Manly Man vs Godly Man (Pride vs Humility)

Two stories from the Bible that used to not sit well with me was that of King Saul and King David, more specifically, the story of their sins and how God responded. Saul was a manly man. The Bible recalls, Saul was a “handsome young man as could be found anywhere in Israel and he was a head taller than anyone else” (1 Samuel 9:2). In short, we can say, Saul’s physique just screamed kingship! In addition, Saul was handpicked by God to be king, at the request from the people. Early during his rule, King Saul led a poor nation of Israel to many military victories. In 1 Samuel 14:47-48, we learn that “everywhere [King Saul] turned, he was victorious.” He was indeed a gifted military leader. We know Saul had his shortcomings. He was often disobedient to God’s will, a characteristic we can all own if we are being honest.

King David, on the other hand, was a man of equal military prominence. There is not enough text to suggest that David was of any lesser stature physically. In fact, the reference that King Saul offered David his armor when David was preparing to face Goliath may suggest that the two men were of similar physique. However, in comparison, David’s sin seemed much greater than Saul’s. This man, David, committed adultery, then tried to cover it up by killing a man, who was so faithful to his King and nation. I cannot just talk about Uriah the Hittite as a footnote. I pray that I have the self-discipline and courage that Uriah possessed.

In any case, if you compare the sins of these two men, and the severity of their consequences, they just don’t add up. I thought David got off easy. Reading the text, I just felt as if God just favors some and others not as much. But after spending time with this text, I have come to learn that this is a clear case of Pride vs Humility. King Saul would deny his sins, or deflect them unto others (1 Samuel 15:10-31). King David in contrast, when he was confronted of his sin, he immediately confessed, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). In his humility, David wrote Psalm 51 asking for God’s forgiveness. See, David “comprehend[ed] the length and width and height and depth of [God’s] love” (Ephesians 3:18), and there was nothing he had to do but to receive it. Saul, on the other hand, felt as if God’s love was something he will have to earn. There are countless Bible verses in which God talks about pride and His displeasure to the prideful heart. In James 4:6, we are reminded that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

Husbands, are we striving to be Manly Men (Prideful) or Godly Men (Humble)?


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