The wise woman saved a town and gave King David’s leaders what they wanted. Sounds like a win-win, except for Sheba. Funny that I pictured her to be an old woman, hunched over with a shawl. Our reading doesn’t say anything about her age! Hmm. Curious.
I guess I usually equate wisdom with age. After all, I feel a lot smarter than I did when I was younger. Life lessons, plenty of mistakes and wrong directions, including smart course corrections. But then I also think that my granddaughter is “wise beyond her years!”
If you ever wanted to know what God expects from us in terms of how to live, Paul reveals a bit of that to Titus in this reading. Guys and gals, old and young, even slaves have some good stuff to take away. I was just a little stunned when I realized that slaves got extra. After all, they are also going to fit into one of the gender categories as well, right? Being we don’t have “slaves” commonly today is probably what caught my attention, too.
Paul is covering all the bases to protect all people. There’s some good stuff here. Now that I’m seeing myself in the “older women” category, I’m especially touched by the notion of showing my younger counterparts how to love and honor their husbands and families. It’s basically a nice way of saying, “set a good example, one others can learn from and model.”
Verse 3 reads, “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” You are my church, part of the body of believers who I have the privilege of sharing my reflections with. You are special to me. It is always my prayer that these devotional ramblings of mine will somehow touch your heart and draw you closer to the heart of God. I have been feeling drawn the Book of Revelation for a couple months, and I look forward to being on this journey through the book with you.
David has shared with me several books which I will be using as reference when I feel stuck or want to dig deeper. The Book of Revelation is going to challenge us, and I want to do my best to bring it alive for you and all my readers (as well as myself). The books I have are “Breaking the Code” by Bruce Metzger, “Joy in our Weakness” by Marva Dawn (personally autographed by the author), and “Revelation and the End of All Things” by Craig R. Koester. Have you read any of them?
God’s instructions through Moses have a common theme for the most part–to purge evil from among them. To me, that speaks volumes. God not only acknowledges evil, but he calls it out. His warnings were clear. We also know God created us with minds to make our own decisions. Even when God’s word in Scripture is clear, we often think we know better than God.
It happened in Bible times and it happens now. We have wisdom and truth available to us in God’s word, yet we still try to figure it out our own way. As an example, think of your childhood. Did you obey everything your parents told you? After all, we are to obey our parents according to God. I don’t think I was the only wild child that pushed the envelope, tested the boundaries, and tried doing things my way. Did I get into trouble? Sometimes. Did I learn that I wasn’t that smart, and that I should rely on the wisdom of others who had gone before me? Absolutely!
I have always loved this passage. It empowers women, yet we can feel treasured all at the same time. I remember the first time I read it. I wasn’t feeling particularly glamorous or smart. My energy was low, and I doubted every move I made. I was recovering from a broken marriage, and the scars of abuse were still raging red. I felt as if God’s message here was for just for me. It was encouraging. It was a healing moment. Could I ever be that woman?
I hope you haven’t gone through something horrific like that, and whether you are a woman or man, these verses should speak to you. There is such beauty in the images that come to mind. The style of writing and depth of meaning seem totally out of character with what we have been reading in the rest of the book of Proverbs. Yet this is wisdom, pure gold. That much is the same. How are you relating to yourself or to the women in your life?