When I have preached
on being a man in the past, I have often joked that God provided a
picture of a virtuous wife by giving us the “Proverbs 31
Woman”, it would have been helpful if He had also given us a
description of an excellent husband by providing a “Proverbs 32
Man”. I have realized, however, why there is no such
description; because that is what God already provided in Proverbs 1-30. I am sure I could preach a year-long series on
manhood from these chapters. However, in this lesson, we will
focus on four major areas of advice and hopefully we will be
better men for it.
As we examine Proverbs,
there are three ways in which this advice should be viewed. First,
for men, this is what you must be like. Second, for unmarried
women, if you desire a happy marriage, you should look for this
kind of man. Third, for parents, use the proverbialist’s advice
to train up your sons.
husband and his God.
We know that
the husband is the head of the family (Ephesians
5:23; 6:1-4). He is the one in authority in the family. He
sets the tone, casts the vision, establishes the goals and leads
the way. Regrettably, though, too many men think that as the head
they are a law unto themselves. You must understand, you are not
the ultimate head of your family—God is (I
Corinthians 11:3). As such, you must first get your
relationship with God in line.
claims you should fear the Lord. That fear is the beginning of
wisdom. If you develop a healthy fear of God, everything else we
discuss in this lesson will follow naturally. The problem is, most
men do not walk in the fear of the Lord. They walk however they
feel like walking and then try to justify it in one way or
says you are to trust God, which is defined by saying you should
not lean on your own understanding. That is, whatever you do in
life, whether at home, at work or in the church, do it based on
what God says.
says you should submit to the Lord’s discipline. While we will
not know the extent to which God is behind what happens to us, we
must look at what happens in our lives, whether good or bad, and
learn from it.
says we should be content with having God, no matter what else we
have. Because great treasure without God will only bring trouble.
demonstrates that you need to be honest about your relationship
with God. Do not cover and justify your sins. Rather, be honest
about them, confessing them to God and turning from them.
3:6 says you should acknowledge God in all your ways. Too many
men are focused on having their own glory among their peers and
being looked up to by their community. The virtuous husband does
not make that his goal. Rather, his goal is to turn others to
glorify God, acknowledging His hand in our lives.
husband and wisdom.
begins his book by declaring that we should follow after wisdom in
1:20-33. But very few men follow after wisdom. Most follow after
whatever seems right to them. Because they do what feels good,
instead of what is wise, they mess things up (Proverbs
14:12; 16:25). When they have messed up their lives, they want
someone to bail them out, but Wisdom says she will not. Therefore,
it is incumbent upon us to pursue wisdom before we act. Proverbs
16:16 says getting wisdom is better than getting gold. How
many of us believe that? Proverbs
has so much to say about wisdom that I cannot put it all in
this lesson. However, I will hit some highlights.
mercy and honesty to be your guide. Proverbs
3:3 claims we should bind mercy and truth around our necks. Proverbs
11:1 says we need to be honest and just in our dealings with
other people. Finally, Proverbs 23:23 directs us to buy truth and do not sell it. Do not
accept the modern philosophy that truth is relative. There are
absolutes. Some things are right and some things are wrong. We
must be guided by truth. As Jesus said, the truth will free us.
If you are
to seek wisdom, you must recognize that you do not have all
wisdom. Therefore, you should seek wise counsel from others (Proverbs
11:14; 13:10; 15:12). If we do not, we will be filled with
strife and be nothing but scoffers and fools. However, do not do
as Solomon’s son did in I
Kings 12, going from counselor to counselor until you find
someone who supports what you wanted to do anyway. You might as
well not even ask anyone for advice. Just do what you were going
to do anyway—but then be ready to suffer the consequences as
Rehoboam did, losing 10 out of the 12 tribes of Israel from his
with the previous point, get rid of pride and arrogance. Consider
the following passages: Proverbs
3:7; 8:13; 11:2; 16:18-19; 26:12.
control your tongue. There will be many, otherwise seemingly good
men, whose souls will be lost because they refused to keep their
mouths shut when they ought to. Consider the following proverbs: Proverbs
10:18-21; 11:13; 15:4, 23; 17:7, 9, 27-28.
to controlling your tongue, you must learn to control your anger. Proverbs
14:29 says we should be slow to wrath. Do not be one who
explodes quickly or jumps to emotional conclusions and reactions.
says we must not boast about tomorrow because we do not know what
will happen. Too many men look to the future and think about all
that will come when some future event takes place. Do not put your
hope in tomorrow, you do not know what it will bring.
