The Proverbs 32 ManFound in: Destiny in Bloom
Often I have wondered how the Bible would read if there was Proverbs 32, a chapter written to display all of the glorious traits of the “ideal man”. Surely I’m not alone in this query, right? God’s final magnificent display of creation, a woman, was intricately fashioned with divine purpose, skill, and strength! She, too, was designed to reflect the image of God! An entire chapter of the Bible is devoted to sing the praises of the “ideal woman”, and yet—I’ve searched cover to cover, finding no such chapter for a man.
Well … my curiosity got the best of me.
What does an “ideal man” look like?
Where may one look in the Bible to find one?
Where are the standards for single gals to measure the long line of bachelors waiting outside her door?
In this quest for the mythical biblical “ideal man”, I couldn’t help but dream up a modern interpretation:
Before dawn, he rises to take out the trash without being told.
He’s skilled in the craft of home repairs, diligently finishing every project he starts.
He’s undoubtedly romantic, showering me with stargazer lilies, decadent chocolates, and handwritten love poems … just because.
He always puts the toilet seat down.
Pick up lines are deceptive and a handsome face is fleeting, but a man who doesn’t say, “I told you so” is to be praised.
Okay, so maybe that’s just my twisted version. Will the real “knight in shining armor” please stand up?
So there began my hunt throughout scripture for one “ideal man”:
Abraham had a steadfast faith. While God promised him to be “father of many nations,” the reality was that he and his wife were well past the childbearing age. He trusted in the unfailing nature of his God … then came baby Isaac.
Then, there’s Joseph. From the lowliest place in prison to the highest courts, he walked with some serious integrity. His brothers sold him into slavery; his boss’ wife falsely accuses him of sexual assault and he gets thrown in prison. He interprets a dream, freeing a man, and then he is forgotten in his prison cell! Two years later, Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, saves Egypt from the devastation of a forthcoming famine, and becomes the ruler of Egypt.
One of my favorite heroes in the Bible is Job. What a God-fearing man! God allowed Satan to test him, and every single thing he had was stripped from him, everything of value—gone! Job was so patient. He continued to place his hope in God and worship Him even when he did not understand his [unmerited] circumstances. God rewarded him for such character and Job became twice as prosperous.
Abraham was faithful. Joseph walked with integrity. Job had patience. And they all made mistakes.
So, the search continues …
Flip a few books forward and join me in boisterous shouts of joy at the discovery of one man who exemplified not only faithfulness of Abraham, the integrity of Joseph, and patience of Job, but so much more: Jesus Christ. (You’re probably thinking, “duh!” but roll with me here.) Forget one chapter; book after book shows how the manner in He lived and died, it is the ultimate example! When a man reflects these qualities of Christ, he is no doubt an “ideal man”.
Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites fused into a proverbial form:
Early in the day and even into the night, He abides with the Father, seeking wisdom from above. (Luke 6:12, John 17)
His heart is steadfast, and He trusts in God. (Mark 14:35, 36)
He is moved with compassion to heal the sick, to rescue the perishing. (Mark 1:40-45, Luke 7:1-10)
He is not bound by cultural norms; He detests religiosity. (John 5:1-15)
Confident in His identity, He knows He belongs to the Father. (Luke 4:1-13)
He urges us to give to the poor. (Mark 10:21)
He, being a righteous man, does not pervert justice, but stands for truth. (Matthew 19:1-15, Matthew 21:12-17)
With a humble heart, He serves even those who reject Him. (Matthew 20:20-28, John 13:1-17)
He is wise and discerning (John 2:23-25); strong, fearless and bold.
He is merciful, abounding in grace (Matthew 5:39-42), and generosity. (John 6:1-14)
Above all else, His love for us is paramount. Everything else is simply a by-product of that love.
He chose to love us in spite of our weakness and imperfections. It’s a choice to love sometimes, right? Bad habits, attitudes and choices can make it awfully hard to love someone.
Still, He chose me. He chose you. Jealous for our affections, He has committed to love us relentlessly, even when we have turned our hearts from Him. Sometimes I think loving someone in spite of their humanity feels like loving an obnoxious (but cute) puppy that tears up your furniture and pees on your floor. Real love gives you grace to oversee flaws as the puppy grows into a beautiful and loyal companion.
One of my most life-altering discoveries about Jesus and His love for me is that HE thought me worthy of a fight! Thank you, Captivating, for shedding light on the revelation that every woman, deep down in her heart, longs for someone to fight—no—to win her heart. You know what I’m talking about!
Am I worth fighting for?
Am I worth it for you to risk your life for me?
Will you jump through hoops of fire? Will you climb a tall tower … for me?
It is so freeing to understand how He intentionally placed that desire into the heart of every woman! It is no surprise to me that we hold that same desire toward man. As a woman’s greatest need is security, it makes sense to me that we go looking for this desire to be fulfilled in a relationship when, truly, the deepest level of security in our soul comes from Christ’s love for us. His passionate pursuit after our hearts, even unto death, is the most unsurpassed display of love.
I’ll still put it on my “ideal man” list, though, won’t you? Who doesn’t want a man to go through rings of fire and climb mountaintops in an extravagant display of love for us? He may not take the trash out before dawn (at least not without being told), but if he models the life of Christ and pursues my heart relentlessly with his love—if he fights to win my heart—he is a “Proverbs 32” sort of man.
Originally published in www.destinyinbloom.com.)