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?

 

Free Life Coaching: 31-Day Course

“for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life”~ Proverbs 1:2

Has life got you down?  After much struggle do you realize you can’t make it on your own?

ou need help. You need some powerful coaching.  But coaches, good coaches, don’t come cheap.  You can’t afford a Tony Robbins or a Brian Tracey?  The best life or business coaches can charge up to $3,500 per hour!   You can find cheaper alternatives but it’s your life and you want the best.

Instruction

Coaching Doesn’t Come Cheap

Don’t despair there is a solution.

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible is actually 31 chapters of coaching.  It is written from a Father to a Son.  By crossing out every reference to “my son” and inserting my name I have found this to be the greatest coaching course ever offered.

It was written for parents and teachers to educate the youth of the nation but is applicable for all ages.

Let’s look at some of the results promised:

Knowledge – not just book learning but understanding the moral purpose and reason for existence.  You must have knowledge before obtaining wisdom.

Understanding – knowledge with comprehension.  You learn something and then a light bulb goes off – you really “get it”.

Discipline – avoiding the temptations of sin, false pleasures and the pitfalls of life. This comes by listening to the teaching and accepting it, internalizing it and making it a part of your life.  The responsibility to implement is on the shoulders of the student.

Wisdom – the ultimate goal of the book.  Having wisdom is having powerful knowledge that you can apply to the life situations you face.  Solomon’s visitors would question him with hard questions and were amazed at his responses. Having wisdom is being a master of handling people and situations.

There isn’t a life coach walking the earth today that can offer these benefits.  Why settle for less?

Ready to sign up?   The course is 31 days.  The manual is the Book of Proverbs with its 31 chapters.

You read a chapter a day for 31 days.  First you read, and then you put into practice.  If the instructions say listen, you listen, if they say ask, you ask.  Follow them as you would the instructions of any world-class life coach.

Keep a journal, take notes on what you read, and track your progress.  This is going to be a life-changer!

 

 

 

 

 

I Saw the Proverbs 31 Woman Today!

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks ~ Proverbs 31:17

“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar”~ Proverbs 31:14

I saw the Proverbs 31 woman.  At Walmart!

I was in the check out line behind a very pokey woman with a very slow order.   I had studied that morning about Wisdom.  Wisdom, as described in the book of Proverbs, does not come from books but her voice is all around us. We can see and learn wisdom in the streets, the workplace, and our neighborhood. We can hear her voice throughout the day if we listen carefully.  It is especially important to specifically ask for wisdom, which I had prayed for that morning. So I was on the alert.

Shopping Without Plastic Bags

Grocery Cart with Bins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well I glanced at the checkout aisle next to me and noticed a middle-aged woman with her son checking out a very large order.  She was well dressed but had taken off her jacket and tied it around her waist.  She was ready to go to work.  Not muscular but arms and shoulders that looked like they were used to hard work.

What first caught my attention was her backpack.  She wore a medium size backpack – kind of unusual for shopping.  Out of the backpack came canvas type bags to load her groceries.  Not 4 or 5 bags but a huge stack of 20 or so sturdy bags.  They were colorful, bright with prints – not the usual green or brown earth colored bags.  They were all matching. So she had no use for plastic bags.

Her hands flew, picking and bagging her order.  Her son, a tenth grader or so, worked with her.  He didn’t seem a bit embarrassed to be seen shopping with his Mom. The clerk checking them out was working as quickly as she could.  As quick as an item crossed her scanner they had it packed.  The bags were quickly and carefully double stacked in the shopping cart and away they went.

I have shopped at that WalMart for 20 years but have never seen a shopper with that speed and efficiency.   My mind immediately went to the Proverbs 31 woman.

Was this her? How about you?  Any sightings? Have you seen her lately? Wisdom is all around us.  Keep your eyes and ears open. Maybe she’ll be in your neighborhood tomorrow.

Attracting Wealth

Proverbs 8:18 With me (wisdom) are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.

Proverbs 23:5 Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

The secret to attracting wealth and riches are given in these verses.  Did you catch it?  Most will read right over it.  Like a good poem or a parable Proverbs has levels of understanding.  You can read right past an important clue or key and still obtain some feeling of benefit from your reading.

The secret?  Enduring wealth and riches are extremely fickle.  Focusing on them and seeking them will result in failure.

However if you make wisdom your goal you will also obtain riches and wealth.  Yes, riches and wealth are nothing more than by products of wisdom.

So to attract wealth you must seek out wisdom.

Upper West Side

Upper West Side Street View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try these four ways to pursue wisdom:

  1. Ask.  Quietly bow your head and admit your lack of wisdom and ask the Lord to provide you with this most precious of gifts.  Do this everyday – request it like we should our daily bread.
  2. Listen for it. Alertly start your day – listening for the voice of wisdom.  You will find it in the most unusual of circumstances.  A piece of a radio program, a word from a friend or perhaps from the lips of a child.
  3. Watch. Keep your eyes open.  Observe all that goes around you – especially nature, even the insect world can teach you wisdom. Have you ever watched the Secret Service agents when the President arrives?  Their eyes scan the room, trained and alert.  Train your eyes to observe.
  4. Walk. When the way of wisdom is revealed to you walk in it.  Be bold, step out – take the right path and move boldly forward.

I followed this carefully today and saw a most amazing thing that I would not have noticed otherwise.  I was in Walmart and saw the Proverbs 31 woman in the checkout aisle next to me!  I always wondered what a modern version of this woman would look like and today I saw her. I’ll save that story for another post.

What will tomorrow’s path to wisdom bring?  I can’t wait to find out.

