“Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom. And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman.”
II Samuel 14: 1,2
King James Version
“A Woman’s Wisdom” Part I “A Wise Woman’s Discernment”
“We can be wise from goodness and good from wisdom.”
Marie von Ebner Eschenback
How would I define the word wisdom?
What qualities do I believe would be found in a woman of wisdom?
“The fear (exceeding reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise.”
Psalm 111: 10
“The discerning heart seeks knowledge.”
Proverbs 15: 14
“An intelligent person is always eager to take in more truth.”
Proverbs 15: 14
The Message Bible
Discernment: Showing insight, judgment and perception.
“It is discernment which in Scripture is described as the eye and the lamp of the body. The eye sees through all the thoughts and actions of a man (or woman), examining and illuminating every thing which we must do. And if it is not sound…that is, if it is not fortified by good judgment and by well-founded knowledge, if it is deluded by error and by presumption, this makes for darkness in the entire body.”
If you are one of the “Garden” readers who are on our daily journey through the Bible, beginning with Genesis until we arrive in Revelation, you know we are focusing on the stories of women, as well as the men in their lives, like David. And if you have been reading along with us, chapter by chapter in the Bible, you may have thought I missed the story about a woman whose unique experience is found in II Samuel 14.
To be honest with you, I can’t remember reading this story ever before. And when I shared this woman’s life with other friends I know, they didn’t remember ever hearing anything about the “wise” woman of Tekoah, either.
Since I couldn’t find anything of great detail written about this lady and I’ve certainly never heard a sermon preached about her either, I thought it totally appropriate for us to tackle an
in-depth study on her experience. For the next five days, this is exactly what we are going to do. And I want to let you in on a secret. This is a wonderful story that is another example of how God’s Word contains nuggets of gold, uniquely placed throughout the Bible for God’s girls. It is these gems of treasure that enlighten, inspire and infuse our lives with our Father’s heartfelt desire for every one of His girls to live totally and completely fulfilled lives.
When this story begins in II Samuel 14, David and his son Absalom were completely estranged. In II Samuel 14: 1, the Bible says that David’s heart was “toward” Absalom. Make no mistake, the word “toward” doesn’t mean David was close to Absalom. Just the opposite! Biblical scholars note that the Hebrew word “toward” really means David was against Absalom. And frankly, who could blame David, for Absalom had murdered his half-brother Amnon, who had raped Absalom’s beautiful, sister, Tamar. You might think Absalom’s act of vengeance was justified – what some refer to as “righteous indignation.” However, this act of violence caused a deep rift to develop within the family.
One of David’s closest friends, Joab, who was witness to all that had transpired as well as recognizing the terrible consequences during the unraveling of David’s family, decided he would attempt to step in as a catalyst to try and help heal the breach.
But here’s where the story takes a very interesting turn. Apparently, Joab had tried to bring the subject up with David in the past, but he had been rebuffed. The divide between Absalom and David was as deep as ever.
With no success in view, Joab, whom we are told didn’t live far from Tekoah, remembered a woman he heard of called a “wise” woman. Joab decided to enlist her assistance in bringing healing and unity between father and son.
The Bible states that this woman in Tekoah, as the Hebrew tells us, was a woman of knowledge. She was artfully skilled and was indentified as wise-hearted. What’s more, the Bible also shares the fact that this was not wisdom of the world. This lady was no crystal-ball medium. Her wisdom came, as we will later learn, from the Lord.
Thus her God-given gift of discernment came with a heavenly blessing. I must tell you that as one of the gifts of wisdom I long for, the gift of heavenly discernment tops my personal list. To be able to have God’s guidance in perceiving and understanding truth—what a blessed gift, indeed. This is why I am deeply inspired by the words of the Apostle Paul to the young Christians living in Corinth, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2: 14, K.J.V.). I want to share with you the way this passage reads in The Message Bible: “The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit – God’s Spirit and ours in open communion.”
To deepen my understanding of Paul’s words, I went to the Greek dictionary to look up several key words in this text.
Here are the words I checked:
- Natural – animate, unspiritual
- Receiveth – accepts, takes in
- Foolishness – absurd, silliness
- Know – to be sure, to understand
- Spiritually – divinely
- Discerned – investigate, scrutinize, examine, search
Now to increase our understanding of what Paul was trying to convey, I’d like to apply what we have learned to I Corinthians 2: 14. Here’s how we can paraphrase this instructional text: “But the “unspiritual” man or woman, does not accept or take in the things of the Spirit of God: for they appear to the “unspiritual” man and woman as “absurd silliness.” Neither can the “unspiritual” person “understand or be sure,” because the things of the Spirit of God are “divinely investigated, scrutinized and searched.”
In other words, when we ask for heavenly wisdom to flood our hearts, our minds and our spirits, we are promised that we will be given divine assistance in our search for God’s truth. What a blessing this knowledge is to my heart. Spiritual things are only understood by spiritual men and women.
The author Jonathon Swift, in writing about spiritual discernment told of a man who stood before one of Joseph Mallord William Turner’s famous, unrivalled paintings and said, “I can see nothing in it.” The great artist replied, “Don’t you wish you could?” As I read this, I thought about the longing that God has placed in your heart and mine to gain a clear and comprehensive “discernment” of who He is and what His will is for each of us. As Jonathon Swift, in his thoughts on spiritual discernment observed, “There are some things that must be spiritually discerned and appreciated, and if eyes are blind, and heart is dull, and the soul desensitized, no wonder it is difficult to appreciate the higher things of God.”
How thankful I am that God’s Word promises that for those who seek, they will find. Just like the Magi who were “searching,” they divinely discerned what others, who thought they knew it all, were caught unaware by -- the birth of the Son of God. In the 6th Century, Babai, a Syriac spiritual writer left these beautiful words that thousands of years later resonate with truth for you and me. “Use your discernment and choose the course which takes you farthest away from the deadening activities of the stifling world, and brings you close to God; direct your footsteps towards Bethlehem like the blessed Magi your fellow companions, until you reach the appointed place of that blessed star.”
“Discernment is the mother, the guardian, and the guide of all the virtues.”
(360 – 435)
“O Lord Jesus Christ, Wisdom and Word of God, dwell in our hearts, we beseech Thee, by Thy most Holy Spirit, that out of the abundance of our hearts our mouths may speak Thy praise.”
“O Lord, Thou greatest and most true Light, whence the light of the day doth spring! O Light, which dost lighten every man that cometh into the world! O Thou Wisdom of the eternal Father, lighten my mind, that I may see only those things that please Thee, and may be blinded to all other things. Grant that I may walk in Thy ways, and that nothing else may be light and pleasant.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.