Open your bibles with me to 1 Samuel Chapter 25 and read the entire chapter.
Cliff notes: Samuel dies in verse 1. Now Saul was king, but Samuel had been the nation’s spiritual leader. Samuel had obeyed God as a young boy and as an adult. With Samuel dead, Israel would be without spiritual leadership until David became king. Well, you know the old devil – I’m sure he fought as hard as he could to keep that from happening – and he almost got David, but God sent a woman named Abigail to intercede before he made a huge mistake. “Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and appearance.; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings.” – Verse 2-3. In other words, smart, sweet, beautiful Abigail was married to a rich, nasty man. David’s shepherds had been kind to Nabal’s men who were out in the field with them. David caught wind that Nabal was in town he sent 10 young men in his name to request that Nabal allow them to eat with them on feast day. I mean, after all, part of Nabal’s prosperity was due to David and his men watching out for Nabal’s workforce. “Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel.” – vs. 7. Nabal responded to the request by saying, “Who is David, and who is the sone of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. Shall I then take MY bread and MY water and MY meat that I have killed for MY shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?” – Vs .10-11 When the servants went back and told David that Nabal refused to feed them or show them hospitality David was angry. He took 400 of the 600 men and told them to get their swords, he got his, and in his anger, he was going to go kill Nabal and his entire household. (BUT GOD)- One of the young men who worked for Nabal went to Abigail, Nabal’s wife, and told her how good David’s men had been to them. How they were a wall of protection both day and night and treated them well. He then asked Abigail to consider what she could do because her husband was “Such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him.” vs. 17 and that David was headed that way to kill them all. The bible says in vs. 18 “Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes f figs, and loaded them on donkeys. And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.” When Abigail comes over the hill on a donkey she hears David – still angry – saying he had protected those men in vain as their master was going to repay good for evil. He then threatened to kill all the males by morning light. (He was still infuriated and ready to take matters into his own hands.) Abigail sees David and the bible says she dismounted “Quickly” from the donkey and fell on her face before David. Verses 23-31 are Abigail apologizing profusely to David for her husband being such a jerk, offered David and his servant’s food, and reminded him that he was set to one day be ruler of Israel. Did he really want to upset God by shedding blood without cause or avenging himself? (The bible does say “vengeance is mine saith the Lord”). Abigail was reminding David to “Let God handle Nabal, don’t let your anger make you lose sight of your future and do something you will regret.” How did David handle that? In verse 32 – 33 he says “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand. For indeed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!” Then David tells her to go in peace, that he respected her. When Abigail gets home, she finds Nabal is drunk so she decides to stay quiet until the next morning when he will remember what she tells him. In the morning it says she told him what she had done and in vs. 38 we read: “his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. Then it happened, after about ten days, that the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.” David heard of Nabal’s death and thanked God for avenging him and keeping them from evil. He also sent servants to propose to Abigail and she became his wife.
Lessons from today’s scripture:
- Nabal rudely refused David’s request to feed his 600 men. It may be a bit easy to sympathize with Nabal at that request, but that is because customs are different today. First, simple hospitality demanded that travelers – any number of them – be fed. Nabal was very rich and could have easily afforded to do so. Second, David wasn’t asking for a handout. He and his men had been protecting Nabal’s workforce, and part of Nabal’s prosperity was due to David’s vigilance. We should be generous with those who protect us and help us prosper, even if we are not obligated to do so by custom or by law. I think of giving our best at our place of employment. The ones who are putting food on our tables. I had an employee bring me something they saw on social media – where another employee was bashing whom we work for. She said to me, “This isn’t right. No matter how upset you get, you should show respect. This is biting the hand that feeds you.” I watched as COVID hit two years ago and the layoffs started. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to keep their jobs when the reality and possibility of the alternative started to sink in. Two years later, things get back to normal, and all of a sudden everyone starts complaining once again. Oh, how soon we forget!
- David was in no mood to listen when he set out for Nabal’s property. Nevertheless, he stopped to hear what Abigail had to say. If he had ignored her, he would have been guilty of taking vengeance into his own hands. No matter how right we think we are, we must always be careful to stop and listen to others. The extra time and effort can save us pain and trouble in the long run. Have you ever been so angry that when someone tried to “talk sense into you” that you just ignored them and kept charging ahead – right into regret and destruction after you said something hurtful that you couldn’t take back, got in trouble with the law, etc.” It’s always best to stop, count to 10, and listen to a voice of reason.
- Divine Intervention: I believe the devil was trying to derail David with his anger, and God sent Abigail to intercede. I am a firm believer God will put people in our paths to be his hands and feet, but we have to recognize it – just like David did. And sometimes, he’s calling us to be the one to move on His behalf.
- Abigail could’ve joined Nabal’s bandwagon with “Yeah, who does he think he is wanting us to feed 600 of his men!?!” That would have ended bad for all of them. They most likely would have all died a physical death. In that same manner, you have to watch who you have in your life – a negative influence could lead you to a spiritual death. We need people who will be honest, in love, and speak reason and try to promote peace and remind us to consider what Jesus would do – instead of jumping on our band wagon when we act irrationally.
- In spite of Nabal’s shortcomings, his household did what they could to keep him out of trouble. This loyalty was like inspired by Abigails example. You have the opportunity to inspire others around you to be kinder, patient, loving.
- Do you, like Abigail, look beyond the present crisis to the big picture? Do you use your skills to promote peace? Are you loyal without being blind? What challenges or responsibility do you face today that needs you to be a person under God’s control?
- Because Nabal was drunk, Abigail waited until morning to tell him what she had done Abigail knew that Nabal, in his drunken state, may have not understood her or may have reacted foolishly. When discussing difficult matters with people, especially family members, timing is everything. Ask God for wisdom to know the best time for confrontation and for bringing up touchy subjects. Even if it’s not confrontational, we need to be aware of the “timing”. Back before cell phones, my home phone rarely rang (I’m not much for talking on the phone). But my boys used to wait, until I got on the phone, to start tapping my shoulder to ask me a question. (They likely outsmarted me and knew I’d get so frustrated I’d just say “yes” to whatever they were asking so I could get back to the conversation on the other end.) I have learned my husband is not a morning person – he is slow to wake – while I on the other hand jump out of bed bright eyed and bushy tailed with racing thoughts before I hit the floor. I get up and leave before him, and I have learned not to tell him anything important while I head out the door and he’s still there half awake, because he won’t remember it.
- One of the biggest lessons we learn (Oh how I love this one!) We do not need a prestigious title to play a significant role!
Happy Wednesday Friends! May you be blessed as you head into your day!
**Some notes taken from the Life Application study bible – NKJV