2 SamueL 20-16-22: Then a wise woman called from the city, "Hear, hear! Please tell Joab, 'Come here that I may speak with you.'" So he approached her, and the woman said. "Are you Joab?" And he answered, " I am." Then she said to him, "Listen to the words of your maidservant." And he answered, "I am listening." Then she spoke, saying, "Formerly they used to say, 'They will surely ask advice in Abel,' and thus they ended the dispute. I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?" Joab replied, "Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy! Such is not the case. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bicri by name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Only hand him over, and I will depart from the city." And the woman said to Joab, "Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall." Then the woman wisely came to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bicri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, each to his tent. Joab also returned to the king at Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 14: 2: So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He said to her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don't use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead.
The greatest blessings God has given me in my life are the wise women that He placed in my path, particularly during my wilderness times. Wilderness times are the occasions when we are spiritually lost and chaos reigns in our lives, such as in times of life-threatening illness, grief, financial setbacks, and rebellious children. The wise women that I had the pleasure to talk with and vent my frustrations as well as discuss ways out of the wilderness were not women with doctorates or, in some cases, a high school degree, so I have come to understand that wisdom and book knowlwdge are two unique entities. As one wise woman said, "There are people with book sense who cannot find their way out of a paper sack; it is wisdom that will save your life." Proverbs 3:13-14 states, "How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold."
Wisdom has been called street sense, because wisdom is gained through experience. Wisdom comes through the trials of life. It is not reserved for elderly persons, even though in old age, many people have survived much and become wise. But, there are young girls and boys who live in urban areas devastated by drugs and violence, who are wise beyond their years, as they have had to learn to sidestep the violence, gangs, and drugs, so that they can live. Wisdom knows no age limits, is possessed by all races and ethnicities, and is not dependent on brute power, so it is not reserved for men only. Therefore, if you are trying to take back your life, I suggest finding a wise woman, similar to the woman described in the Scripture lesson above. This woman intervened to prevent the destruction of her city and its people. She asked to speak to Joab, and when he came to her, she told him that her city had been known as a place where disputes were resolved, and wonders why he is choosing to destroy a city and people who are peaceful and faithful to God. After hearing his story that he only wants Sheba, who is described in verse 1 as a worthless fellow who shouted insults at King David, the wise woman assured him that Sheba's head would be thrown over the wall. She talked wisely to the people of her city, and as promised, Sheba' s head was thrown to Joab and he and his army dispersed without further damage to the city. In using diplomacy and talking to Joab directly, the wise woman, who is not named, saved her city and her people.
There are seven attributes of wise women found in the Bible text today that helps us understand why the services of a wise woman is needed in wilderness times. First, wise women are bold and courageous, speaking truth to the situation when others are too afraid to do so. Second, wise women know to go to the one in charge who has authority to make change, not to deputies or assistants. They go to the leader her/himself. Third, wise women speak words that help make the situation better, not worse. They understand that a soft answers turns away wrath. They seek peace through diplomacy, not through war. Fourth, wise women acknowledge that they are God's own daughters and that their homes are places where the spirit of God resides. Fifth, wise women are faithful to God, for they know the source of their strength and our strength. Sixth, wise women do not mind being used of God to save their families, their homes, their communities, or their nations. Seventh, wise women are known and respected by all, even by persons in high places. These people are willing to listen to what the women have to say and allow the women to act in ways that lessen bloodshed and hasten peace. Joab had already used the services of a wise woman (2 Samuel 14:2), so he knew that he could depend on this woman to speak wisely to her people and end the standoff, and his faith in her was confirmed as he returned to Jerusalem with Sheba's head in his possession.
Whatever the wilderness experience you are enduring today, find a wise woman in your family, neighborhood, place of employment, or church or other place or worship and tell her your story. Be willing to allow her to talk peace into the situation, be mentally and spiritually present when she prays to Her Heavenly Father, trust her to know the right course of action, and imitate her faithfulness to God. Wisdom is referred to as a feminine characteristic, so what better place to find the wisdom needed to endure the walk in the wilderness and the person who can help lead us to the joy, peace, and love on the other side than a woman after God's own heart. You will know her by her words, actions, and the respect and deference others show her, but also by the scars that testify to her survival in her own wilderness experiences.
Precious and Holy God, You are a wonder in my soul and I lift up your Name in Praise and Adoration. Lord, I thank you for the wise women you placed in my life who guided me through the tough times and reminded me that You are always in the midst of our wilderness experiences, even when we believe you are absent. We need wise women today, Lord, who will speak boldly the word of God and who are willing to be used by You to help other women and men navigate through the wilderness places of their lives. In these times of economic upheaval and in the midst of two wars, we need women who are willing to help other women and men endure the wilderness experience that this nation is experiencing even as I write. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Rev. Regina Davis-Sowers, PhD