Tony Evans - Men Covered by God
A man's malehood is tied to his plumbing. That is, the biology with which he was born that establishes his male identity. Then that male becomes a boy. Boyhood is tied to dependency and immaturity, so we got a couple of -hoods. We got malehood. That's strictly biological identity. You've got boyhood, which is dependency and immaturity, but the goal of malehood is manhood, and in the Bible manhood is defined as responsibility under God. That is, from God's point of view, a male has not fully arrived to be a man until he's operating under the rule of God in relationship to God, so the question is which hood are you in? Just malehood, immaturity, irresponsibility, boyhood, regardless of your age. You're still holding on to your mama's apron string, but then there is biblical manhood.
God called for three conferences a year, three men's conferences. Three times a year, all the males in Israel are to come before the Lord their God. There were to be no exceptions. No females allowed. Only the males, all of them, were to appear before the Lord God. Three men's conferences every year. Why did he call only the men? We have established last time that the man was created first because God would hold him ultimately responsible for that which was put under his care and in his charge, so manhood is tied to responsibility under God. The absence of that diminishes authentic manhood. Now, why did God call this meeting? Why was this meeting, three men's conferences every year, called by God?
Lemme show you something in chapter 34. He says in verse 10, "Then God said, 'Behold, I am going to make a covenant.'" Verse 14, "For you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land". Verse 27, "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.'" Then at the end of verse 28, "And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant". This is a word that you've heard me bring up many times, and it is the key word to define our relationship with God, and in this case the man's responsibility under God, all the men.
The word covenant means a divinely created bond. It was an officially established relationship between God and his people, and the word that God would use about an official relationship is the word covenant. He would covenant with us. God called all the men of Israel because he was establishing an official protocol, an official relationship that was to be authorized to the men and then spread out from the men to that which was their responsibility. That's called a covenant. Covenants are always official. They're not casual. They're in the spiritual realm. They are the mechanism through which God favors flow. His favor flows through his covenant. A synonym for the word covenant is covering. A covenant covers. God called all the men to covenant with them because they were to cover not only their own lives and their own family, but in this context the whole nation, so the question on the floor was to bring all the men in alignment with the covenant so that they would be covered by God so that that which they are responsible for in the covenant would be covered too.
So, the positioning of a man underneath God's covenantal covering would determine the wellbeing of the whole nation. The issue of the covenant is alignment. Are you operating underneath its governance? So, God is the speaker in the conference, and he gives three different sermons using his three different names, 'cause he wants all the males to know all three names, so let's look at these three names so we can understand what the men's conference was about, 'cause that explains what it means to operate under the rule of God. One name, G-O-D, is Elohim. Elohim is God's creation name. "In the beginning, God," Elohim, "created the heavens and the earth," Genesis 1:1 says. El, the singular before you get Elohim the plural, El means strong one. Elohim is God's majestic name of creation. God spoke and his power was manifested.
Elohim is God's power name. He creates the animals, he creates the vegetation, he creates the sun and the moon and the stars, and the Bible declares that God's creation came ex nihilo. That means out of nothing. God is the only one who doesn't need raw material to make something. He says, "I want all the males to come and meet with Elohim. I wanna show you how strong I am. You think I'm the man, you think you're the man? Lemme show you what the man look like, because if you will come under my covenant covering, you will see my power". When a man is not operating under the rule of God, he's limited to his power. When he's operating under the rule of Elohim, now his power source has got a strip on it. He's got a power strip, because he's operating under the strong one. The second name: LORD is Yahweh, or when you put the vowels in it, it's Jehovah. Jehovah is God's sovereign relational name.
In Genesis chapter 1 you only see the name Elohim. "And God did this, and God did that, and God did this". But beginning in chapter 2, verse 4 of Genesis you see, "The Lord God, the Lord God, the Lord God". It's no longer Elohim only. It is now Yahweh or Jehovah Elohim, because that is God's relational name. See, a lot of men want G-O-D who don't want L-O-R-D. They want God without a relationship. What God wants you to know, you don't get G-O-D if you're not willing to accept L-O-R-D. That is, you must be pursuing a relationship with him, not just looking for power from him. Many men will go to God to show his power, when they don't want a relationship to the powerful God they're asking to see the power from. That's why in Genesis 2 it's, "The Lord God, the Lord God". When he makes Adam, "The Lord God placed him in the garden. The Lord God told him what to do. The Lord God".
