The Man of God

What an attractive title is that of “The Man of God”. It is surely one which we should all desire to acquire, yet it is one which has to be earned and for which one would need to qualify. The title is one that is not used indiscriminately by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures but is a matter of careful choice. Indeed in the New Testament only one man is so designated specifically, although without doubt there were others who would qualify including Paul himself who used the title of another. In the history of the church, both in our own day and especially in earlier days, we can all bring to mind those worthy of such an illustrious description. Perhaps “a” man of God might be less exceptional, but “the” man of God would be one specially fitted to meet any situation which might arise, and qualified to serve in the particular circumstances of the day in which he lived.

It is clear that such a man would take character from the One Man (the Son of God) in whom every feature was found in absolute perfection. Such a man would be found as representative of God, nor would a godly woman be debarred from such representation as is instanced on occasion in the Old and New Testaments. He would be firmly established in the inspiration of the Scriptures, finding them profitable for teaching, “that the man of God may be perfect” (Greek: complete as to qualification), 2 Tim. 3. 16, 17. Earlier, speaking of the love of money as a root of every evil, Paul had warned Timothy, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things”, 1 Tim. 6. 10, 11. As a young man, Timothy is an encouragement to all who would seek to be worthy of the name, depending not so much on gift as character and dependability with wholehearted commital to God.

Outstanding in the Old Testament is the figure of Moses, on a number of occasions designated “the man of God”. He is so characteristically — a great leader, speaking with much authority, figurative indeed of the lordship of Christ. Withal, this is accompanied by his description as the meekest man in all the earth. “This is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death”, Deut. 33. 1. Not only is he a prophet (apostle-like coming out from God), he is also a priest (“Moses and Aaron among his priests”, Psa. 99. 6), acting in the sprinkling of the blood on the altar, Exod. 24. 6-8. This is further emphasized in the heading of Psalm 90, “A prayer of Moses the man of God”. It is to be noted, incidentally, that the headings to the Psalms are inspired equally with the contents, a point to be remembered in the public reading from this important section of the Scriptures.

Elijah the Tishbite is introduced in the Scriptures abruptly, without antecedents or previous history. He appears along with Moses, equally honoured, on the mount of transfiguration with Christ, talking with Him. A man of strong character, like Moses, he is also marked by deep feeling, so when the widow’s son dies, it is recorded that he took him out of her bosom and cried to the Lord. The voice of Elijah is heard by the Lord, and he restores the child to his mother alive. “And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth”, 1 Kings 17. 24. In this same chapter Elijah had told king Ahab that there would not be dew nor rain except by his word, in the assurance that God would honour the word of His servant.

Following upon the request of Elisha for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah, it is not surprising that we find him a man of great spiritual stature. It is equally to be expected that he should exhibit something of the features of the Lord Jesus as foreshadowing the Christian experience of “the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”, Phil. 1. 19. His very deportment bore testimony to these features so that the Shunammite, a great woman, says of him “Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually”, 2 Kings 4. 9, a testimony of which we should all covet to be worthy. Fittingly she suggests for him a little chamber, a bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick, nothing ostentatious but the essence of simplicity suited to the man of God who takes character from Him who made Himself of no reputation but humbled Himself.

Finally, not exhausting the list, let us consider David, the sweet singer of Israel, a man after God’s own heart. His many psalms mark him off as of spiritual refinement and sensitivity, concerned that God should be served in suitability in His sanctuary. “And he (Solomon) appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: for so had David the man of God commanded”, 2 Chron. 8. 14. In his service the man of God will give priority always to his response to God in worship, praise and thanksgiving.

It is to be noted that this title is not used in the plural and, almost without exception, the definite article is used, denoting the distinctiveness of one so named.


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