In my last post I introduced the subject of wisdom. Wisdom is one of those traits that can be used for good or evil. Our goal is to use wisdom to benefit ourselves, others, and even the organization or business we are associated with. We are gleaning our thoughts from 2 Samuel 17 and 18.
Here’s the storyline in a nutshell. Absalom, David’s son, has been living in exile and Joab wants him to be recalled home. However, as the story continues into chapters 17 and 18 more examples of wisdom and the lack of wisdom will illustrate even more how much we need to pray for wisdom. Six kinds of wisdom pop up in the story. Six kinds of wisdom you can and should pray for. And then a seventh which encompasses all six.
1. So Joab comes up with a plan. To get from here to there you will need planning wisdom.
Joab planned well in the sense that he was successful in getting Absalom recalled. Yes, you may read the story and would rather call it a scheme, and you would be right. However, I simply want to point out that his planning ultimately worked.
In chapter 17 Ahithophel also comes up with an effective plan.
Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight. 2 I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, 3 and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only one man’s life that you seek. Then you will be at peace with all the people.”4 This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel (verses 1-4; NLT).
2. The plan was acknowledged to credible. However, as good as the plan was it lacked something, which we shortly see. And it was ignored because of what it lacked. So keep in mind that you may have the right plan, but it never gets executed because planning wisdom alone is not enough. Ultimately, you have to sell your plan.How was Joab going to convince the king to recall his son? He needed to make an emotional appeal. And who better than a wise woman who feigned to have her own family issues? So in comes the woman who was able to grab David’s attention and persuade him to act. She had persuasive wisdom. Granted, many use this type of wisdom to manipulate crowds or individuals for selfish reasons. In 2 Samuel 15:6 Absalom deceived the people. There is somewhat of an art to be persuasive. You must you the right words, tone, style, and even environment to persuasively move people.
Let’s jump back to chapter 17 and look at Ahitholphel’s plan. Once again, it was a very good plan. However, it lacked persuasive wisdom. Hushai came along and offered another plan. Actually, an inferior plan. But his plan had metaphors and appealed to Absalom’s emotions. Which plan was accepted and adopted? The one that was more persuasive.
So while you may be praying as you plan, don’t forget to pray for the ability to effectively communicate and persuade.
It may make the difference in whether or not it is well received.
In my next post we’ll look at four more types of wisdom.
Being human means you know all about slander and false accusations. Kids do it, teens do it, and even adults do it. And yes, it hurts despite the famous words, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Our three natural responses include:
1. Accuse back.
2. Blow up and loudly protest.
3. Attempt to vindicate ourselves.
For some reason, those just don’t seem to do the job. So what do we do?
The seventh Psalm provides some insight. David, the king of Israel, has been the recipient of slander and false accusations. And it hurt. So what does he do? Let’s break it down into three parts.
1. He turned to God. Growing up we sang a song with the words “take it to the Lord in prayer.” So easy, yet not always our first choice.
Psalm 7:1 (ESV) O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,..
2. He told God how he felt. David knew in his heart that he was not guilty of the accusations. Yes, God already knows, but it will help you immensely and will also reinforce to you the lack of validity in the false accusations. One of the results will be less emotional hurt. That’s what prayer does. It allows God to bear some of your pain.
Psalm 7:3-4 (ESV) O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
4 if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without cause,
3. Finally, David trusted God. There was really nothing he could do, but leave it in God’s hands.
If you will do all three, you’ll feel better. I love the way David finished.
Psalm 7:17 (ESV) I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.