Godly Masculinity

Deuteronomy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:40
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This morning I wanted to preach a sermon which does justice to both Father’s Day and the Second Commandment. The heart of the Second Commandment is found not simply avoiding the use of graven images in our worship, but worshipping God only in the way He has ordained in His Word. One of the ways that idolatrous worship has infiltrated the church is through so called “gender neutral language”. Referring to God as “he” or “father” is avoided as much as possible, and in the most radical of these churches, God is sometimes referred to as “she” and “mother”. Only God has the right to name Himself. This is because it is though His names that God reveals Himself to us. God does not reveal Himself to us in images, but in words. Therefore renaming God is idolatrous. I will speak of this more fully in next week’s sermon.
With this said, we do need to recognize that part of the motivation for doing this is the sad fact that some men have misused their greater physical strength and God given authority. However, the emasculation of men and the feminization of Christian worship is not the answer. The gold standard of what a husband and father should be is not the men in our lives, but God. Even those who have been abused or abandoned by the men in their lives can look to God who is the “Father of the fatherless and the protector of widows” (Ps 68:5).
One of the Scriptures that most beautifully reveals to us godly masculinity is Psalm 23:
Psalm 23 ESV
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In this Psalm, we see three things that the Heavenly Father does for His children and Christ does for His bride the church:
He Leads Them (Psalm 23:1-3)
He Protects Them (Psalm 23:4)
He Provides For Them (Psalm 23:5-6)
In these three things, we see the answer to “toxic masculinity”, it is “godly masculinity”!
Let it look at each of these characteristics in turn:

The Godly Man Leads His Family to the Best Place

The first thing we see in Psalm 23, is that God leads His people, as a shepherd leads his flock. In the opening three verses of Psalm 23 we find an example of what is called Hebrew parallelism. Where the author, the author poetically states a truth, and then he states that truth in a different way. For example:
He leads me beside still waters
He leads me in paths of righteousness
When you see something like this, you need to realize the author is not speaking of two different places, but the same place. Why is this important? It is important because those who oppose God want us to believe the paths of righteous is a “soul killing place”. We hear this message everywhere, especially in the entertainment and music industries. For example, in songs such as Billy Joel’s Only the Good Die Young, the message is clear, religious piety and righteousness is repressive and soul destroying. Such attacks are nothing new, in other Psalms, David speaks of being attacked for his faith in God and his righteous behavior.
Psalm 23 is God’s answer to Billy Joel and those like him. As a flock of sheep would be restored by green pastures and fresh springs of water, God’s people are restored when He leads them to the paths of righteousness
The world seeks to restore their souls in anything and everything but God. People seek pleasure, wealth, status and wisdom to restore their souls. David’s son Solomon sought all these things, and although they gave him a measure of satisfaction, in the end they all were found to be vanity.
Ecclesiastes 1:2 ESV
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
Having tested everything this world has to offer, and finding them all wanting, he finds one thing what is not vanity—God!
Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Men, you are the leader of your family. You have no choice in the matter, God has ordained you as the head of your home. The only choice you have before you will be whether you will be a good leader, and this is determined where you lead your family. Will you lead your family to restore their souls in the vanity of this world or will you lead them to God and His green pastures?
Thank God today for all the godly men who lead their families to God!
The second thing we see our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus doing is protecting their people. The godly man does the same.

The Godly Man Protects His Family

Inverse four, we find God leading His flock through the “valley of the shadow of death”. This verse is speaking of a very familiar geographic feature of the Judean wilderness—deep, dark valleys in which a shepherd would have to lead his flock. The shadows in these narrow valleys were indeed “shadows of death”; for in the shadows would hide wolves, lions and thieves. The shadows in these valleys made perfect ambush spots. It was only by the shepherd’s rod, staff and most importantly, his bravery that anyone got out of these valleys alive.
Several years ago, a movie adaptation of the classic book, A Pilgrim's Progress was made. This movie was entitled A Dangerous Journey. I really like that title. I think it perfectly describes the Christian life. Although God blesses us with times of refreshment and blessing in this life, the ultimate place of refreshment and blessing is Heaven. No one can journey through this life and avoid suffering. Many foolishly teach otherwise, but Scripture is clear on this. For example, the Apostle Paul writes:
Romans 8:15–17 ESV
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
As Christians we are children of God, and as children we are heirs. When we reach spiritual maturity, we have an inheritance to receive. In Jewish culture at this time, children would receive their inheritance upon reaching adulthood, not upon the death of their parents. This is the way it is in God’s family, because God can never die. Notice, however, what we must go through before we receive that inheritance—suffering!
This life is hard and it is dangerous. That is why God as our Heavenly Father takes up His rod and staff, to protect us on our dangerous journey.
In the same way, the godly man protects his family. The world mocks this idea as old fashioned and patriarchal; but in as society and culture that is decaying before our very eyes it is more necessary than ever. Our children need to be protected from the evil philosophies of our age. Children need firm boundaries, with fathers willing to enforce those boundaries with loving discipline. Finally, fathers need to arm their children with the truth of God’s Word, in order that they can defend themselves when he is not there.
On this Father’s Day, we need to honor such men, and if we are men, we need to strive to be like that as well.
The final section of Psalm 23, shows us that the Heavenly Father provides for His family. Consequently...

The Godly Man Provides for His Family

Although the best is yet to come, and our journey to God’s green pasture is dangerous, it is also a journey with places of refreshment along the way. My favorite psalm is Psalm 84. This is a pilgrimage psalm. Israel would sing Psalm 84 as they made their way to Jerusalem to worship God at the Temple. In this psalm, we find these words:
Psalm 84:5–7 ESV
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
Notice how God provides refreshment for His people on their journey.
We know that Psalm 23:5, is speaking about our earthly pilgrimage because the table God prepares for us is “in the presence of our enemies”. As God’s children, our enemies hate us. God does not prepare for us a feast of blessings in secrete, but in the full view of our enemies. He does this to make a mockery of them!
Likewise, we need to enjoy God’s blessing in this life to fullest extent. It is one of the Enemy’s lies that the piety and righteousness is joyless. The Devil wants us to believe this because he does not want us to believe that “the paths of righteous…restore our souls”.
Men take this to heart, your children need for you to provide for them more than just the necessities of life, they need for you to provide for them joy.
As I look back to my childhood among my most treasured memories are working and sweating with my father in the yard—yes, work is fun when you do it with your dad! I remember playing catch in the evening; I remember fishing for blue gills in granddad’s pond; and I remember portaging canoes between lakes in northern Minnesota. None of these things cost a lot of money, but they are among my most treasured memories.
Fathers, the path to God’s green pastures is hard and dangerous, but make sure your children find joy in the journey as well.
Yes, the Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus are the gold standards of masculinity. On this Father’s Day, resolve to be a real man!
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