Similarly, it’s possible to be on the right side of a debate, but conduct ourselves in a way which undoes any good that might have come from it.
That’s something which Jonathan Edwards highlights in a 1737 sermon on a lesser-known Bible character – the ‘wise woman’ from the city of Abel (2 Samuel 20:19). Although we don’t know her name, she was, to quote the title of Edwards’ sermon, ‘Peaceable and faithful, amid division and strife’.
A time of division
This time of division in Israel had seen the rejection of God’s anointed king, David, in favour of his son Absalom. (This of course pictures the rejection of ‘the true David, the rightful king of the church’). Absalom’s death brought an end to the conflict, but there were still clear tensions between the tribes, and a man called Sheba saw the opportunity to exploit them and lead another rebellion.
Yet amidst the chaos, this wise woman was, in her own words, ‘one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel’. Her great concern was not for herself but for ‘the heritage of the LORD’ (v. 19) and her wise actions led to Sheba losing his head (literally) and the conflict coming to an end.