In 2 Kings 2, Solomon is about to take on the most important job of his life. In a few short days, he will be anointed the King of Israel. As with any significant position of leadership, he will face resistance, criticism and the temptations of power. To prepare him for this momentous step, David says to him, “. . . be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires . . .” (v. 2-3)
There are just statements you read that cannot be ignored. In the midst of a rather detailed historical narrative about the succession of power as David’s health was failing is this stark statement, “act like a man.”
I couldn’t help but ask, “What does it mean to act like a man?” It is, of course, a question I will be asking for the rest of my life but today I took a quick look at the greatest man who ever lived. In Luke 19, Jesus demonstrates a few characteristics of men who live at their peak.
Men give clear instructions. The Savior is about to enter Jerusalem for the last time. In preparation, He told two of his disciples to:
- Go to the village ahead of you
- You will find a colt that has never been ridden
- Untie it
- Bring it here
- If anyone asks tell them, “The Lord needs it.”
The instructions are simple, clear and easily applied. This is what men do when they are living at their best. When things are not good (we see a lot of this with midlife men) the instructions get confusing, self-serving and inconsistent.
Men take bold steps. The entry to Jerusalem was obvious and loud. Jesus knows that the leaders are not happy with Him. They are jealous and looking for a way to put Him to death. A man who feared for his life would have either avoided the city or entered quietly. Jesus was on a mission, however, so he audaciously encouraged the crowds to proclaim who He truly is, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (v. 38) When he was challenged by the some of the Pharisees for receiving such unheard of accolades, He responded, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (v. 40) As if this was not enough, when he entered the temple he kicked out everyone who was selling anything. It was time to be bold because the salvation of mankind was at stake.
Men have compassion. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” (v. 41) because the people He loved didn’t understand how important their decisions were going to be. “Every day he was teaching at the temple” (v. 47) with such relevance that “the people hung on His words.” (v. 47)
Give clear instructions. Take bold steps. Have compassion. Seems like good goals for today.