1 Kings 2: What is a "Real Man"? Leadership and Masculinity

The Truth About Men:

“God’s purpose and plan for masculinity”


Solomon was called upon by his dying father to “show himself a man”. What does that mean? Is masculinity a cultural value? Can we determine what God wanted men to essentially be like? Solomon discovered what a man WAS and WAS NOT by comparing what God called on him to do with the men in his life.

In 1555, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley walked out of prison for the last time. They both were condemned to be burned at the stake for refusing to recant their personal faith in Jesus Christ. As they approached the stake, Latimer uttered these unforgettable words to his good friend: “Be of good cheer, Ridley. Show yourself a man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace…as I trust shall never be put out.” Where did Hugh Latimer learn such a phrase as “show yourself a man?”

He learned it from the lips of an ancient king named David. David was approaching death and wanted to speak to his son Solomon.  Solomon learned to be what God wanted for a man, when he stood for God’s program and learned the role of a godly man (2:2 “show yourself a man”). When he did, he secured the kingdom God put in his hands.

Key Principle: When a man understands and acts in his God-given role, he secures those placed in his care.

Solomon had to learn what a man was to be a king over men. He had to learn what a godly man was to bring the blessing of God to his family and his kingdom.

What did David mean when he told his son to “show yourself a man?” (1 Kings 2:2). Turn with me to the book of Genesis. God originally gave man what some call the “Four Roles of Manhood “. In the beginning, God created. That is the nature of our God. His creativity is astounding: galaxies and giraffes, atoms and aardvarks, mountains and molecules all show the genius of our creator God.

I read something this week entitled 50 Reasons Why It’s Good To Be a Man.I won’t read all of them but I did put together my own top-10 list:

10 You know stuff about tanks.
9 You can go to the bathroom without a support group.
8 If someone forgets to invite you to something he can still be your friend.
7 You can drop by to see a friend without bringing a little gift.
6 If another guy shows up at the same party in the same outfit, you might become lifelong buddies.
5 One wallet, one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.
4 There is always a game on somewhere.
3 Your pals can be trusted never to trap you with, “So…notice anything different?”
2 If something mechanical doesn’t work, you can bash it with a hammer and throw it across the room.
1 You can do your nails with a pocketknife.

Turn to Genesis 2. We read of God creating something completely different and new: …the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen 2:7). God created a man, in His own image and he became a living being. Masculinity is not a culturally defined term. God created men for a purpose. What are these purposes? What are the specific reasons and roles God created the man?

  1. Skip down to verse 15: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen 2:15). The man was created to “take dominion” as chapter 1 verse 28 reads in the New King James version. Adam was to be the administrator of the Garden. The same is true today. Inside every man of God beats the heart of a leader. They want to explore, and they want others to respect that they can.
  1. “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” (Genesis 2:16-17). The man was not only called to steward the land’s resources but also to steward information. Remember, Eve had not been formed yet. It is as if God were telling Adam, “I’m going to tell you this and I want you to pass it on, to teach it to others.” Inside of every godly man beats the heart of a mentor. Godly men don’t just want to get there, they want to get OTHERS there!
  1. Verse 17 concludes with this ominous warning: “…or when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:17b). Adam was clearly warned of potential danger. It was his role to be alert, to be on guard, to stand watch over himself and his family. Inside every godly man beats the heart of a guardian. This impulse leads men to war in defense of their homes and families.
  1. Verse 18 introduces a new character into this cosmic drama: “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen 2:18). Adam was given Eve to satisfy his deep longing for companionship. In more general sense, men were created to be in community. Inside every godly man beats the heart of a companion. What fun is it conquering the world if SHE doesn’t notice?

Something went wrong in the Garden though. After Eve ate the apple, God asked this question of Adam: “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8). God was not confused about Adam’s geographical location. The question was more of “Where were you?”

• Where was your influence as a leader when Eve and the serpent were chatting under the tree?

• Where was the guardian I created to protect and keep watch over her?

• Where did the mentoring process breakdown?

