Thursday, July 8, 2010

Women of Wisdom

I was recently asked by a very wise gentleman for some help in pre-planning a funeral for a friend. His specific request was for me to help him in his search for women in Scripture who were known for their wisdom, so he could share this in honor of his friend's mother. I thought you might enjoy this as well, so I decided to post this here. I hope it'll be an encouragement to you as we look to these real-life women as examples of lives lived in what Scripture teaches us is "A Girl's Best Friend"—WISDOM! (Hmmm…sounds like it'd make a great book title…)

Of course the first ones to come to my mind are:

Esther, Mary the mother of Jesus, Deborah, & Ruth. I also think of the wisdom of Rahab—someone no one would have expected to have such a valuable character trait!

So, how was wisdom evident in the lives of these everyday women? I'm glad you asked!

Esther: Most of us are familiar with this incredible story found in the Old Testament. Esther was an orphaned child who was adopted by her cousin Mordecai, who grew up to become queen of Persia in a very crucial time in Jewish history. She was given, by God's design, everything she needed in order to fulfill her destiny. God made her exactly as she needed, and gave her everything she would need, in order for God's purposes to be fulfilled in her life. But, had Esther opted out of being obedient to her God, things for the Jewish nation would have been much different! She was a woman who listened to wise counsel (Mordecai, and Hegai); she was a woman willing to humble herself before God and others (shown through her prayer life and respect for others); and she was willing to trust God amidst great potential for personal sacrifice ("If I perish, I perish!").

Mary: Only a woman of wisdom would be one God could have chosen for this one-of-a-kind calling --- to be the mother of His own Child. Mary's response to the angel's message that she would become the virgin mother of the Messiah is a beautiful testament to her trust in God, "Let it be to me according to your word." God is not looking for an eloquent response; He is looking for our simple trust and obedience. As the woman who raised the Christ, Mary didn't demonstrate perfection, but she did demonstrate wisdom—which is always a fruit of humility. God can't give wisdom to the proud because they think they already have this treasure. God can only give wisdom to the genuinely humble. Mary's life demonstrates this so well!

Deborah: In Judges 4 & 5, we get to read the short story of how God used a woman with great leadership skills to bring His people back to obedience to Him. Not all women "fit the mold" of what culture and society dictate. A woman of wisdom knows who she is, and knows that she will enjoy freedom as she lives out of who God says she is and who God has created her to be. A woman like this has the potential to change the world—and enjoy her God and her life in the process!

Ruth: Ruth's wisdom was shown in her loyalty and humility. She chose a harder road to take in life, refusing to walk away when it would have been easier, and this opened the door for God's blessings and provision in her life. Ruth's example teaches us that, although we may not understand what God is doing when He allows suffering in our lives, we can trust His goodness and His faithfulness to come through in God's perfect timing and perfect ways.

Rahab: The Prostitute? Yep. That one. Rahab' story shows us that wisdom can show up in the most unlikely places by the most unlikely among us. We should never limit God's ability to transform a life. Rahab's life affirms the biblical principle found in Proverbs 9:10 that says, " 10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." The fear of the Lord is what changed Rahab's life and destiny.

Like Esther, Mary, Deborah, Ruth, and Rahab, you, too, have been given everything you need to do what God has called you to do. The way you look, your IQ level, your gender, etc. is by God's divine design—On Purpose For a Purpose! But, like these women, you, too have also been given a choice. God invites each of us into an extraordinarily adventurous life built on faith in Him, but He never forces it upon any of us. If we want to be people of wisdom, it must begin with a humble recognition that there is a God, and we're not it! As we humble ourselves in reverence for the One who is God, we will be at the very threshold of a life lived out of wisdom. The benefits of a life like this far, far, FAR exceed the costs and sacrifices involved in taking a longer road, a narrower path, and a more difficult journey.

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