Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And Joab sent to Tekoah and brought from there a wise woman and said to her, ‘Pretend to be a mourner: put on mourning apparel; do not anoint yourself with oil, but act like a woman who has long been mourning for the dead. And go to the king and speak thus to him.’ And Joab told her what to say. When the woman of Tekoah spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance, and said, ‘Help, O king!’”
II Samuel 14: 2-4
“A Woman’s Wisdom” – Part 2 “A Wise Woman’s Voice”
“Mere silence is not wisdom, for wisdom consists in knowing when and how to speak and when and where to keep silent.”
Jean Pierre Camus
How, as a woman, have I used my voice in my life?
How do the words I speak reflect heavenly wisdom?
“Wisdom is knowing when to speak your mind and when to mind your speech.”
“Not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
She is identified as the “wise” or knowledgeable woman of Tekoah, a person whose reputation for doing and saying the correct thing was so well-known that one of David’s closest allies chose to enlist this woman to try and assist him in repairing the breach that had developed between Absalom and David.
As II Samuel 14 begins, we find Joab, the head of David’s army, had thought out a well-designed plan he hoped would motivate David to try and unite with his son, Absalom. As I read this story, my mind returned to another scene which also took place within the palace walls when Nathan the prophet, sent by God, told a parable to David about a very wealthy man with immense flocks and herds and a poor man with only one, lone, ewe lamb.
If you will recall, it was Joab who was the army general who saw to it that David’s order to place Uriah in the fiercest area of fighting was carried out. It was Joab who personally did David’s dirty work. It was Joab who had blood on his hands, too!
Now years later, seeing David’s life turned upside down, Joab may well have felt compelled to try and do something to fix the mess. Recognizing how effectively Nathan had used a parable to help bring David to his senses during the Bathsheba adultery debacle, Joab decided another parable was in order. However, this time, a wise woman with a wise voice was the chosen individual for the task.
The “wise” woman, dressed as a mourning widow, went before King David, entreating him to help her. She didn’t say a lot – just what it took to lay her plight out before the sympathetic king.
As I read the words this woman spoke, “Help, O king!” I thought how this request was so simple and direct. This wise woman didn’t choose to flatter the king with flowery accolades. Instead she simply used her voice and her speech, to convey the message of a deep and sincere request. This fact set the wheels in my mind to turning. Especially as I thought about the gift of speech we have as women.
Whether it is speech which is sung as a simple song or poetry that radiates a touching message or a story written to share a specific truth – we each have a voice, a way of expressing ourselves. Every time we speak, we are conveying a part of our inner selves to someone else.
I never really understood the power of a woman’s voice, used in a variety of ways, speaking, teaching, preaching, writing and singing, until I began to receive feedback, on a daily basis, from God’s daughters and sons around the world. So many of you have told me that you appreciate the simple words, penned on white paper in the closet in my house where I have a small writing table that connects me with you. I can’t tell you how touched I am when some precious person says, “What you wrote was as if you were talking directly to me.” This is the power each of us has to use the voice God has given to us.
I absolutely love the story about the hymn writer Frances Havergal. She was given a special voice – a voice that composed poetry, which later became famous hymns. She was the author of the poem “Take My Life” – a favorite hymn of mine. On December 2, 1873, Advent Sunday, Frances felt that there was more in her life that she needed to commit to God. She had a beautiful voice that was in great demand for secular concerts and she often sang with the Philharmonic. But as she pondered the words she wrote, “Take my voice, and let me sing, always, only, for my King,” she decided at that moment that, “her lips were to be exclusively devoted to the songs of the Lord.”
When I was a young woman, a pastor friend of my dad’s called me and asked if I would assist him with a large writing project for the organization he headed up. I’ll never forget that beautiful spring day, sitting in his finely-appointed, windowed office, looking out over a pastoral field. As we were talking about the project I was to work on, he stopped mid-sentence and looked me in the eye and said, “Dorothy, I’m praying for you. I’m asking God to take hold of that heart of yours and put a desire to ‘write’ for Him in it, instead of you doing all this writing work for the world.”
It took nearly twenty years and a catastrophic accident before I recognized God had a special way He wanted me to use my voice – which involves my razor point felt writing pen. And yesterday, when I received an email from my precious garden friend Veronica in Mississippi, I knew my choice to use my voice writing about Jesus was following my Father’s leading in my life.
After Hurricane Katrina, I was contacted by Veronica, asking if I could provide my book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, at no cost for continuing Bible Study groups in the Mississippi gulf region. I immediately said, “Yes!” Some of you who have sent gifts just from your loving hearts without being asked, helped me pay for the shipping for these books. Well, Veronica wanted me to know the results of some of the group meetings so she sent me several notes. I want to share Jennifer’s letter with you:
“When the group first got started, I guess I really wasn’t so sure about this thing, ‘Bible, hanging out, sharing.’ I was still tiptoeing around, making excuses. I had trust issues, sharing issues, people issues, wow it sounds like a lot of issues. We got into the book, When A Woman Meets Jesus. At first I thought, ‘how is this book gonna help me?’ I mean ME! I don’t read, I don’t write (in the sense of not taking the time to) and I DON’T SHARE…but funny thing is, I GOT SAVED THROUGH THIS BOOK. Between the’broken woman’ and the ‘lonely woman,’ Jesus told me, “NO MORE, come to me.’ With His love and mercy for me I am no longer empty, insecure, worried, alone, or worthless. Jesus showed me I am so much more...Jesus has transformed me into His daughter, and He saved me.”
As I read this note, the tears pouring down my face blurred the words, but the message came home to my heart, “Dorothy, using your voice for Jesus is the only way to live each day.”
Since the Garden began five years ago, I have met, via the internet, some of the most wonderful people. One of my most favorite people is Normie Liles who resides at the Echo Manor Retirement Center in Ohio. Normie sent me her picture and I treasure it more than a million dollars. Normie could say, “I’m here in a nursing home, I don’t have a voice anymore,” but if you thought this, you would be completely off base. Normie is a lighthouse, cheering up everyone around her with her voice. And just yesterday, she used that gorgeous voice of hers to send me a poem she wrote and she gave me permission to share it with you:
“What Can I Do For You, Lord?”
“After all the suffering that You have done in my stead
All the hours spent on that wicked old cross
To one such as I who has sinned
All I have to offer You is me.
In honor and respect for my sins, saved by grace
You in Your glory came down to this earth to take my place
With outstretched hands, You welcomed me
No matter how soiled my life had been
After it all said and done, I offer my self to thee.
My mind cannot comprehend Your suffering and shame
With that in mind, we are to blame
You gave us paradise here on earth
And welcome us one day to live forevermore with You.
I thank You Lord for saving my soul
Although it troubles me the price You paid
With humble heart encompassed with love
All I have to offer You is my heart, spirit and soul.”
Dear daughter of God, you have a voice – a wise voice given to you by your heavenly Father. It’s a voice you can use to tell your unique story. It is a voice that can encourage, uplift, comfort, and rejoice.
All you simply have to do is go to our King and ask Him the same thing the wise woman of Tekoah asked, “Help, O King!”
“Speak yes, who best can tell,
ye (daughters) of Light,
Angels, for ye behold Him,
and with songs and choral
symphonies, day without night,
circle His throne rejoicing.”
“Be Thou my wisdom,
Be Thou my true word;
I ever with Thee,
Thou with me, Lord.”
“Set a watch, O Lord, upon our tongue: that we never speak the cruel word which is untrue; or, being true, is not the whole truth; or, being wholly true, is merciless; for the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.”
G. W. Briggs
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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