Joseph: A Man’s Man
by Joseph Franks
Sitcoms offend me. They present men as overgrown buffoons who never leave their adolescent foolishness. Gone are real men like Charles Ingalls in “Little House on the Prairie” and Ben Cartwright in “Bonanza.” In their place are found lazy, selfish, effeminate, gluttonous, unfaithful, stupid, sex and video-game obsessed punks who cannot be trusted when their boss is out of town or their wife is out for dinner. However, these modern sitcoms have huge audiences, and they generate quite a bit of money. Is that because most in the “Modern Family” resonate with such Homer Simpson like fellows?
Just this week I heard the following statistics regarding men and secondary education. According to a Pew Research Center study, more women than men pursue undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate studies. In addition, not only do more women begin such studies, but a higher percentage of women finish that which they begin; a higher percentage of men quit and do not graduate. In the 2011-2012 academic year, 60% of all master’s degree graduates and 51% of all doctoral graduates were women and the trend has not changed. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. This is not bad news for women; it is wonderful that more and more ladies are growing in intellect and skill. The Proverbs 31 chic would be proud. However, this is a horrible trend for men who are lacking drive and ambition. So, perhaps the sitcoms have it correct; the average man is decreasing in character, skill, and intellect, and he is making great strides in apathetic mediocrity.
However, there remain some men who are fighting this trend and are passionate to escape the status quo. We long to be both tough and tender. We are determined to lead, not by degrading women, but by elevating them as we serve them like Jesus on our knees. We will labor hard at the office or in the field, but then we will come home and labor before our wives and children. Brute strength is a desirable attribute, but so too is brilliant thinking. We are interested in athletics and art, and we appreciate both mixed martial arts and the making of music. We are striving to be industrious, self-controlled, faithful, and well-rounded. However, most of all, we are hungry to be “godly men.” If God will aid and guide us, we are determined to lead our wives, children, and neighbors in the proper worship of the one, true God.
And where do we find our model? Clearly, not on TV or in the men’s journals, but first and foremost in the man — Christ Jesus. He is the boy who grows up. He is not stuck as a persistent adolescent, but Scripture presents him as one increasing in wisdom, stature, favor with man, and favor with God. He proves to be a most faithful worshiper of the Father, therefore he is a most compassionate servant towards his neighbors. He is a self-sacrificing servant who elevates and protects women, all the while making no excuses for getting out in front and taking the mantle of leadership. He is tough, and he is tender. He is comfortable with fishermen and theologians. His character is beyond question. His knowledge is impressive. His skill in living life is exemplary. Yes, Jesus is the man in whom the Spirit of God dwells without measure or limitation. Therefore, Jesus is the supreme model for how the masculine sex ought to walk on this earth.
However, while we look first and foremost to God in the flesh, we can also look at other godly fellows improved by the Spirit of God. Sure, there are none without defect; the sharpest of men prove to be carnal and idiotic at times. Yet, in the sacred text there are men worthy of watching and following. One such individual is Joseph.
For example, hear the inspired words of Moses regarding Joseph in Potiphar’s house:
Genesis 39:2–6 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
Then hear the words of Moses describing Joseph in prison:
Genesis 39:21–23 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
Finally, hear Moses description of Joseph when found in Pharaoh’s court:
Genesis 41:38-39 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are.
From my point of view, Joseph is a man’s man! When adversity comes his way, he keeps trusting God and does the next right thing. When temptation knocks on his door, Joseph keeps his eyes on God and his hands off another man’s treasure. Joseph is a master of his lusts and not one mastered by his loins. And everywhere he goes, his character, skill, and intellect are witnessed and appreciated. He is not a whiner. He is not hen-pecked. He is not a depressed slouch. He is not one satisfied with mediocrity. No, Joseph is one who walks with the Lord, and as such he is a very successful man. And in the end, Joseph is one who pleases God and greatly profits his loved ones. Joseph proves to be the self-sacrificing worshiper who suffers for, saves, and leads those entrusted to his care. In the end, he is a hero of heroes. He is a man of God. Joseph is a man’s man.