October 2018   
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Walk Like A Man - Psalm 128:1-6
Singing the Songs of Zion
Walk Like a Man
Psalms 128:1-6
Even though It's hard to come off macho when you sing falsetto like Four Seasons lead vocalist Frankie Valli, when they recorded “Walk Like a Man” in 1963, it went on to hit #1 on March 2, 1963 and stayed there for three weeks. 
The song was written by the group’s producer, Bob Crew and keyboard player/tenor vocalist Bob Gaudio. When Gaudio was interviewed about the song, he said: "When the smoke cleared, it was just a good record. And the good records, they're hard to bury."
His choice of words, “when the smoke cleared”, was especially appropriate because they recorded the song in a burning building! According to guitarist Vinne Bell, their producer, Bob Crewe, locked the door to the studio (a standard practice on recording day), then after a while - and a couple of bad takes - the musicians smelled smoke and there was a pounding on the studio door.
Crewe refused to unlock it, even though plaster was falling from the ceiling, because he wanted one more take to perfect the song. The musicians were afraid of electrocution as water leaked into the studio. The session ended when firemen axed open the studio door and knocked Crewe to the floor in the process.
The lyrics describe a guy who is encouraged by his dad to man up and face his lying girlfriend.  After all, the world isn’t coming to an end.  You just need to  
Walk like a man, talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman's worth crawlin' on the earth
So walk like a man, my son
There is a great need in today’s culture for men to walk and talk like men.  Somewhere during the time of my life, men were feminized.  So much so that we now live in a world where men want to be women and even use their bathrooms. 
More and more, we are hearing the stories of families like the one in Colorado that has charged the elementary school their child attends with discrimination. Their child, who is 6 years old, was born a boy, but decided he wanted to be a girl. The parents decided to go along with the child’s wishes, allowing him to dress like a girl and refer to him as a girl and asked school officials to do the same, which they did. 
But when the school would not allow him to use the girl’s bathroom, they sued. In a letter, the school's lawyers wrote that "a boy with male genitals" using the girl's room could lead to problems and confusion as the children grew older.”
The school tried to accommodate the child by allowing him to use the staff bathroom or the nurse’s bathroom, but that was not acceptable.  And even though the child attends class as all other students, is permitted to wear girls' clothes and is referred to as the parents have requested, his mother said, “We just want Coy to have the same educational opportunities as every other Colorado student. Her school should not be singling her out for mistreatment just because she is transgender.
She is still just 6 years old, and we do not want one of our daughter's earliest experiences to be our community telling her she's not good enough".
Instead, it is the school and the child’s classmates who need correction and instruction. Michael Silverman, who is executive director of the Transgender Legal and Defense Education fund said, "Coy's school has the opportunity to turn this around and teach Coy's classmates a valuable lesson about friendship, respect and basic fairness.”
One must wonder who will take responsibility for helping young Coy to learn some valuable lessons about life and right and wrong.  And more importantly, God’s design for male and female and the perfection of His creation and design. 
But I will tell you, as tragic as it is to see the struggle that some have with gender identity issues, it is even more heartbreaking to see the males in our churches who never learn to be men. If there is a real identity crisis that needs to be dealt with, that is it. 
There is a great need to develop Godly men. Somebody was visiting a little village and he asked one of the villagers, “Any great men born here?” And the man said, “No just babies.”
You can be born a male, but you have to grow up and mature to be a man and walk and talk and live as a man of God. And just as little Coy needs someone to lovingly and firmly come alongside him and help him to understand his maleness, there are some men who need to be helped to understand what it means to walk and live like a man of God.   
And fortunately, God has not left us without instruction on this subject. In many places in Scripture, we find specific instruction regarding God’s demands and expectations of men.  One such passage is Psalm 128.  Perhaps more than any other, it is a man’s psalm.
Just as Proverbs 31 tells us about the virtuous, Godly woman, this passage tells us how to walk like a man. 