That's why when the devil shows up, he drops Lord and keeps God, 'cause he doesn't mind religion as long as there is no relationship, so God wants every man to be pursuing a relationship with him and not only power from him. Lemme put it another way. God just doesn't want us as men coming to him to see what we can get from him. He wants us coming to him because we want him and because he want him he doesn't mind us getting things from him. So, if you are pursuing the stuff from God but not the God who has the stuff, then that becomes an illegitimate pursuit of God, because you want the person without the relationship. The third word is capital L, small O, small R, small D. That's Adonai. Adonai means your boss, your manager, your supervisor. Adonai means the one who tells you what to do. A man is not living up to his manhood if God can't tell him what to do. If you can overrule God, if God clearly says this and you say that, you're saying, "You're not my boss, man. I'm the man. I make the final decisions. You only come when I want you. You do not tell me what to do".
Now, everybody know men don't like folk telling 'em what to do, including God, because plenty of men, when you say, "God says this," will go, "But I think, but I feel, but I ain't into that". Okay, tell your boss that tomorrow at work. Adonai means "I'm your boss man. I am the one who sets the governing guidelines for your decisions". And he says, "I want all three relationships with you. I wanna be your power, I wanna be in relationship, and I wanna have the right to overrule you". If God can't overrule you, you're not a man as far as he's concerned. You're a punk, because you've not given him permission to be God over you or me. Whenever we buck him, whenever we buck him, we step outside of the covenant, and we're no longer covered. No matter how much church you go to, no matter how much religious, you know, talk you talk, if he doesn't operate those three roles, your power, your relationship, and your ruler, 1 Corinthians 11, verse 3 says God the Father is over Christ. And then it says and every man is under Christ, so if you name the name of Jesus Christ, if you declare that you are a Christian, that means that you are to be operating underneath the lordship of Jesus Christ, which means Jesus Christ has the final say-so over your life in every area.
There is to be no area where he can't overrule you, and so he called all the men to be under the covenant or under the covering. A man's self-definition is intrinsically tied to his spiritual subordination, so if there is no spiritual subordination to the rule of God over a man's life, his definition of his manhood is flawed. All the men are coming to the conference now, and they're sitting there, and God is on the stage. He's doing the preaching, okay? He doing all the sermons. Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai. What is he telling them? What is he telling them? Lemme show you something. Psalm chapter 25, verses 12 to 14. Oh, this is sweet. Watch this. "Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should go. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land". Watch this. "The secret of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he will make them know his covenant".
This is deep. He says, "If I can get the men to come underneath me, come underneath my authority as God, then what I'm going to do with those men is I'm gonna tell 'em some secrets. I'mma tell 'em some secrets". Only men under the covenant get secrets. Men who are not under the covenant don't get secrets. They don't get a private conversation about what God wants them to do next in their life with their problem, with their career, with their money, with their circumstance. They don't get secrets, so men not under the covenant live their lives in trial and error. "Lemme try this. Lemme try that. Lemme try this. Lemme try that". When Jesus Christ walked on the earth, he never had trial and error. He knew exactly where he was supposed to go, what he was supposed to do 'cause him and God had secrets.
In Exodus chapter 33, verse 7, "Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting". Verse 9, "Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of the cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses". Verse 11, "Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. Then Moses said to the Lord, 'See, you say to me, "Bring up this people"! But you yourself have not let me know whom you will send with me.'" "I need some more information, God". "Moreover, you have said, 'I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.' Now therefore, Lord, I pray you, if I have found favor in your sight, let me know your ways that I might know you, so that I might find favor in your sight. Consider, too, that the nation," or the people, "you've given me".
Verse 17, "The Lord said to Moses, 'I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in my sight and I have known you by name.' Then Moses said, 'I pray you, show me your glory!' And God said, 'I myself will make my goodness pass before you and proclaim the name of the Lord before you.'" You see what he did? He didn't wait for the conference. Says Moses built his own tent. He met with God regularly face to face, because he knew the closer he was to God, the more information he'd get from God, and the more information he got from God, the better he would be able to fulfill his responsibilities in life.
