There is great cultural confusion over being male and manhood. Being male is simply the XY chromosome distinction. It is seen today in our “boys who shave” and yes may impregnate women without a commitment as husband and father. Manhood is about self-denial, honor, and destiny. Being male is about pleasure seeking, self-preservation and passivity. The Bible gives to us a pretty clear distinction of these two radically different manhood paths. We are either a son of Adam or a son of God. In my first two years as an undergrad at Penn State, I was all about pleasure seeking, self-preservation and passivity. I was a son of Adam.
Author and military veteran Cliff Graham recently came to Pittsburgh to talk about this crisis of masculinity in America. He shared the story of a Korean cruise ship disaster – the MV Sewol that recently sank. While sinking, there were many men on the deck pushing women and children away to save themselves. Of the 476 passengers on the ferry that day, mostly secondary school students, 304 died! The Captain got in a boat before everyone else, claiming that he needed to direct the evacuation from afar! On May 15, 2014, the captain and three crew members were charged with murder. The other eleven members of the crew were indicted for abandoning the ship..sons of Adam, not men of self-denial, honor and destiny.
How do we gain the empowerment to live as the sons of God, exhibiting an authentic manhood? We need “kavod,” we need a huddle of godly men, and we need the Holy Spirit.
Hebrew warriors used a word “kavod” meaning heavy and glory. It is used often in the Old Testament describing God but it is very important to us men as well. The weight or heaviness of a man’s soul must come from the glory, meaning and purpose that God bestows. Men need kavod. Fathers are meant to give weight to their son’s soul as an important part of imparting kavod as well. “In Psalm 3:3 the kavod of God is paralleled with his shield and in Job 29:20, Job’s kavod is paralleled with his bow. In Psalm 24:8 we read “who is this king of the kavod, YHWH is strong and mighty, YHWH is mighty in battle.” The original concrete meaning of kavod is battle armaments. This meaning of “armament” fits with the literal meaning of the root of kavod which is “heavy” as armaments are the heavy weapons and defenses of battle.” (Jeff A. Benner)
A huddle of men is an important place where we experience the blessing, anointing and honor our soul longs for. This is the Locking Arms life! Our brothers give weight to our soul in authentic community together. (Psalm 133, Romans 12:9-10)
In the work of the gospel the Holy Spirit imparts “kavod” to our inner man. This inner sense of glory, honor and dignity we know as “kavod,” Christ gives to us in the gospel through the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul says that God gives to us a Spirit of adoption, not a spirit of fear. His indwelling presence joins us to our Heavenly Father and we become the sons of God forever (Rom. 8:15-17). We cannot live the Christian life without Him. 1 Samuel 16 depicts David’s anointing to become King of Israel. The Lord says to Samuel, Israel’s high priest, after seeing all of David’s older brothers, each one looking far more qualified, this is my man. Really? The shepherd kid? Samuel anointed him and the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him from that day forward. Every great thing David did, every battle won emanated from that empowering. David had kavod which was given through the Holy Spirit!
What is our mission? Psalm 140:7- “O Lord my God, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle”.
The day of battle, also translated the day of your power (Psalm 110:3). This is our charge, our equipping for battle. Our purpose and our design is for battle. The Lord makes us a weapon that threatens our enemy the devil. I love the term Cliff Graham uses to express this thought, “The Lord weaponizes us to battle the evil one.” May God use us as his mighty men in the battle for our marriages, our families’, our churches, our nation and the world for his glory!