Street Smarts

Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech – Proverbs 1:20 

Man Down

Man Down on the Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack was a regular derelict along Broad Street in Newark. Everyone who worked in the area knew him and his antics – especially after he drank too much.  This morning he was down on the sidewalk,  face down in the grime.  Workers hustling to work stepped around him giving him a quick glance, a knowing shake of the head as if to say, “drunk again”.

We watched from our office window and discussed what we saw.  Could he be actually injured?  Or hurt?  No, he was probably just passed out.  We were uncomfortable at the sight of him but did nothing.

Suddenly a passer-by stops in front of Jack, then gets down and tries to wake him.  “Are you okay, are you okay?” he says.  Jack gradually begins to come too.  The stranger asks if he needs an ambulance.  Jack groggily shakes his head.  He was, after all, just passed out.  Once the stranger determines that Jack was okay he was back on his way.

This was something I had not seen before. A stranger taking time to make sure a derelict was okay?

I felt ashamed.  Why didn’t I take action or try to help? Why didn’t I do anything? I felt so envious of the compassion and courage that was shown by that stranger on the street.

You can find knowledge in a book but the voice of wisdom calls to you out on the streets. The voice of wisdom is calling.  Listen, observe, what’s going on around you?

Wisdom spoke to my heart that day, loud and clear.  “Don, you need to get involved, make a difference, reach out!”

Today’s Action – Wherever your path takes you today.  Listen, observe, and pay attention.  Open your eyes and your heart. Wisdom is calling out.

Are You Being Fracked?

Proverbs 25: Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.

Fracking is a process used in oil and gas exploration when, after drilling they pressurize the hole and fracture the surrounding rock to obtain additional gas or oil. The impact is that the fracturing allows additional oil and gas to be retrieved through the horizontal fractures with the oil and gas moving through the fractured rock layers into the bore hole. The problem and the outcry is that fracking can also allow oil and gas to seep into pure water tables and pollute underground water.  So you may live many miles from the nearest oil well and suddenly find your well water contaminated.

Pure Water Flowing

Flowing Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The person who lives right, does right and stands for truth is a powerful force in a home, workplace or community.  They become a source of stability, wisdom and refreshing to those around them.  In Isaiah 58 there is a beautiful picture of the believer described as “a spring whose waters never fail”.

We are a source of refreshment to others, people should be turning to us for advice, direction and encouragement.

But we can become polluted.  How? By giving way to the wicked. By yielding to those who spread harmful teachings, incorrect advice or instruction.  Notice that this not something you DO but something you fail to do.

Your child comes home from school with teaching that you know is not biblical. We must gently and carefully correct that teaching.  We must be the source of instruction. Public opinion now believes something that has been wrong for 6,000 years is now “okay”?  We must not be swayed.

My government wants to put up toll booths on our free highway system here in Virginia, USA.  This really bothered me and I felt this was wrong.  Finally I composed a letter and sent it to my local newspaper to protest.  It is not much – but I wanted to be heard.

You may not realize how powerful your voice can be.  Take a stand, be heard, speak out!

Stay pure! Keep the mud and pollution out.  Continue to let the pure teachings of truth flow from your spring, refreshing all those you come in contact with.  Always move forward. When your springs stop flowing the pollution and mud can seep in.

Thanks for stopping by the My Path To  Wisdom website.  Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover.

 

The Listeners

Proverbs 8:34-35 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.

Wisdom continues to urge men to listen to her instruction.  A Blessing will be bestowed to the man who waits at her doors, ready and prepared to receive her instruction.

This is not a once and a while opportunity.  We are to wait “daily” at her doors. Don’t move through your day by routine and habit.  Be alert, be waiting, looking for the opportunity that wisdom may bring your way.  Keep pen and pad or recorder available for sudden knowledge that may come your way.

Now That's A Door!

 

Wake up fully rested and be on your toes, be 100% alive, ready for whatever your day brings.  Adversity?  There are often great blessings hidden in adversity.

Not enough patience to wait?  Then be bold!  Walk up and knock on the door, really pound on it!

In Walter DeLamaire’s poem the Listeners we meet a mysterious man who keeps a difficult commitment late in the night at a lonely estate.  Does the man tiptoe around to see if anyone is there?  Does her meekly tap on the door a couple of times?  No, the man is bold, unafraid:

For he suddenly smote on the door, even Louder, and lifted his head:- ‘Tell them I came, and no one answered, That I kept my word’ he said.”

Take action.

Pound on the door of opportunity today and shout your presence.  Wisdom will reward you.

I Wisdom

Proverbs 8:17-18 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.

Beginning in chapter 8 of Proverbs Wisdom steps out of the background and takes center stage. She (and wisdom is referred to in the feminine) speaks directly in the first person. She calmly stands before the microphone, looks out at the audience and speaks to those who will listen.

Many in the audience are distracted and many are asleep. Wisdom is not a dynamic speaker. She doesn’t pound the lectern or pace up and down on the platform. Her voice is clear, earnest and the power is in the message.

She promises honor and riches, enduring wealth and prosperity. She is not your run-of-the-mill get rich quick proponent. She delivers. What’s the catch you ask?

You must seek her. You must love her. Don’t approach a day without asking the Lord for wisdom. Don’t make decisions without her input. Lay your plans out before her and ask her to guide your thoughts and steps.

If you love her she will love you back. This is how it has happened for me. I have decided on a course of action. But then I remember I didn’t ask for wisdom. So I apologize for inviting her in late to the process and I ask for wisdom. Now the prior course of action, which seemed so clear an hour ago, is not looking so good. Another alternative is in my mind – the more I think of the alternative the more I like it.

What has happened? Wisdom has spoken. You sought her and she keeps her promises.

Action Step – love wisdom, seek wisdom, follow her advice.