• Where was the faithful companion when Eve needed you most?

Adam failed, the human race fell, and men have been frustrated every since. The four callings of God into a man’s heart are that of Leader, Guardian, Mentor, and Companion. This is how God defines real manhood. Solomon was to face David’s death by adopting the essence of David’s life – a walk with God living the purposes of God!

Adonijah: The Poor Leader (1 Kings 2:13-25)

  1. Poor leaders leave people guessing whether they are safe to be with or not (2:13-14).
  2. Poor leaders confuse the standard of truth (what the world thinks versus what God says – 2:15).
  3. Poor leaders hide behind others and lead others into wickedness (2:16-21).
  4. Poor leaders force God’s leaders to defend what God has said and done (2:22-25).

Abiathar: The Poor Mentor (1 Kings 2:26-27)

Remember his story: He was at Nob when David came and ate of the bread of the Tabernacle (1 Samuel 21). He fled when Doeg the Edomite came in the name of King Saul and killed all the priestly families (including his!). David took him in (1 Sam. 22). He brought the Ephod when he came (1 Samuel 23). He went on to serve as a priest in David’s administration and did reconnaissance for David when Absalom sat for awhile on David’s throne (2 Samuel 15). When David lay dying, Abiathar foolishly sided with Adonijah.

  1. Bad mentors most often come from bad mentors. Solomon knew that a bad mentor had existed in his family generations ago (1 Kings 2:26-27; The house of Eli, see 1 Samuel 2:30-35).
  2. Bad mentors must be stopped from destroying the future. (2:27) Solomon knew that a bad mentor would keep infecting the priesthood, and dismissed him to his home in Anathoth to work a field. He LOST the WORK OF A LEVITE and was demoted to a land farmer. (Levites had no land).

Joab: The guardian who defended the wrong things! (1 Kings 2:28-35).

When Solomon came to the throne Adonijah was afraid for his life, and fled to the horns of the altar at the tabernacle for shelter. Solomon permitted him to find sanctuary there, and forgave him his offence, and said that if he proved himself a worthy man he should live without further molestation. But very soon he began plotting again, and sought to undermine Solomon now that their venerable father was dead. Solomon determined to wipe clean all of the rebellion.

Joab ran for the altar at the Tent of the Lord. Hadn’t Adonijah done this successfully before? Of course, he had no Biblical right to enter into the holy place, and lay hold on the horns of the altar; but he was desperate! (2:28)

After two premeditated murders and now a failed plot, his sin came home to him. He decided to run to the altar, though his life was not one of a fervent follower of God. There is no reference to any passion for God that we can discern, but there was a record of rebellion and murder. Solomon knew he was illegally at the altar, and ordered him executed. Benaiah tried first to get him to come out of the area (2:29), but Joan decided he would die at the altar (2:30).

Joab offers two lessons:

1) Joab found no sanctuary even though he laid hold of the horns of the altar of God’s house, because an outward show with no inner change means absolutely nothing to God.

There are man who put their trust in religious observances of different kinds. People do it all the time. Some trust in the horns of the sacraments. Men with no walk with God nor passion to have one, come to some religious sacramental communion table, looking for a blessing. Our county is filled with people who believe that a priest or pastor can dispense God in a wafer to a person who has no intention of truly surrendering to Jesus.

Spurgeon offers this insight: “Do they conceive that grace comes to men by bits of bread and drops of wine? These things are meant to put us in memory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, as far as they do that, and quicken our thoughts of him, they are useful to us; but there is no wizardry or witchcraft linked with these two emblems, so they convey as form of grace. If you do rely upon such things, I can only say that this error is all of a piece: it is a superstition which begins with, “In my baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven“; which statement is altogether false; and then it continues the delusion by prostituting an ordinance meant for the living child of God, and giving it to the ungodly, the ignorant, and the superstitious, as though it could make them meet for entering heaven.”