Listen to it:
Psalm 128:1-6
Now in this psalm, we find a description of real manliness. If you want to know God's plan for the man, then you can read this psalm. There are some basic, fundamental differences between men and women and the devil is doing all that he can do to blur that distinction.
For instance, the Bible says in Genesis 1:27 that God made both male and female. And immediately, without going any farther into God’s Word, we discover that we are different.  If we weren’t different, or if we were interchangeable, then God would have just made humans.  But we have this distinction given of male and female. 
Now typically, those who try to tell us there is no fundamental difference between the two do it in the name of equality. And no doubt about it, men and women are created equal.  In fact, we see that in
verse 26
Men and women equally share the image of God and the God-given responsibilities they are assigned. However, while men and woman are equal, they are not the same. Equality is not the same as function. They're bodies are different. They're minds are different. Men are different from the very composition of their blood to the way their brains develop, which means they think and experience life differently from women.
Some of you may have been around long enough to remember Dr. Paul Popenoe. He is known as the father of marriage counseling in America. He was a frequent guest on the Art Linkletter show and wrote a column for Ladies Home Journal called, “Can this marriage be saved?”. 
Listen to what he said regarding the difference between men and women: “Men and women differ in every cell of their bodies. This difference in the chromosome combination is the basic cause of the development into maleness and femaleness as the case may be. Women have greater constitutional vitality, perhaps because of this chromosome difference. Normally, they outlive men by 3 or 4 years in the United States.”
He continues:  “Women's blood contains more water and 20% fewer red cells. Since these supply oxygen to the body cells, she tires more easily and is more prone to faint. Her constitutional vitality is therefore strictly a long range matter. When the working days in British factories under war time conditions were increased from 10 to 12 hours, accidents of women increased 150%, in men not at all.”
So why did that happen?  It is because there is a basic, vital, fundamental, psychological, physiological, chemical, chromosomal difference between men and women that was designed by God Himself.
Contrast that with this comment from Gloria Steinem, one of the leading feminists in the history of mankind said. Speaking of women, she said, “We are human beings first with minor differences from men that apply largely to the act of reproduction.  The only functional difference between men and women is the woman's ability to give birth. Therefore, a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
But God made man and God made woman and God made them different. And God made them different for a purpose. So what is God’s plan for man and how do we move from simply being male to being a man of God? Well this psalm tells us and the very first thing it says is, if you’re going to walk like a man, you must have  
  1. A Faithful Walk
Verse 1
When this psalm instructs us to walk in His ways, it’s talking about the pattern that a husband and father is to set before his family. He is to be a worshipping Father. He is to be a godly husband. He is to have a personal walk with Almighty God.
And his wife and his children need to see the husband and the father walking with God. Now let me tell you why.
First of all, as a husband, I am to love my wife as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it. So in the first relationship God established on earth, that of husband and wife, the man is a representative of Jesus Christ, loving his wife unconditionally, sacrificially and with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength.
Then beyond that, is the relationship of a father to his children.  One of the most important pictures the Bible provides us is that God is our Father. In fact, Roman 8:15 reminds us that we have the privilege through the Holy Spirit of calling God our daddy. Jesus taught us to pray to our “Heavenly Father”.  
In the home, the man is a figure, a picture, a representative of Almighty God. He, more than anybody else, pictures God in the home.
Now if you're a child and you have an understanding of how we pray in church and how we reference God, the most natural connection that will ever be made by a child is to connect their father to God.  And sir, what you portray about God is going to be your child’s first impression of what He is like. 
And the reason we are instructed to fear the Lord and walk in His ways is because we are modeling before our family what Almighty God is like and what the Lord Jesus Christ is like.
Let me give you another verse to chew on.  
1 Corinthians 11:3
Now control your emotions and think about this:  this verse tells us that even though God the Father and God the Son are co-equal and co-eternal, God the Father is the head of God the Son. In like manner, while the husband and the wife are of equal worth, both created in the image of God, the husband is the head of the wife.
