The Man of Valour 
By Ps Jeff O’Neil 

"Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind" (Isaiah 46:8).

It is interesting to note that the word used to describe the Christian woman in Proverbs as the Virtuous Woman, is also used for the man of God. In Job 8:3 it is translated valour; in Psalm 18:32 as with strength; and in Kings 1:52 as worthy. So the virtuous man has valour, strength and is worthy.

And these are certainly elements that are resident in the demands of our text. This observation is further strengthened by the repetition of our text on two other occasions. Recall that Joab (2 Sam 10:12) exhorts his army, "be of good courage and let us play the men for our people and for the cities of God." Then the apostle Paul, seeking to lift the Corinthians from their childish behaviour writes (1 Cor.16:13), "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." So from these three accounts we can derive that a virtuous man, is a man of courage, who is strong in character, steadfast in his faith. But above all, who continually remembers and reminds himself that God is for him, and who can be against him?

And as these similar rousing exhortations were given at different periods of the existence of God’s people, they remain apposite, relevant, and contemporary to

the condition of the church today. We may even say, more so, considering the rapid demise and downgrade of Christianity, particularly in the West.

Shew Yourselves Men 

"Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind" (Isaiah 46:8). It is to be noticed that Isaiah twice exhorts us to remember in the text. We need to be reminded time and time again because of our failures in faith, trust and spiritual courage. The prophet, who is the voice of God, makes a contrast between gods that have to be carried, and the God who carries His people. Bel and Nebo, those pretentious deities, were inanimate, dead weights, lifeless with no breath in their nostrils, caricatures carved from a stump of a tree, or grafted and crafted from gold and silver. And the Lord is saying, Look, in your exile in Babylon, don’t be impressed, overawed and overpowered by these dumb idols, consider Me. Can you carve an image of Me? (v.5) "To whom will ye liken Me?" I am spirit, invisible, infinite and eternal. Thomas Watson wrote: "God is an immaterial substance, of pure subtile, unmixed essence." - Imperceptible! Impenetrable! He then is to be worshipped in spirit and truth, for He seeks such to worship Him. Again, Thomas Watson remarks: "Spiritual worship is virgin worship: God prizes spirit worship because it comes near to His own nature, which is spirit."

Furthermore, God declares in v. 10, I am eternal and omniscient. Alpha and Omega, all-knowing, I foreknow, not because I can read the future, but because I have predestinated it. And so I will call Cyrus (v.11) to execute my counsel. Realise (v.10 & 11), I have purposed and will do all my pleasure. You cannot carve that into wood, or beat that into gold.

I am also the God of salvation (v.13) "My salvation shall not tarry." Compare these idols and images that your captors worship. They will not be able to save and deliver them when they are carried away captive. Now remember this and shew yourselves men! I will bear you and carry you through thick and thin; danger and victory; Summer and Winter; good times and bad times. My everlasting arms are underneath you, carrying you through life and to glory. Don’t be cowed down and immobilised by these gods of wood and gold. They are but products of the vain imaginations of men.

As men in the church of God, we are to be steadfast in our faith and testimony in the face of a world-wide increasing interest and assertion of other religions. One can be easily disheartened and discouraged in seeing the burgeoning popularity and acceptability of false gods - but fear not, Dagon fell through the law of gravity because the God who made the law, pushed him. Bel, a corruption of Baal, was taken into the names of kings, e.g. Belshazzar and Beltshazzar. The god of licentiousness and fleshly indulgence in evil. Nebo, (reputedly the son of Baal), again prefixes kingly names, e.g. Nebuchadnezzar. He was the god of writing and of the intellectual. See how one god serves the baser appetite and the other the higher instincts. And things have not changed, for man has not changed. He still makes gods to suit his passions. To quote Gresham Machen, "Men are feverishly saying to a god manufactured to serve the social needs of man, ‘Deliver me, for thou art my god.’ They are trying to produce decency without principle." Rather than being impressed through their numbers by their competence, realize their impotence, and glory in Jehovah’s omnipotence. False religions sit in the earth plotting, but Jehovah sits in Heaven, laughing (Ps. 2). Our great God and Saviour cannot be personified by images of gold or icons of alabaster. He is transcendent, all glorious, immense, resplendent in majestic holiness, supreme in purpose and sovereignty, and none can be his counsel. Therefore, remember this, and don’t be intimidated by these puppets which are moved by the purposes of men, but shew yourselves men.

Play The Men 

"Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good" (2 Sam 10:12). Joab was faced with the combined might of the Syrians and Ammonites. He demanded courage from his army, and for them to realize that they were fighting the battle for God’s people. The historical cry, "For God, King and Country", was the cry of Joab to his soldiers. Be men of valour and good courage! Was it not Bishop Latimer, who, in the midst of their burning pyres, turned to Bishop Ridley and said the immortal words, "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man: we shall light such a candle this day by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out." And that is the spirit that must burn in the hearts of Christian men in this generation. Do not be terrified by your adversaries, but be bold, steadfast and true. As spiritual soldiers in the army of God, we are likewise to contend for our families, for the church, and for the cause of Christ in this world. As men, men of God, standing unmoved in the face of superior forces, contending for the faith once delivered to the saints. Four times in Ephesians 6:10-14, Paul exhorts the Ephesians to stand:-

"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might [your resources]. Put on the whole armour of God [your defense], that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil… Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, tostand. Stand therefore…" (italics mine).

