A Genuine Man

By Dr. Archie L. Bost

David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.  When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.  When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.” I Samuel 17:34-35, NIV

That was bare-handed combat.  David didn’t even use a slingshot in this passage.  We don’t know anything else about how he did this great work.  But I have no doubt at all about David’s heart.  He was a warrior, pure and simple.  He shouldered his responsibility as a man and stood ready to protect whatever was in his charge.  His father’s flock depended on him for protection. 

In this fallen world, a man must find his warrior’s heart.  As a man you are also to be a kingly warrior.  Families who do not have a kingly warrior are in deadly danger in this culture.  Did you ever think about David as a model for your own life?  You should!  He was some kind of man.  After all, even our Lord Jesus enjoyed being known as “the Son of David.”

I’ve always liked David…he had a heart after God’s heart and yet he lived and sinned as all men do.  In some ways, he didn’t have much of a background.  He grew up in the backwoods, far south of the big city (the city that would someday bear his name!)  His dad’s acreage, Judah’s hill country, was off the beaten path, populated with witless sheep.

David, the sheep guard, the shepherd.  Can you close your eyes and see him?  Chewing a stem of grass, tossing rocks, rolling boulders off cliffs, watching clouds, wandering up nameless ravines, exploring caves, counting stars, strumming his harp, and – oh yeah, wrestling bears, and choking a mountain lion now and then.  The shepherd’s life: weeks of sheer boredom, punctuated by minutes of total terror.  A guy could go crazy with no one to talk to.  But David did have someone to talk to.  He talked with the Lord, the God of Israel.  And he played his harp for an audience of One.  All alone he plucked his strings; humming his songs…new songs composed of sunsets, starlight, dewy mornings, stormy winds, and untainted passion; and all for the Lord’s own ears.  He didn’t know that his songs would be recorded in the Scriptures one day.

Out there, left to himself with only the whisper of the wind, the beating of his own heart, and the still, small voice of the living God, young David came of age.  But no one saw it except God.  Then came the day when the Lord directed the boy into manhood and onto the pages of history.  It all started in a small valley west of David’s hometown.  No one but the audience of One could have known what was about to happen. It all grew from the heart of the man!  It was a warrior’s heart with two huge chambers, pumping the passionate blood of a man in love with God, and with God’s people.  What an incredible combination.  It would shake his world.  And it would touch the Heart of the universe.  God would call it a heart after His own heart.

Think of a few other biblical heroes.  Most often one of the things they had in common was a warrior’s heart.

  • With 318 men of his own household, Abraham pursued four kings and four armies, divided his forces, struck his enemies by night, thoroughly routed them, and rescued their hostages.
  • Joshua led his green troops against walled cities, populated by giants.
  • Caleb, eighty-five years old, didn’t want to sit around in a deck chair doing nothing.  He pleaded for the opportunity to drive God’s enemies out of a chunk of rough hill country.  Then he went out and did it. 
  • Nehemiah sent his men out to rebuild Jerusalem’s shattered wall with trowels in one hand and swords in the other.
  • Stephen stood toe to toe and all alone against the whole ruling body of Israel, condemned them from their own cherished history, and pointed to the Christ they’d killed, now sitting in glory at His Father’s right hand.

There are many others, who walked with God.  They were men who were willing to stand between their families and whatever lions threatened them.  1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  There are lions out there who would devour our little flocks, too.  Every day Satan is devouring men and their dreams along with their hopes for the future.  He roars loud as you enter manhood and then, later into adulthood, he roars louder and devours more because he knows that his time is getting shorter and shorter.

There is a world of many temptations that men have to fight on a very personal level.  There are many decisions that you will have to make.  Each of the true kingly warriors in Scripture listened closely to the still small voice of the living God.  As a man, you need to be a kingly warrior who loves the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind.  As the giants of this world come up on you, I pray that you will have the courage that David had when he faced the “Champion of Garth”, Goliath.  Sometimes, the giant you face will be your own temptations and personal desires.  Sometimes that giant will be your peers or our culture who want you to follow them.  Sometimes that giant will be outside forces attacking you and your family.  I pray that you will be more concerned about pleasing your audience of ONE than any one else.

With all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of manhood, may you be the man that God has called you to be.   Learn your responsibilities as a man and then shoulder those responsibilities well.  Stand ready to protect whatever is put in your charge.  But may your protection be in such a way that it pleases your audience of ONE. You must follow in the footsteps of David, and the Great Son of David, Jesus Christ. Play the man.  Be of good cheer, courageous and filled with godly hope.