The Rev. Dan Puckett: The wise build; the foolish tear downPublished 12:09am Thursday, May 5, 2011
Proverbs 14:1, says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” This speaks of women, but the same is true of men also.
Wise and foolish are not words we personally identify with. We think to be wise one has to be older than we are or much smarter than we think we are. We think in similar terms as it relates to the foolish. Acts of foolishness are relegated to the stupid; therefore, we exempt ourselves from that category also.
Somebody said you are what you do, so we may need to examine patterns in our lives to determine whether we are wise or foolish.
There are many biblical patterns to draw from, but one stands out clearly in this regard. That one is in the life of Rebekah who soon would be the bride of Isaac. We find her story in Genesis, chapter 24.
Rebekah was a woman who lived in Bible times in a culture that regarded women as little more than property. Rebekah had a home and family, but that did not elevate her above the simple role of serving. Rebekah lived in the town of Nahor (Genesis 24:10). The custom there was that the women went out in the evening to the local spring to draw water for the household.
On a certain day, Rebekah dutifully went to the spring with her water jar on her shoulder. After she had filled her jar, a stranger stopped her and asked her for a drink. She could have told him to get his own water, but she acted wisely and chose to serve the stranger willingly. She graciously gave him a drink and then offered to water his ten camels also. She did not have to do that, but she chose to serve in a situation where she could not see any benefit to herself.
After she had watered the camels, the stranger gave her some gold jewelry and asked if he could stay at her family’s house for the night. She quickly offered hospitality and ran home to make the preparations.
Rebekah had no idea that the stranger was representing a rich and powerful benefactor who was on a journey to find a wife for his master’s son. The stranger had put a fleece before God so he would know which girl he was to choose. Rebekah’s actions exactly fulfilled every criterion the stranger had.
In Genesis 24:16, we also read that Rebekah “was very beautiful, a virgin.” There is a part of beauty that is natural, that is, something you are born with. But there was another part that was cultivated. Obviously, Rebekah was wise in caring for herself. She was also a virgin which, once again, even in that world required considerable moral resolve and wisdom on her part to keep herself in wholesome circumstances.
The stranger told his story to Rebekah’s father and brother. They agreed to give Rebekah as a wife for Isaac. Rebekah would travel to a distant country and likely never see her family again.
It could have been foolish for her to resist and demand more say in the matter, but when she was eventually asked, in Genesis 24:58, she simply said, “I will go.” She was courageous, adventuresome, and wise to trust her God-given authorities in this matter.
At the end of the journey, Rebekah sees Isaac in the distance. When she found out it was him, she dismounted from her camel and put a veil on her face. That act of humility and gentleness spoke volumes of her spirit.
Rebekah was a wise woman; she built her house well.