“David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.” 1 Samuel 25:32
A hard day at work when we barely finish the long list of “to do’s” and burnout seems a breath away. A mother caring for her young, picking up endless piles of Legos, baby dolls, blocks and books; cleaning faces; calming tempers; scrubbing walls that were used as coloring books. A grieving individual mourning the loss of a loved one, yet having little time to process through the pain. A single mother or father trying to juggle making ends meet, as well as caring for their children without the help of a spouse. A college student flooded with exams and projects, with no room for error in their perfectionist grade book. Life can certainly throw some hard days. And then that one other thing happens that threatens to send us over the edge….
When reading through 1 Samuel 25, I was reminded of what David was going through. David, a man who had started in a field and was on his way to being king. David, a man after God’s own heart, but was most certainly not perfect. A man who knew the praise, as well as the criticism of others. At this point in his life, he was grieving the loss of Samuel (1 Samuel 25:1).
Samuel, a great man of God. Samuel, a mentor, spiritual leader and confidant. Though wanting to take time to mourn this loss, he couldn’t. David was running for his life. Saul, the very jealous king, was out to take his life. Jealousy does that, you know. It never stays content at just wanting what someone else has. It moves to being bitter towards them, finding as much fault as you can and then hating them. Yep. It’s ugly and is very much alive and well. This is where David was…running from the most serious results of longstanding jealousy and hate.
He and his men were hiding in a desert area. Life most certainly felt hard. David, a man full of integrity, came to a field full of sheep (the owner of this land was extremely wealthy). He not only had a heart to help people, but he also knew the best way to enter any situation was with peace. Bring peace wherever you go, wherever your feet hit the ground. Offer it.
David sees the sheep and shepherds are unprotected, so he offers a wall around them. Back in these ancient days, hospitality was something that could be highly expected. It’s what you did. David would ask Nabel, the owner of the land, for a meal but David wanted to give him something as way to thank him. Protecting the flock was high risk. It invited confrontation and was a threat to their own lives. To offer this as a token of kindness in return for a simple meal seemed to be beyond generous. However, Nabel was mean and extremely unfriendly (1 Samuel 25:3), denying any sort of kindness to David and his men. In fact, he hurled insulting and disrespectful comments at them. Yeah, let me tell you, this doesn’t sit well with David. David led and loved well! This was his “tribe.” You offend and try to disgrace them, you’ve disgraced him! We mama’s can relate to this kind of mama bear mentality! His temper flared! He had been through a lot. I envision it all rolling around in his head in the moment of this current crisis. My friend and mentor is dead, the king is after us to kill me and now….I just want a stinking meal for my men and THIS!!!!! Yeah, —>this was the thing to send him over the edge!!<—— He is ready to take action and take action fast (1 Samuel 25:21-22).
“David said to them- “It’s been useless- all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. May God deal with (me) David every so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him.” 1 Samuel 25:21-22
It’s that moment when our emotions want to trump our faithfulness to God and His Word! Our desire for vengeance trumps our vigilance to—> step back in self control and meet with our Maker.<—-
Nabel’s servants saw the whole thing go down. They had received David’s kindness in the fields! They had experienced his generosity. They also knew that Nabel’s wife, Abigail, was extremely intelligent and would not shy away from getting involved!
*** For God has risen up some amazing female leaders and he wants us to see them right here in the pages of Scripture!***
One particular servant approaches her and tells her everything (1 Samuel 25:14-17). She immediately takes action; approaches David seeking to make peace to a situation that is highly inflamed. Sister, has some courage!!! Talk about fearless!!! She asks David to forgive her husband, acknowledging that he is full of folly. She then reminds him of his own personal character and the reputation he has as one who fights the Lord’s battles. Fighting these battles is not only standing firm in the ways of God but also allowing our lives to serve and help that which breaks the heart of God. Fighting the battles includes fighting our own personal battle by surrendering to God and dealing with conflict both carefully and patiently.
“The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. EVEN THOUGH, someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of living by the Lord your God but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord EVERY GOOD THING he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord WILL NOT have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself.” 1 Samuel 25:28-31
Abigail reminds him that even though his circumstances are hard and he is feeling weary of it all, to pause and retreat before reacting! She is urging him to not lose his witness over this! To not make a bad decision that is going to set him back, hurt his testimony as an ambassador of God and cause temporary relief but longstanding regret. Don’t do it!
We all have an “even though” in our lives. Something that we feel deserves our human reaction but God is calling us to pause instead of pounce! Wonder what that is for you? My encouragement for us is to take 10 and remember that God has a divine plan for each one of us. He is not only molding us more and more into the character of Christ but He has a vision of where He is taking us. Don’t let some person or circumstance push us to a place where we do or say something that we regret. A place that interferes with where God is wanting to take us as well as interfere with how fast we get there.
I want to be in His will. I want to stay focused on the mission He has given me. I want to reach whatever He has for me to reach and learn whatever He has for me to learn. I want to live life with less regrets and more reminders of His Presence and His power that enables me to be obedient. I want to recognize the enemy and how he tempts me to do what may feel good at the time but leaves my conscience in a wreck! It’s just not worth it!
We all need to strive to be more like this aspect of Abigail and we need to thank God for all the Abigails in our lives. The people who remind us that whatever it is, it is not worth losing our witness over. Whatever it is, it is not worth holding you back from where God is wanting to take you! Does this mean we let someone walk all over us. NO!! It just means we give God time to move. We wait on Him to speak as well as for Him to calm us down. His ways will soothe our conscience, direct our steps, mold our character and carry us to the next place of leadership and growth.
In His Love and Grace,