Others think that they are all right because they frequent sermons. Another says, “I attend prayer meetings.” “But I regularly read the Bible,” says one. Some are foolish enough to put their confidence in the special last rights powers of ministers. Yet, sadly, there is no hope in them. I have been a member of a church for many years.” You may be a member of a church fifty years, but you will be damned at last unless you are a heart member of the body of Christ through repentance and acceptance of Jesus’ work atCalvary to pay for sin. A heart faith, a born again experience of one that deliberately and truthfully surrenders their heart to Jesus is what is required. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. He was a Pharisee and a devoutly religious man. Jesus told him “You must be born again!” Cornelius was a praying centurion that called upon God, and yet Peter came to him and told him he must surrender to Jesus to be saved.

2) Joab reminds us that there is an opportunity for us to come TO THE SPIRITUAL ALTAR, AND LAYING OUR HAND UPON the sacrifice of Jesus, HE WILL SAVE US.

Notice what Joab DID. First, Joab came to the tabernacle, the area where sin was dealt with. Then he decided to come to the altar where sin was paid for with blood. Though he entered on false pretense, YOU have the opportunity to come in truth and take hold on Christ Jesus. Place your hand of faith upon your Lord, and say, “This Jesus is mine. I accept it as the gift of God to me, though I am wholly unworthy.”

Remember, nobody ever perished trusting in Jesus. Spurgeon: “There has not been through all these centuries a single instance of a soul being cast away that came all guilty and hell-deserving, and took Christ to be its salvation. If you perish, you will then be the first that perished with his hand laid upon Christ. His love and power can never fail a sinner’s confidence. Wherefore, may God the Holy Spirit lead you to resolve, “If I must die, I will die here.”

You have heard the gospel long enough; now obey it. You have heard about Christ long enough; now trust in him. You have been invited and entreated, and pleaded with; now yield to his grace. Yield to joy and peace by trusting in him who will give you both of these as soon as you have rested in him. Look! sinner, look! A look out of thyself will save thee. Look away from all thy works, and prayers, and tears, and feelings, and church-goings, and chapel-goings, and sacraments, and ministers. Look alone to Jesus.”

Shimei: The poor companion that lost his workers (2:36-46)


  1. A poor companion can’t keep his word (2:36-38,40-46).
  2. A poor companion has people trying to get away from them (2:39).

Our ability to think and reason is similar to the way a computer functions. The computer hardware with all of its wires and circuitry is like our brain; it is the physical part. However, the computer is useless without the software. Programs must be installed to the memory of the computer in order for it to function. The software, like the mind is not physical; you can add or remove software from your computer and yet you won’t make the computer heavier or lighter.

Many in our society assume that if something is not working right inside, then it is a HARDWARE PROBLEM. Suicidal thoughts, depression, paranoia, anxiousness, fear, every mental or emotional problem – some think it MUST be caused by some chemical imbalance or some other physical problem with your brain. Take the right pill, eat the right foods, rest and exercise, reduce stress and we can cure your brain and the problem will go away. IF the problem is HARDWARE, then these things will often work. But there is more to you than just HARDWARE.

It equally may be a spiritual issue, or a SOFTWARE PROBLEM. All of us have issues that need to change in the programming within our thinking, to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You have developed certain patterns of thought that have given Satan a stronghold in your life; if Satan can control the way you think he can control your life. You don’t need a pill; you need to stop waging war as the world and use weapons with divine power to demolish strongholds by taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.

Men: we were made to be Leader, Guardian, Mentor, and Companion. This is how God defines real manhood. Solomon had to learn it. Yet, when a man understands and acts in his god-given role, he secures those placed in his care.

Men just aren’t like women: One night a wife found her husband standing over their newborn baby’s crib. Silently she watched him. As he stood looking down at the sleeping infant, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism. He would stand back, shake his head and say, “Amazing,” while smiling from ear to ear. Touched by his unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, her eyes glistened as she slipped her arms around him. “A penny for your thoughts,” she whispered in his ear. “Isn’t it amazing!” he replied. “When you take the time and really look close, how can anyone make a crib like that for only $45.99!”