THE BOOK OF 1 SAMUEL
Overcoming a vindictive spirit
1 Samuel 25:2-17 SCC 4/13/15
The death of Samuel 25:1
Samuelís years of being a blessing to all Israel ended at this time. David took his place as Godís major channel of blessing to the nation. Samuelís ministry of providing a transition to the monarchy had therefore ended. People all over Israel mourned Samuelís death. Samuel was the last of the judges.
OUR SENSE OF JUSTICE MAY CAUSE US TO OVERSTEP TO PURSUE IT 1-13
Davidís request of Nabal is a just one 25:2-8
1. Nabal was a descendant of Caleb v 3 who had received Hebron and its environs as his inheritance from Joshua. The contrast between Nabal and Abigail could not be clearer. He was foolish; she was wise. He was evil; she was good. He was repulsive; she was attractive. He was arrogant; she was humble. He was ungodly; she was godly. He was antagonistic; she was peacemaking.
2. Davidís armed followers had been patrolling the wilderness of Paran in Judah where Nabalís shepherds had been tending his flockís v 4. Davidís discipline over his men was such that they refrained from the normal practice of desert raiders and instead protected the farmers and herdsmen of the region. It was only common courtesy that wealthy Nabal would have expressed his appreciation to David by providing some food for Davidís men v 5-7. By referring to himself as Nabalís ďsonĒ v 8 David was placing himself in a subordinate position to Nabal. David had earlier called Saul his ďfatherĒ.
Nabalís foolish response provokes David pursuit of justice 25:9-13
Nabal was a political loyalist who regarded David simply as a rebel v 10. He failed to admit that David had been a blessing to him v 11. These remarks were deliberately chosen to dishonor Davidís family and discredit his actions. David reacted vindictively to Nabalís insulting rebuff v 12-13. His intent was to kill every male in Nabalís household that very night v 22, 34. A servant appeals to Abigail for intervention v 14-15. He testified that God had blessed Nabalís shepherds greatly through David. Davidís soldiers had been a wall of protection for them v 16. A fool is one who does not listen to reasonable thots v 17.
NB: Taniís murder due to honor in blood feud should you need a relevant illustration today.
VINDICTIVE JUSTICE CAN BRING SHAME AND REGRET IF IT IS NOT STOPPED 14-31
Abigail approaches David to prevent his attempt for revenge 25:18-25
FIRST, Abigail prepared to sustain the Lordís anointed and his men with food v 18. Her approach to David was a model of tact and courage. It took immense courage and boldness, as well as great wisdom, for Abigail to take her life in her hands and do what she did. Abigail strategically planned to meet David v 19-20. David expressed his outrage on the way to Nabalís home v 21-22.
SECOND, Abigail took all the blame for her husbandís foolish actions v 23-24. She showed respect to David v 23. She begged David to listen to her v 24. She described her husband as a fool v 25.
Abigail appeals to Davidís conscience not to avenge himself 25:26-31
FIRST, Abigail proceeded to help David view his situation from Godís perspective v 26. She referred to the Lord as the One who was restraining David from shedding innocent blood v 26. She further wished that all who opposed David, as Nabal had done, would be ineffective. She presented her gift of food and asked for Davidís forgiveness, again as the substitute for her husband v 27-28. She believed that God would give David an enduring dynasty because he fought the Lordís battles v 28. She believed God would preserve David alive v 29. Abigail also believed that David would reign as king one day, which she had learned that God had revealed v 30.
SECOND, Abigail anticipated the day Davidís conscience would be clear for not taking vengeance against Nabal, since vengeance belongs to God v 31. Abigail concluded with a request that David would remember her when he attained his throne v 31. Her decisive intervention saved David from discrediting himself in the eyes of all Judah and this particular clan of prominent Calebites from Hebron!
GOD HONORS JUSTICE APPLIED ACCORDING TO HIS STANDARD AND TIMETABLE
Davidís vindictive justice is arrested by Abigailís appeal 25:32-35
David heard the Lordís voice behind Abigailís words. Consequently he blessed the Lord, her discernment, and her v 32-33. God had used Davidís conscience to keep him from killing Saul and now He used Abigailís appeal to keep him from killing Nabal. Thus godly Abigail became a blessing to David v 34. She kept him from sinning v 33, and in return he blessed her further by sparing the males of Nabalís household v 35.
