. See Luke 24:10-12:
“It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”
In Luke 8:1-3, we find that it was women who provided financial help to Jesus’ earthly ministry and provided for Him and His disciples to do the work:
“After this, Jesus traveled from one city and village to another. He spread the Good News about God’s kingdom. The twelve apostles were with him. Also, some women were with him. They had been cured from evil spirits and various illnesses. These women were Mary, also called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; Joanna, whose husband Chusa was Herod’s administrator; Susanna; and many other women. They provided financial support for Jesus and his disciples.”
It is clear from the Bible that God, and Jesus for that matter, does not hate women. He loves them and made them in His image to be ‘help-meets’ for their husbands. If God hates women, then most modern churches are in trouble. Most churches have attendants that are made of over 60% women. If God hates women, our churches are in trouble. But He does not; He never has and He never will.
A godly man would never reduce or not see and understand the value of the women in his life. God sees them as fearfully made. God sees them as marvelous. God refers to Israel as His bride:
Ezekiel 16:1-8 “Again, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: ‘Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.
“And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare. When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so, I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,’ says the Lord God.”
Notice that God portrays Israel as a woman, a bride. The New Testament church is called the Bride of Christ. No, God has the highest regard for women, and godly men should be the same way as well.
- Women and Men have their place.
In God’s world, men and women are equal in value. Jesus died for both men and women, and anyone who will accept the free gift of salvation offered through Jesus will be saved. We can see this in Romans 10:13:
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
But men and women are different according to the way that the Lord created us. Men and women are equal but different in just about every way. The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made:
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”
Notice that the Psalmist describes us as ‘marvelous’ in our creation. God regards women as marvelous in the way that they are made, and He regards men as marvelous in the way that they are made. But they are made differently.
I have a nurse who is a member of our church, and I am told that a coroner can tell from the bone structure if the person on the table is male or female. Even our bone structure is different. The very way that we are put together is different. We are equal but made for different things. Woman are made for child-bearing and men are not. Men are made for heavy lifting and rugged labour. For the most part, women are not. Men are mentally made for fighting in wars; most women are not. Men are good at many things, and women are good at many things. Men, for instance, have better long-distance vision and are better for night driving. Women have better peripheral vision and can see the kids in the back seat.
Men are called to be leaders in our nations, in our churches and in our homes. God has given that responsibility to the man. In Genesis 2:15-18 we see God`s first prohibitive commandment, and it was given to Adam:
“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.”
Notice that God gave man the commandment; it was his job to make sure that his wife and, subsequently, his children understood the rules of God. As such, each man is a priest to his family. Look at Deuteronomy 11:19:
“Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
Also look at Deuteronomy 6:5-9: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up. Write them down, and tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
In Job 1:5 we see Job acting as the priest of his family and offering sacrifices on behalf of his children and family before the Lord:
“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
Fathers are responsible for teaching their children about the Lord. This is not to say that women do not have a part, but the major responsibility falls on the fathers. The importance of fathers in the home is so real today, and no one wants to admit it. But I recently saw a statement where if a home is spiritually led by the kids, so that they are the ones going to church, about 9% of kids will be saved. If the home is led by the mother, about 17% will be saved. But if led by Dad, it is a whopping 83% that are saved. This is huge! God designed men to serve their families in ways that women cannot.
Women have their place as well. A read through Proverbs 31 will show us a lot about the role and place of the woman in a man’s life and in the life of the family. In Proverbs 31 beginning in verse 10, we find a woman who is industrious, who is careful to meet the needs of her family; she is a business woman and she is a great mother. We are told two amazing things about this woman. First, her value is immeasurable; her price is far above rubies. Rubies were the diamonds of Solomon’s time. They were the most precious and costly of the gemstones available to man. And, then we are told this about this woman in Proverbs 31:11:
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”
Her husband trusts her; this was so unheard of in Biblical times. The vast majority of marriages were arranged marriages; there was little romanticizing before the couple married. You literally did not know what you were getting; and for many, the very first time they had any meaningful contact would have been the wedding night. So, the idea of a man trusting his wife was not normal. But in this case, this woman had proven herself and won the heart, the mind and the trust of her husband. He did not have to worry about the safety nor the sanctity of his household.
As you can see, men and women have different roles and responsibilities. They are not in competition; rather, they are a compliment to each other. If we recall Genesis 2:20-23, we find these words that all men should know:
“And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Adam needed the woman to complete him. The idea of a ‘help meet’ means one fit to be a completer to him. Man was incomplete without the woman. This is essential for men to learn and to grow in their maturity. This helps to temper a man’s ego and also to focus his energies and efforts. God does not hate women, and neither should the men of God. Rather, God honors women and has high regard for them that He would fashion them to complete His creation.