And then, notice, speaking of the man, what Paul says in 
verse 7
Did you get that? He, the man, is the image and glory of God. The woman is the glory of the man. That is, in the home the man pictures Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The woman pictures the church, the bride of Christ. Now sir, listen to me: Don't ever get the idea that religion and church and spirituality is primarily for the woman and the children.
Spiritually speaking, God demands more from the man than He does the woman. God puts a bigger responsibility on the man than on a woman. And if your home is not right, you share the primary responsibility. I’m not saying your wife and children share no blame or have no responsibility.  But you, sir, are the head of the home. And if you represent God in that home and you should, you are to walk in His ways.
And I’ll just mention this while we are passing by.  One of the chief characteristics of Almighty God is faithfulness. One of the primary problems in America today is the unfaithfulness of men. One third of America's children are not living with their natural fathers.
Over 15 million kids are growing up in homes without any fathers. Seventy percent of the men in prison grew up without a father.
We are in a disaster in the United States. Since 1920 the divorce rate has risen 1,420%. And couples today are divorcing at a rate of more than twice that of their parents. Somebody needs to stand up and say to the fathers and husbands of America, “Sir, you are to walk in the way of the Lord.”
A child psychologist named Dr. David Elkin, wrote, “We are seeing more children who show symptoms of stress, headaches, stomachaches, low mood, learning problems. As they get older, many of them feel they have missed an important part of their life. They feel used and abused. My concern is that if they don't feel cared about then, they can't even care about anyone else, let alone themselves. We may be creating a large number of children who are emotional misfits.”
I want to say again, one of the chief characteristics of God is faithfulness, and that includes promise making and promise keeping. Our God is a covenant God. All of this Bible hangs upon the faithfulness of God, the promises of God.
There is a great need today for fathers and husbands to learn faithfulness. Stand by your promises. Never, never let go no matter what. When marriage isn't fun, stay in it. When parenting is over your head, stay at it. When work is crushing your spirit, don't let it beat you. When the local church is overwhelmed with pettiness, stay by it. When your children let you down, pick them up. When your wife goes through a six month mood swing, live with it. When it's fourth and fourteen and no time on the clock, throw another pass. Stay with it.
Walk like a man!  A real man before Almighty God is a man with a faithful walk. Secondly, when a man walks like a man, he will be known by
  1. His Fruitful Work
verse 2
That means a man is to be
  • a provider
 for the home. Again, that goes all the way back to the book of Genesis.
Genesis 3:19
Men who walk like a man provide for their home and family. And it bears mentioning that provision goes beyond food and clothing and housing. If you think that you can give your kids things and put your wife in a beautiful house and you've done your job, you're wrong.
Paul told the Ephesian men to not only love their wives as Christ loved the church, but to “nourish and cherish” them.  That means we are to provide the emotional and spiritual security our home needs.
And you are not only to be a provider, you are to be
  • a protector. 
verse 3
A man is to have a sense of well- being when his wife and children are dwelling securely.
Again we see the individual design of God. Men tend to be tough and strong. Women tend to be gentle and tender. The man tends toward logic and linear thinking. The woman tends toward emotion and verbal communication. The man tends to be a risk taker, ready to go for it. The woman on the other hand prefers security and order.
The man in his relationships is more insensitive, the woman more sensitive. The man looks toward the long haul. The woman is concerned about here and now. The man tends to be more skeptical and suspicious. It's the protector in him. The woman tends to be more trusting, it's the nurturer in him.
Now which is right and which is wrong? They're both right because that's the way God made them. Gary Smalley said that it's the difference between a butterfly and a buffalo.
The woman is like a butterfly. She's beautiful, gentle, fragile. She's very sensitive to things, just like a butterfly is sensitive to the aroma of the flowers and the beauty of the flowers. And try to catch a butterfly in your hand, you can't do it. You have to use a butterfly net. But what if you took a little pebble and taped the pebble to a butterfly's wings she couldn't fly. She'd fall.
But take a buffalo and tape a pebble on his back, and he won't know it's there. Put those flowers on the ground, he'll walk all over them. He has to be lassoed and wrestled to the ground because he's strong. He can pull a plow and do the work that four or five men would do. Does that mean that he's a brute because he walks on those flowers? Do you blame him for that? No, that's just the way his nature is.
