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Be a Man! (Ps 27:13–14)

Psalm 27 in one of my favorite Psalms. David starts by asserting his faith. “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?” His belief is held in the face of wickedness seeking to destroy him (vv 2–3).

In the face of that wickedness, what does David seek? Removal of pain? Prosperity? No. He seeks a relationship with God in the midst of suffering. “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (v 4).

David then cries out to God and concludes with this wonderful affirmation of faith. πιστεύω τοῦ ἰδεῖν τὰ ἀγαθὰ κυρίου ἐν γῇ ζώντων. ὑπόμεινον τὸν κύριον·  ἀνδρίζου, καὶ κραταιούσθω ἡ καρδία σου,  καὶ ὑπόμεινον τὸν κύριον (vv 13–14). “ἀνδρίζου” is the difficult word to translate, since etymologically it means, “Be a man!”

David says that “I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” He believes that God will not reject him but will ultimately deliver him. So what is David to do in the meantime?

1. “Wait (ὑπόμεινον, aorist imperative of ὑπομένω) on the Lord. I know of no more difficult command in Scripture. We sometimes mistakenly think of waiting as a passive resignation, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is active, anticipating, believing, and demands courage, which is the point of the next phrase.

2. “Be a man!” (ἀνδρίζου, present middle imperative of ἀνδρίζομαι). This is how we are to wait on the Lord. “Be a man.” What does that idiom mean today? In our anti-male culture, it only has negative connotations connected more with the idea of stupidity than anything else. In our house, when the kids were younger, we used to have “stupid male alerts.” When yet another advertisement would come on television showing men as dumb and unfeeling, my kids would yell out “dumb male ad.” We yelled a lot growing up.

Obviously, you can’t translate “be a man” since our daughters also are to wait expectantly for the Lord’s deliverance. This is why you have translations such as “be strong.”

We are also to “let your heart take courage,” reflecting both the LXX (κραταιούσθω ἡ καρδία σου) and the Hebrew. If you have read my blogs very long, you know how much I dislike it when translations flatten poetic language, such as “be courageous” (HCSB, NLT) or “be confident” (NET).

Our church culture today knows virtually nothing about waiting for the deliverance of the Lord in the midst of conflict. We so often hear therapeutic sermons that offer no real hope for the distraught, that do not understand the safest place to be is in a relationship with God in the midst of struggles, and God is pictured more as a Coke machine whom we can control; put in a dollar, get a can.

But the Lord is not a tame lion; he is wild, and I for one am thankful because that means he is mighty to save, but to save in his time and in his way. David understood that he is not to run from the wicked but to wait for the Lord, to be strong, to tell his heart to be courageous.

Waiting on the Lord is active and demanding, and it is what we are supposed to do. ἀνδρίζου.

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