What are you known for? Does your reputation precede you in a godly, Christian manner? The Apostle Paul had much to say in regards to those leading the church and their reputations. “And he must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside the church, so that he will not be discredited and fall into the devil’s trap.” (1 Timothy 3:7) “For those who have served well as deacons gain a high standing, having a good reputation among the congregation, and great confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 3:13)
The disciples in the Book of Acts included reputation as a key element in discerning and tasking men to oversee the distribution of food to widows, “Therefore, brothers, choose from among you seven men with good reputations (men of godly character and moral integrity), full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.” (Acts 6:3) Does your reputation precede you, in and out of the church?
King David’s life has been eventful to say the least. When Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “But we urge you, brothers and sisters, that you excel more and more, and to make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you.”, I don’t think he had David in mind. The man after God’s own heart has lived a tumultuous life, some instigated by his own doing.
The wise woman of Abel was caught up in a bitter rebellion between David and his son Absalom’s defiance. God’s chosen divided, father against son, son against father, allegiance to one man rippled through Israel. The men of Judah had claimed David as their own leader, but one wicked rebel defied God’s elect. Sheba announced that the ten tribes of Israel had no part in David and were seceding.
Sheba runs far north to the city of Abel of Beth Maachah. This was located north of the waters of Merom . As David’s commander, Joab, lays siege to the city, a wise woman called down to him and asked why he was going to destroy a mother city of Israel that had always been proverbial for its wisdom .
“And the army of Joab came and besieged Sheba in Abel Beth-Maacah, and they built up and assault ramp against the city, and it stood against the outer rampart; and all the people who were with Joab were wreaking destruction to make the wall fall. Then a wise woman cried out from the city, ‘Hear, hear! Tell Joab, “Come here so that I may speak to you.”’
So when he approached her, the woman asked, ‘Are you Joab?’
He answered, ‘I am.’
Then she said to him, ‘Listen to the words of your maidservant.’
He answered, ‘I am listening.’
Then she said, ‘In the past people used to say, “then will certainly ask advice at Abel,” and so they settled the dispute. I am one of the peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, and a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?’
Joab answered, ‘Far be it, far be it from me that I swallow up or destroy! That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted his hand against King David. Only hand him over, and I will leave the city.’
And the woman said to Joab, ‘Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.’
Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people. And they beheaded Sheba the son of Bichri and threw his head to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his own tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.”
The book of Proverbs records a plethora of wisdom. The Amplified Bible witnesses to eighty-six verses of wisdom for all to read. “For the Lord gives skillful and godly wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6) “He stores away sound wisdom for the righteous; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” (Proverbs 2:7) “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding and insight.” (Proverbs 3:13) “For whoever finds me (wisdom), finds life and obtains favor and grace from the Lord.” (Proverbs 8:35)
Sheba had not found wisdom. He was in direct disobedience to God’s command in anointing David as rightful king. Sheba is described as a wicked rebel who defiantly commenced a rebellion and secession from David. God was having no part of it. This is not really to far off from where we are today.
Many people, today, have no desire to follow God’s Son, Jesus Christ. They have no desire to worship, praise, or acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. I, myself in my own ‘infinite’, youthful wisdom, had not desire for church or fellowship until God opened my heart during a post-partum depression. It was Christ’s precious hand that saved my mind and spirit from such darkness and sadness.
When I look back on my life, what I thought was joy and happiness, was fleeting. Moments in time where I have achieved great things such as College graduation, graduating Officer Candidate School for the Navy, living in Hawaii, meeting Tommy, and birthing my children were joyful to say the least. But, there is a joy in everyday moments with Jesus than with few “big” life moments.
Now, I can not imagine enjoying a day without Him. He brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to my life. I could never do what I am doing with out Him: homeschooling my children, writing books, volunteering, serving in the church, sports, and my purpose in encouraging women could never be achieved peacefully or joyfully with out His presence.
Sheba, as many today, demand their own way, and their own ideals. They are in direct disobedience to the Lord. “A wise man’s heart turns him toward the right (which is the way of blessing), but a fool’s heart turns him toward the left (which is the way of condemnation).” (Ecclesiastes 10:2) “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25) Sadly, Sheba’s life ended in tragedy.
For the Wise of Woman of Abel, she exhibited great courage under pressure, calling to talk with the commander of the forces attacking her home. She was known for her wisdom and peaceable spirit. The Bible says, “in wisdom” she went to those in the city seeking the will of God. She reminds me of Abigail who, with God’s wisdom, blessed David during an attack coming to her own home. God spoke to her spirit, as He did with this wise woman, establishing the one He desired as king to rule. The wise woman displayed great courage, but also exemplified James 4:8, “Come close to God and He will come close to you!”
She was a wise woman who epitomized godly character, courage under great strain, and fulfilled the will of God. My sister, I pray your reputation heralds you as a godly woman, strong and courageous under pressure, and prayerful in all circumstances listening for the quiet whisper of the Lord.