sum up many other issues of seeking wisdom, recognize that having
a good character which develops a good reputation is far better
than having lots of money. Proverbs
22:1 says that a good name is better than riches. Work so that
your name brings a positive image to people’s minds. Live such
that others can say to their friends, “I want to be like
______.” Do not sell your character and your reputation for lust
husband and his family.
everything we have discussed is to be taken in the context of
living as a husband and a father. An excellent husband and
excellent father will have the right relationship with God and
will pursue wisdom in his family. However, there are a few points
that Proverbs makes
specifically about how a wise man behaves in his family that
should be addressed.
says we should prepare our fields before building our house. This
passage says your job is to provide for your family. Therefore,
before you start thinking about a family, you make sure you can
support them. Have your fields ready first. Too many men get
married because they are “in love” and are not prepared to
support a bride. They still have to finish school and find a job.
Additionally, once you get married, before you start buying stuff,
have your fields prepared to support it. Too many men get involved
in amazing debt and have to declare bankruptcy because they had
not prepared their fields enough to pay for it.
demonstrates that you should be delighted with your own wife. Do
not be delighted with someone else’s wife. Too many think the
water is sweeter in another well. God says the water is sweetest
in your own well. Stay there. Do not wander from home and do not
look to other women. Keep in mind that this passage does not teach
us to try to make our wives into what is attractive to us. It says
we are to be attracted to her.
says we should train up our children in the way they should go.
Fathers, that is our job. Bring your kids up to maturity. Do not
hand that job over to the church, the government, the schools or
anyone else. You figure out the way your kids should go and train
them up in that way. This is a key issue of leadership. If you are
not determining the way your family goes, then you are not being
the leader. An excellent man will make this his job and accomplish
is an interesting passage. It tells a man that a foolish son will
ruin him and a contentious, nagging wife will annoy him. While we
may look at this passage as a command for sons and wives, in
reality it is for fathers and husbands. Do not raise foolish
children and you will not be ruined. Do not give your wife reason
to nag and you will not be annoyed. I know that one can be a good
father and husband and still have a foolish son or a contentious
wife. However, before accusing them, men, we must look to
husband and his work and money.
I Timothy 5:8
demonstrates that the husband is the primary provider for the
family and if he refuses to fulfill this role, he is worse than an
infidel. As we examine the virtuous husband of Proverbs
1-30, we see great advice for how a man should handle this
Proverbs 1-30 provides
an excellent contrast, rebuking what is man’s most common goal
for work and what should be his goal. Most men seek riches. Their
goal is to accumulate wealth and things. Our work then is governed
by greed in far more cases than we are willing to admit. But Proverbs
rebuke this mindset. Proverbs
23:4-5 demonstrates the folly of setting riches as your goal
in work. When material wealth is your goal, it will flee from you.
Rather, our goal in work is demonstrated by Proverbs
22:29. The desire for excellence in all you do should govern
your work. When you strive for excellence, then the other benefits
of work will accompany you.
next piece of advice for the virtuous husband is implied by
striving for excellence, however, it is given so much attention in
Proverbs that it needs
to be highlighted. The virtuous husband is to be a hard worker.
There is no room for laziness, whether on his job or in his home.
Consider passages such as Proverbs
19:15, 24; 24:30-34. Additionally consider the virtuous
man’s work seen in Proverbs
6:6; 10:4-5; 12:11, 24; 14:23. The virtuous husband does not
try to get out of work but rather is constantly industrious.
virtuous husband works hard, striving for excellence in all that
he does, he will be blessed with some extent of financial
prosperity. But the virtuous man does not fritter his resources
away on pleasure and entertainment. Rather he first uses his
resources wisely to provide for his family’s needs and his
family’s future. In Proverbs
6:6-8, the principle of preparation is highlighted. Do not
spend the summer playing because winter is coming and you must be
prepared. How many virtuous wives struggle to be managers of their
homes and prepare their family for the coming snowstorms but are
constantly contending with the folly of their husbands? Contending
with husbands who, using their mantle as head of the home, spend
the family resources on their desires and pleasures. This does not
happen with the virtuous husband. He is supportive of his wife as
manager and considers his family’s future stability above his
momentary wants. The virtuous husband only turns to pleasure when
his family is prepared. He uses wisdom to guide his use of money.
When we studied the virtuous wife of Proverbs
31, we noted that her worth was more than jewels, because the
virtuous wife is rarer than fine jewels. I have to tell you I
think the virtuous Proverbs
1-30 man is probably even rarer than that. Men, let us heed
this advice. Let us become virtuous husbands. Let us get rid of
the beams that are in our own eyes before we strive to remove the
motes that are in our wives’ eyes. I pray that as a
congregation, we may be a gold mine of virtuous husbands.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