The Wise Woman of Abel Beth-Maacah

A sudden violent attack had stunned the peaceful city of Abel Beth Maacah. An attack not by an enemy of Israel but by David’s chief general, Joab, and the troops loyal to David, King of Israel. The city was under siege and while the men feverishly worked on the faltering defense of the city the unanswered question of “Why” was not addressed.

The city would be saved, but not with it’s thick walls and stout defenses. Abel Beth Maacah would be saved by an unnamed woman with a super-power.  Her super power? Wisdom.

 

Ancient City Walls

Ancient City Walls

A wise woman made her home in Abel and asked herself that question. Why? She could not find answers. Why would David’s troops attack a city long loyal to David? It made no sense. She must find answers. The rumors on the street did not satisfy her. She needed solid answers and there was only one place to get them.

She made her way to the dangerous edge of the city where the battering rams were pounding the city’s walls and the siege ramps had already gone up. She cried out loud to the opposing forces asking to speak to Joab the commander. When Joab appeared she spoke humbly and addressed him with deep respect. She spoke of the peaceful nature of the city and it’s history of faithfulness to Israel. She describes the city of Abel as a “mother in Israel” and asks Joab why he would destroy this peaceful place.

“That is not the case, says Joab, far be it from me to swallow up or destroy.” Joab goes on to explain to the woman that the city Abel is harboring a violent rebel, Sheba, who has lifted up his hand against King David. “Hand over this one man and I will withdraw” promises Joab.

Ah, so this is the reason for all our troubles! The woman’s response to Joab (in modern language) is simply – “no problem, we’ll toss his head down from the wall.” How did she know the town would follow her advice? I guess they had no choice. The city immediately cut off the head of Sheba and tossed it down to Joab.

The trumpet sounds, Joab’s troops retreat and the city of Abel goes back to it’s peaceful existence. The Wise Woman of Abel retreats into the background. Not even her name is recorded. But, every man, woman and child in the city of Abel owes their life to her.

This is why “wisdom is supreme.” Let’s take a closer look at how she applied her wisdom.
1. Wisdom asks why? – during the confusion and panic of the attack nobody had asked the most important question. Why was this happening?
2. Wisdom gets the facts. She then sought the answers from the most credible source. I’m sure there were dozens of opinions on the street but she sought credible information.
3. Wisdom is bold. She approached Joab, the high commander, of the armies of Israel. This was a pretty gutsy thing to do.
4. Wisdom has a silent “i”. She spoke humbly and persuasively on behalf of her city. She wanted no glory for herself – her entire focus was to help and save her city.
5. Finally wisdom takes action. She tells Joab that his problem will be solved and then immediately goes back to all the people sharing her wise advice. Her plan is adopted and the city is saved.

Have you ever thought of wisdom as a super power?  It comes from the Lord, it provides tremendous power, in this case the power to save a city.  Your city may not be in danger but many of your problems and difficulties can be solved by applying these five keys of wisdom. You can find the story of the Wise Woman of Abel in 2 Sam 20 verses 14-22.

 

Proverbs Principles

The Book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters of proverbs and sayings of the wise. But what exactly is a Proverb? A proverb is defined as a “short pithy saying, usually in current use and providing advice.”

The Proverbs in the Bible deal with timeless subjects – wisdom, understanding, wealth, work and success. They can be applied as successfully today as when they were originally written.

Proverbs

Proverbs

 

This is evident in the successful lives of men and women who down through the ages have successfully mastered the principles outlined in the Proverbs.

Probably the most notable would be Benjamin Franklin whose autobiography reads like a modern version of a man obsessed with living and sharing Proverbs.

The following is a summary of twelve Proverbs Principles you will have to master to successfully incorporate the Proverbs into your life. Master these virtues and you master life.

1. Fear of the Lord“the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 9:10 Here is the starting place and the place you finish. You will have difficulty mastering the other habits without a healthy respect and reverence for the Creator of all things.
2. Wisdom“wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom” Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom provides the ability to use the knowledge and understanding you have been given. It is one of the foundations to living a successful life.

Discipline

Running in the Rain

3. Discipline“those who disregard discipline, despise themselves”~ Proverbs 15:32 Discipline is the control developed through obeying a set of rules or guidelines. A successful life is a life under control.
4. Knowledge“the discerning heart seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 15:14 Knowledge is a valuable stepping stone to understanding and wisdom. It is no accident that college graduates out-earn highschool graduates by almost double over the course of a lifetime. But there are many ways to obtain knowledge outside of a classroom.
5. Understanding“the one who cherishes understanding will prosper” Proverbs 19:8 Knowledge becomes understanding when you begin to see the patterns and connections in the things you have learned. If knowledge is the “what” understanding is the “why.”

Older Couple

Couple

6. Fidelity “the adulteress preys on your very life”~ Proverbs 6:26 It is no accident why nearly three chapters in Proverbs are devoted to warnings to avoid sexual immorality and build a strong marriage.
7. Hard Work“All hard work brings a profit” – Proverbs 14:23 There is no “easy button” in Proverbs or in life. There are no short cuts and no “Four Hour Workweeks”.
8. Careful Speech – “gracious words promote instruction” Proverbs 16:21 It is not enough to have wisdom, understanding and knowledge – you must be able to express what you learn in an impactful way.
9. Good Health“a merry heart does good like a medicine” Proverbs 17:22 Poor health will consume your attention and you will be unable to help others. How much did you accomplish during your last toothache?
10. Generosity“the generous will themselves be blessed” – Proverbs 22:9 The successful life is a life of giving. Wealth is not to be stored up – but to be put in circulation.
11. Friendship“a real friend sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24 The wise man is surrounded by friends and associates acting as teachers, mentors and guides.

The Narrow Path

Walking the Narrow Path

12. Perseverance“Keep to the paths of the righteous” Proverbs 2:20 Sadly this was the downfall of Solomon himself. With all his wisdom and knowledge he still left the path later in life. Any runner will tell you that a great start doesn’t make up for a DNF (did not finish)

Some of these principles may come naturally to you, others may require intense effort. But the rewards are tremendous including long life, safety, riches, honor, and peace.

Are you up for the challenge?