A Picture of Biblical Manhood
A brief meditation on Isaiah 32:1-2

This world is truly ambivalent about masculinity and manhood. Chivalry has grown passé. Women have come to feel patronized and insulted when men stand up as their providers and protectors. Yet as a society we are still stirred by examples of men who sacrifice of themselves or risk their lives for others.

People are also conflicted about leadership. Authority tends to provoke resentment and resistance in countless ways. But great examples of inspiring leaders still form the heart of countless epics of history, legends, fairy tales, feel-good sports movies, and stirring high school dramas.

Righteous, manly leadership is nothing to be feared or shunned. It is a genuine blessing to others. This fact is beautifully illustrated in Isaiah chapter 32.

“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment” (Isaiah 32:1). Some commentaries say this is a tribute to Hezekiah, one of the few righteous kings of Judah. It can certainly be viewed as a prophecy of the soon-coming time when Jesus Christ will govern all nations.

This setting of righteous rulership provides a fitting backdrop to the powerful description in verse 2 of biblical manhood:

“And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

Behold the effects of manliness and righteous leadership!

When leadership is lacking, family, community and society fracture. The times when “there was no king in Israel” were a disaster (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).

But when kings and princes rule as they should, when men fulfill their God-given responsibilities, society enjoys stability and safety.

The language of Isaiah 32:2 describes a man serving as protector. The poor, needy and distressed can rely on him as a hiding place from the wind, a place of protection from the storm. A godly man defends them from those who would exploit or oppress them. He is their champion and shield.

Pray that God would make you such a man—who can be described as a “hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest” for those who need such shelter!

Isaiah 32:2 also describes a man as provider. He cools, nourishes and refreshes those he serves like an essential source of fresh water. As King David said in his last words, righteous government is a blessing to the governed like “the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain” (2 Samuel 23:3-4). The godly man revives and rejuvenates others as they can take shelter in his shadow, seeking refuge from the scorching sun in a weary land.

Beseech God to help you supply those you lead in this way—to become one who can be characterized “as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land” for those who need such provision and refreshment!

Of course, Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of Israel (Psalm 80:1), epitomizes all these qualities. He protects from dangers and evils, and amply supplies all our needs (Psalm 23). He personally bore the buffeting of the wind and storm in order to shield us from it (Isaiah 53:4-6). He offers living water (John 4:14). He is the Rock under whom we can take refuge (1 Corinthians 10:4). He pays particular heed to the poorest and neediest (e.g. Matthew 9:36).

Soon, this mighty Ruler, the King of kings, will return—and “a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment”! (Isaiah 32:1). He will correct the injustices rife in today’s world, and all nations will enjoy the blessings of His perfect leadership!

We need not wait, however, to possess those beautiful effects of righteous leadership.

In fact, every man should follow Christ’s example today. Fulfill your manly duties as protector and provider. Look after those in need. Aim to allow Christ to continue His good work using you—your energies, your body—to be a blessing to those you lead!

A spiritless, underachieving group is the picture of frustration and futility. Then a new leader enters—a great general, warrior, sage, teacher, coach or principle. As he raises the level of expectations, there is pushback; some people resist changing their routine. But others follow him, and positive results begin to flow. The spark spreads through the group, one small success at a time. In the end, the group realizes its potential and celebrates an unexpected triumph.

And it all came about as a result of good leadership.