Too many men have failed to come under the covenant, bringing chaos to marriage, chaos to parenting, chaos to the culture, chaos to society. And I don't mean by that women don't have a responsibility. You ought to be hearing from God, but you can't do that coming to church. You gotta have your own tent. You gotta have your own meeting place. You gotta have your own regular interface with the living God, to pitch a tent. The passage goes on to say that a lotta folk, when Moses went to the tent, would stand at the tent. In other words, they didn't go to the tent. They just stood and watched what Moses was doing. Don't come here and watch my tent. Get your own tent so that you can hear God for yourself speaking to your mind, speaking to your thoughts, speaking to your circumstances. He says and God met with Moses face to face.
God has given you the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's job is to take the rulebook and give you your personal playbook. He won't contradict the rulebook, but he will personalize the playbook, 'cause guess what? Your play is not the same play as somebody else. You need your own experience with God and that comes through pursuing a relationship. That comes from knowing the rulebook but pursuing the relationship. Psalm 103, verse 7 says God showed Moses his ways, and he showed Israel his acts. That's a big difference. Israel got to see what God did. Moses got to see where God was going. See, if you're gonna be a leader, that means you gotta be going somewhere, and it's in everybody's best interest if you know where you're going, so he says God showed Moses where he was going, and he got to know Moses by name.
If we could get men, pulpit to pew and back again, to pursue a relationship with God, we would find things changing in our circumstances. We wouldn't need to run and get a divorce. We wouldn't need to abandon our kids. We wouldn't need to see the culture fall apart, but because men won't come to the conference that God is setting up and because men will not pitch a tent for their ongoing relationship with God between the three conferences a year, we never hear from God. We just hear sermons from man. God's covenant is the key to the game of life, and your proximity to that determines how the game of life works or does not work in the life of a man, in the life of any Christian, but particularly the life of a man, because he's calling all the men.
Now, if you become this kind of man, if I become this kind of man, if we become these kind of men, what can we expect? Verse 24 tells you of chapter 34. He says, "I will drive out the nations before you. I will enlarge your borders. No man shall covet your land when you go out three times a year to appear before the Lord your God". No, you didn't. Okay, the guys who have been around here for a while know I got this little thing I do. When I'm asked to do something and there is a lot of confusion and, "What should we do"? and all that, I hold up three fingers, three fingers. I hold up three fingers, three fingers. I got it. That's what that means. I got it.
So, when I need to take care of something at church, at home, sometime I don't say anything. I just hold up three fingers. That means you don't have to worry about it. I got it. You know what God is saying here? "If I can get you under the covenant, here are my three fingers. I got it. Father, Son, Holy Ghost. I got it. I got it. I will keep the nations from destroying you. I will enlarge your borders. In fact, I got it so much I will change the way people are even thinking, 'cause they will not even covet what I've given you. I will affect their whole mentality. I'll change the way — things will change". You wanna see God invade your life, invade your world, invade your circumstance and have him hold up three fingers? And you're all shook up and tore up from the floor up, and he said, "If I can get you under the covenant, I got it. I own it".
When men are operating under divine authority, in relationship, in their tent of meeting, and in their collective gathering of men, then they will be able to see what it looks like when God has it, when God is answering prayer, when God is intervening in circumstances, when God is changing people who didn't look like they can ever change. But it's all about the proximity. So it is time now that there would be no more excuses, to name another conference. That we do not give excuses as men why we don't have it, by getting into proximity with God. You say, "But I'm busy. I don't have time. I work. I do this. I do that. I do that". That's an excuse. How can you be too busy to meet with somebody who gonna take over your situation? But help me out, somebody. What have the Cowboys done for you lately? But I know somebody who says, "I will cover you, I will oversee you, I will manage you, I will direct you, if I can get your undivided attention in relationship, underneath my rule". So, God is calling all men to take your stand underneath his authority so that a man can see what a man ought to be, because he's the man that God built.
There is nothing like a man who's been covered by God. This is so important, that God would call all the men of Israel to be covered by him, and with his covering over them he would cover their families and their nation. Right now we're living in a world uncovered by God because we have too many men uncovered by God, so a divine covering is critical to experiencing manhood as God created it to be. Much of the chaos that we're seeing today is the lack of covering. While God calls men to cover others, he calls men to be covered by him, and a covering in the Bible, called a covenant, is designed to provide divine influence, divine protection, and divine guidance, and Lord knows our world needs all three of those. So, if you really wanna be a real man, get covered. Get covered by our God, because when our God covers you, he also covers everything you are covering.