I’m giving you three chapters to read today but focusing on the story of David, Abigail, and Nabal. It’s another interesting character study. It starts like this:
This man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was sensible and beautiful, … 1 Samuel 25:3
The word “Nabal” means “fool,” but his wife was sensible. The writer gives us a clue where this story is headed in the opening words.
A little historical context: sheep shearing was party time. It was when all the men gathered to sheer hundreds of sheep …and party hard. There was plenty of food and drink. Maybe a bit like hunting season is for some men. David knew there would be excess food so he sent some of his men to request food from Nabal since David had looked after his shepherds in the wilderness.
This story shows us that David was not always a picture of virtue. When Nabal rebuffed his request, David was indignant and vindictive, willing to kill hundreds of men simply to defend his honor.
Isn’t it interesting how easily our pride can get in the way? When people invalidate us, our true character is revealed. People get under our skin and the worst in us rises to the surface. A little kindness and generosity would have made this a much better story. That’s true in your life as well!
Thankfully David listened to the wisdom of Abigail. We are not all so wise; we dig in our heels and won’t listen to reason: becoming twice the fool.
Abigail’s argument was that God fights for David, so why would he want to take out Nabal on his own accord? It would only hurt him in the long run. Sure enough, when David relented, God did take Nabal out, and David’s reputation was spared.
This is a great lesson to not retaliate when you are offended. Stay above the fray and let God fight your battles for you. You don’t have to always be the “winner.” If you truly get your value from God and not people, then what does it matter what others think of you? Walk away.
It also shows me the importance of having someone in my life to speak wisdom to me when I’m bent out of shape. Thankfully I have a few of these people. Do you? Whom do you talk to when your emotions are getting the best of you?
Chapter 26 relates another story, similar to chapter 24, where David spares Saul’s life.
Chapter 27 tells of how David returns to Gath (a Philistine city) and asks the king to hide from Saul in one of his cities. The writer calmly relates the genocide that took place in the towns that David raided.
It’s amazing how a spiritual man can be so blind to something so awful, but that’s the power of culture and the nature of sin. We tend to only see and hear from God what we want to see and hear. It’s worth taking a look in the mirror: do you worship God while plugging your ears to what he has to say to you?
Prayer; Father, David’s story shows me my dark side. I can easily be led astray. I can easily follow my passions and not your Spirit, committing great sin and thinking I am only showing “righteous anger.” Please send “Abigails” into my life to speak truth and wisdom to me, and might I have the good sense to listen to them. Amen.