Notice that "Stand therefore" is the same word as in the previous verse, but it has a different mood and tense. In the previous verse it is used in the sense of standing in victory and triumph when the war was won, standing as a consequence of being justified over the enemies. But "Stand therefore" is descriptive of the posture in the fight. It is a military expression which the captains and leaders used. As the enemy advanced, the command rang out, "Stand fast lads."

And so we are to stand, not using Saul’s armour, but God’s provision, for our weapons are not carnal, but mighty through God (Jude 20), being persuaded that "the battle is the Lord’s" (1 Sam 17:47) . We are, in the face of the rising militancy of other religions, to play the men. As we view the gathering forces of darkness, it is not so much a natural courage that we are called to display, but a spiritual manliness, realising, that "if God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31).

Quit You Like Men 

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Cor 16:13). Here, Paul is exhorting the Corinthians that they were surrounded by heathenism, idolatry and immorality, but also that there were grave irregularities in the church . There were disputes over doctrine, personalities, fractious contentions, all of which were not consistent with what he wrote in the 13th chapter on charity. He counsels: Do not be childish, put away childish things, think and act like men. He had previously taught in 14:20, "Brethren, be not children in understanding, but in understanding be men." That is, think spiritually, act with integrity and maturity, be honest, true and loving. Now, that word, "quit you like men," is only this once used in the New Testament. It means, to render one manly or brave. Not to be cowardly or timid.

Brethren, it is a battle that we are involved in, not a Sunday School picnic. We are contending against the world, the flesh and the devil, and we are to realize that it is not against flesh and blood we are fighting, but against principalities and powers and against the darkness of this world. The fight goes on incessantly, and we are to stand our ground in the workplace, in the family and even in the church, as Paul himself had to stand against the Corinthians who questioned his apostleship. We even have to fight with our own personalities, for with Paul we can say, "O wretched man that I am," (Rom.7). Constantly he had fightings within and without.

a. Quit you like men in the society in which you live, for there are many obvious seductions. The world has a pulling power and dresses its guiles in attractive garments. Tempting, beckoning, seeking to weaken your resolves. The great god, Materialism, reigns, and rules over a Corinthian culture. So that everything plays to the flesh, but we are to play the man. When faced with these temptations, which are multiple, we are not to wilt, compromise or even dally for a while, but have godly resolutions to be different, separate and to vigorously withstand.

b. Quit you like men in the church. Now you know the history of the Corinthian church! It’s various problems of party loyalties, disputes, the abuse of the Lord’s Supper, sexual deviance and their relaxing of the headship of the man. And in all these areas they were acting childishly. Now these things ought not to be in the church of Christ. Paul instructs Timothy (1 Tim 3:15), how "he ought to behave himself in the House of God." Now that has a slightly different context, but still remains relevant to our behaviour as members and heads of our families. Men in the church ought to give a lead to the sisters in all these matters. They are not to abnegate their God-given responsibilities or example. Now you may think it is manly to assert your opinions, your doctrines, your rights and not back down from your position. And if you have sound doctrines and your viewpoints are justified, then of course, you are "to hold fast the form of sound words" (2 Tim.1:13). You are to maintain the truth, if it is the truth as it is in Jesus – but it depends in what spirit you express and exercise this truth. But I will tell you the hardest thing, and the manly thing to do, is to hold your position in love, and to esteem each other better than oneself (Phil 2:3). To do that cuts right across nature! It is contrary to all that the old man wants and insists on. To act thus is to act as a man of God. It is manly to act with an open face, an open heart, an open hand, in sincerity and without dissimulation, provocation or condemnation. Able to take rebuke as well as give it.

c. Quit you like men as heads of your families. Accepting the responsibility for maturing those under your care, seeking the eternal good of your children and the wife with whom God has graced you. Be a living pattern to your offspring so that in later life each can testify, "I had a godly, manly father." Be a present support to your spouse, so that your strength becomes her assistance, and your manliness her encouragement. Act so with your neighbours and in your job, so that in all circumstances you are noted for uprightness, morality and being one of nature’s gentlemen. "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job: and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil" (Job 1:1; emphasis mine). It is not without pertinence that this description is repeated again in v.8. Can it be that it is so as a pattern for us, how a man should be?


In this effeminate age, which probably is the reason why women are taking over leadership roles in the church, it is vital that Christian men shew, play and quit themselves as men. And it is possible, my friends. Did not Paul say "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil 4:13)? Christ is our example and Christ is our strength. His grace is sufficient, and whether it be enemies to the Gospel, false gods and idols or church involvements, shew yourselves Christ-like. Quit you as men of God. And we are persuaded that none of these things can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.