God made him that way and God made her that way.
And woman, if you're married to a buffalo thank God for it. That's the way God made him. And it doesn't mean that he's to be rude and crude and macho and insensitive, that's not what we're talking about. You can be a man and be tender.
Several years ago, Barbara Walters was interviewing General Norman Schwarzkopf. Schwarzkopf came into the national limelight because of first war in Iraq.  If ever there was a man’s man, it was Norman Schwarzkopf. 
In the interview, he was talking about the battles, and in particular, some of the cost of battle when he began to cry. And Barbara Walters with something of a bluntness in her voice, looked at him and said, “General, aren't you afraid to cry?” 
His response was, “Barbara I'm afraid of a man who can't cry.”
I look at the life our Lord, the man who ran the money changers out of the temple with a whip, Our Lord, who could spend all night on the mountainside, Our Lord who endured beatings and whippings like no other, Our Lord, who was not some effeminate sissy who stepped out of a beauty parlor, and I see a man who was meek and tender and gentle. A man of sorrows and a man of tears and a man of gentleness. A man that little children could come and sit in his lap.
God made the man to be the provider and protector, but that doesn’t mean it has to be done with cold steel and no tenderness. 
Notice, again what verses 3 says.
What is described there is a happy and healthy environment because of the protection and provision that is experienced and the pictures he uses to describe that are of a wife like a tender vine and the children like olive plants.
Now the thing both the tender vine and the olive plant need is care and cultivation. A vine can be very beautiful and productive, but it needs support. It needs something to lean upon. Sir, your wife needs you.  Support her and help her to be what God designed her to be. 
And notice, he says the children are like olive plants, not trees.  That means they haven’t reached maturity yet.  They must be tended and cared for also. 
Now in the Middle East, the setting for this psalm, to have olive trees indicated prosperity and productivity.  They were and are a primary source of income.  But they need cultivation and care.  That’s the picture. 
That’s why Paul said, in Ephesians 6:4, “And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Negatively, don't provoke them. That means don’t to exasperate them, to frustrate them, to badger them, to wound them, to humiliate them.
And positively, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The word for nurture here is the idea of tending a garden, just like you would cultivate your olive trees.
Weeding, watering, fertilizing. It takes discipline, instruction. It takes demonstration. It takes time.
You are to cultivate your wife and your children. In fact, as a married man, your chief assignment from God, more important than your job, more important than your responsibilities at the church, more important than anything else in life, is your responsibility to make your wife a more radiantly beautiful Christian.
And if you have children, you are to be deeply involved in tending them as they develop and mature in Christ. 
And notice the result of that.
verses 4-6
Here we see that walking like a man result in
  1.  His Future Wealth
Here is a man that seeks God's blessing and therefore he becomes God's blessing. And the blessing goes beyond his own family. The blessing goes to the nation. And while we’re passing by, let me just insert that America will never be right until our homes are right. And our homes will never be right till the daddies get right.
So how do you calculate wealth?  Is it the size of your home or bank account?  Is it the amount of your  retirement nest egg?
The psalmist calculated it by looking to the future and anticipating God’s blessing.
Now come all the way awake and listen real close:
You may be the most successful man the world has ever known.  You may hang awards on the wall and fill the trophy case with recognition. You may make enough money to live comfortably and pass along a sizeable inheritance to your kids, but if they miss heaven, you are the biggest failure the world has ever known. 
The greatest legacy a man can ever leave is that of loving God and passing his faith along to his family.  This message of this psalm is very clear.  It says, “Sir, if you will learn to fear the Lord and walk in His ways. If you will cultivate and care for your family, then life will not only be happy here and now, one of these days you’ll be able to sit back and rest in the knowledge that God’s continual blessing is abiding on your family, even after you are long gone. 
There is a desperate need in America and in the church for some men to walk like a man.  Now, every walk begins with a step, and the first step is salvation. . .
Let’s pray.
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