Nabalís response to the news of Abigailís appeal prompts terror 25:36-38
1. When she returned home, Abigail discovered that her foolish husband was drunk from celebrating v 36. He was totally oblivious to his mortal danger. Abigail wisely waited until morning before telling her husband what a close brush he had had with death v 37. By then the wine had gone out of him. The color drains from Nabalís face as he begins to comprehend the magnitude of his folly. He is paralyzed with fear. 2. Nabal further appears to have gone catatonic; when he realized what had happened, the shock immobilized him. Ten days later he died v 38. He had ruthlessly shamed the anointed upcoming king. The writer gave God the credit for terminating his life prematurely. What do we learn about our Godís nature? Sometimes people who fail to respond to the will of God die prematurely. God struck Nabal dead for his pride and opposition to the Lordís anointed.
David appeals to Abigail for marriage 25:39-43
1. Word reaches David that Nabal is dead. David responds with wonder and gratitude v 39. He praises God for pleading his cause and removing the reproach of Nabal. He declares that God has indeed kept him from evil. He sees how much better it is to have left vengeance with God. The Lord removed Nabal, not David. That is the way it is supposed to be, and it is all due to the wisdom of a woman, Abigail.
2. Davidís messengers arrive at the door of Abigailís home. They have a simple message. It is not quite a proposal of marriage, but more like a summons v 40: ďDavid has sent us to you to take you as his wife.Ē This decisive woman does not have to be asked twice. Quickly she bows to the ground, humbly accepting the offer v 41. She does not look upon herself as Davidís queen, but as his maidservant, who will happily wash the feet of his servants. She gets up, and accompanied by five of her maidens, follows Davidís men to his place of hiding, where she becomes his wife v 42.
3. The final verses of this chapter inform us that Abigail is Davidís second wife v 43. He has already taken Ahinoam of Jezreel as his wife. Michal was also his wife, but in the time of his hiding from Saul, the king gave her to Palti, the son of Laish as his wife.
How many times have I taken matters into my own hands when I should have trusted the LORD to work things out? How many times have I turned a situation over to Him only to take it back when He did not ďfixĒ it on my timetable? Abigail took action but she knew the outcome was in the Lordís hands:
1. She was smart. She didnít have to mull over possible scenarios or options. She instantly understood the gravity of the situation and the cultural expectations and potential impact. Time was of the essence. Women today cannot afford to be ignorant of current events and the culture of their ministry setting. It is obvious that Abigail had her finger on the pulse of her home, her servants and the people who depended on her husband and home for their livelihood and well-being.
2. She was resourceful. Abigail set to work pulling together an impressive gift for David and his men. In todayís world, a woman has many resources available. Following Abigailís example, a woman todayówhether in the home or ministry setting should be aware of the resources at her disposal.
3. She was trustworthy. Abigail sought to bring good to a husband so foolish that he was bent on harming himself. She also had a network of support in her home. Trust in marriage and ministry is hard earned and easily broken.
4. She was courageous. She understood that her husbandís life and the lives of every man in her household were at stake. It would have been easy and even natural for fear to overtake Abigail in this setting. It takes courage to face todayís changing culture and the challenges those changes bring. Fear paralyzes. Courage moves forward.
5. She was wise. Abigailís wisdom shines through over and over again. Her decision to wait for the right moment to inform Nabal of her actions demonstrates wisdom and great restraint. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.Ē (James 3:13-18).
6. She was submissive. Abigail knew her husband was a fool. Her confession to David at the start of their interaction is not so much a statement of disrespect about Nabal as it is a statement of the facts as everyone knew them. Her words showed her submission to a higher authorityóGods. The declaration of Nabalís obvious character flaw was not intended to disrespect her husband, but to bring David to his senses. Sometimes we must simply tell it like it is.
7. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman. Very few women in the Bible are specifically described as beautiful; Proverbs 31 reveals the source of Abigailís true beauty, ďCharm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.Ē (Proverbs 31:30).