“The king (David) asked her, ‘What troubles you?’ She said, ‘I am a widow; my husband is dead. And your handmaid had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. And behold, our whole family has risen against your handmaid, and they say, deliver him who slew his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he slew; and so they would destroy the heir also. And so quenching my coal which is left, they would leave to my husband neither name nor remnant upon the earth.’ David said to the woman, ‘Go home, and I will give orders concerning you.’”
II Samuel 14: 5-8
“A Woman’s Wisdom” – Part 3 “A Wise Woman’s Compassion”
“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.”
Henry Ward Beecher
How would I define the word compassion?
Have I experienced compassionate behavior by someone else in my life?
How did it make me feel?
“Man (or woman) is never nearer the Divine than in his (her) compassionate moments.”
Joseph H. Hertz
“Wisdom without compassion operates only in the realm of theory.”
She came before the king, dressed as a widow with a special plea. Hers was a plaintive need. With simple words she cried out, “O, King, help.”
As David listened to this “wise” widow’s request, his heart was moved. We find that the loving compassion this wise woman expressed, as she told the story of her son who had murdered his brother, struck a responsive cord in David’s heart. There is a Jewish proverb which says, “One heart is mirror to another,” and it may well have been that at the moment this woman, appearing as a widowed mother, expressed her compassion toward an errant child, David was reminded not only of the breach that had developed between Absalom and himself, but more importantly, he immediately recognized the compassionate way his own heavenly Father had treated him when he had fallen into a sinful pit of immorality and murder. There is no question, as we read the words penned by David in the Psalms, he felt within himself the benefit of his Father’s compassionate care and love. In Psalm 86: 15 (K.J.V), David lauded the overflowing gift of his Father when he wrote, “But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” And again in Psalm 145: 8 (K.J.V.), in a Psalm of praise, David extolled his heavenly Father with these words: “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”
It was from this vantage point that two compassionate hearts met. One was a wise woman who was sharing the need of a widowed mother, the other a vauntful king, whose family was torn apart. And now, using the discernment bestowed upon her by her heavenly Father, along with the use of words of wisdom, the “wise” woman of Tekoah, laid open a vision of a mother filled with compassion for her one and only surviving child.
This story, portrayed by the “wise” woman of Tekoah, touches my heart to the core for it opens my eyes to a special quality that is not only overlooked but too often lost in our fast-paced, dog-eat-dog society. It is the characteristic of compassion. This special word is defined as the “sympathetic concern for the suffering of another, together with the inclination to give aid and support or to show mercy.”
What I find so instructive about the ministry of Jesus Christ, when on this earth, was His untiring example each day of not just talking about being compassionate, but living a compassionate life. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry noted: “What value has compassion that does not take its object in its arms.” This is the compassion that permeated every aspect of Jesus’ life. Time after time the disciples in the Gospels write that, “Jesus had compassion on the people.” And we are repeatedly told that He made a point to “touch” the people He associated with.
Nowhere though is Christ’s example of compassion more evident than in
Luke 7: 11-13 (K.J.V.), where we find Him coming face-to-face with a widowed mother. She is called the widow of Nain. It is Dr. Luke who paints this vivid picture, “And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, ‘Weep not.’” What touching words of compassion.
Sadly, in our world today, not only is mercy in short supply, but the well of compassion has nearly run dry. We, as God’s “wise” women, have the opportunity to change this. The “wise” woman from Tekoah could have approached David in many ways. She could have listed for him all the qualifications she had that helped her get where she was. But rather than puff herself up in the eyes of David, she entered the palace expressing the compassion of a tender mother’s heart, appealing directly to the compassion she knew existed in David’s heart, too.
How often I’ve thought about times in my own life when an expression of compassion may well have yielded the healing result I longed for rather than driving a wedge in deeper. As Fey Valentine so beautifully expressed, “God cares, God is concerned. And since God is concerned, His people have an obligation to be concerned, too.”
The poet William Blake expressed the compassionate love of our Father in one of his most expressive poems, called, “On Another’s sorrow”:
“Can I see another’s woe
And not be in sorrow too.
Can I see another’s grief
And not seek for kind relief.
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrows share,
Can a father see his child,
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled.
Can a mother sit and hear,
An infant groan an infant fear –
No no never can it be.
Never never can it be.
And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small.
Hear the small birds grief and care
Hear the woes that infants bear –
And not sit beside the nest
Pouring pity on their breast,
And not sit the cradle near
Weeping tear on infant’s tear.
He doth give His joy to all.
He becomes an infant small.
He becomes a man of woe
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not, thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by.
Think not, thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
O! He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.”
“The dew of compassion is a tear.”
“Lord, when my eye confronts my heart, and I realize that You have filled my heart with Your love, I am breathless with amazement. Once my heart was so small in its vision, so narrow in its compassion, so weak in its zeal for truth. Then You chose to enter my heart, and now in my heart I can see You, I can love all Your people, and I have courage to proclaim the truth of Your gospel to anyone and everyone. Like wax before a fire, my heart has melted under the heart of Your love.”
Count Von Zinzendorg
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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