By Mike Kemper
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Dyer
The lesson of Abigail and David demonstrate character qualities which are important to take to heart and to emulate. Nabal, the rich husband of Abigail, acts in a harsh and insensitive, foolish manner. Abigail is discerning and takes steps to avert further harm and sure death by taking the blame for her husband’s actions. David also demonstrates mercy and grace. From both Abigail and David, we see traits of Jesus, taking upon Himself responsibility for our actions, demonstrating grace and mercy for our forgiveness and salvation.
Samuel’s death must have been hard for David. Samuel was a source of wisdom and support for David, acting with God’s authority to inform King Saul that his kingship would be taken away, anointing David as Saul’s successor.
David and his men, while going about in the desert, came to know shepherds working for Nabal. David sends messengers to Nabal that his men have been protecting his shepherds and sheep, and requests provisions. Nabal doesn’t respond kindly. Instead, he insults David and sends David’s men back empty-handed. Nabal must have known that he and David were distant relatives. Even so, his response is arrogant and insensitive.
David becomes irate. He had acted honorably. His men could have simply taken what they needed. He expected a positive response, but Nabal was unreasonable. David instructs his men to arm themselves to take harsh action.
Nabal would have suffered the extreme consequences for his actions if it had not been for his wife, Abigail. She heard what had transpired and understood that David was likely to retaliate. Quickly she gathers supplies, loads them on donkeys and takes them to David.
Abigail is everything that Nabal is not — polite, submissive, wise, honest. She doesn’t try to cover up for Nabal. She called him a “fool.” She was willing to take full responsibility assuming the blame, which saved Nabal’s life! Wisely, Abigail tells David that taking revenge would be detrimental, that as God prevents him from shedding blood for personal revenge, enemies and fools like Nabal will take notice of his strength and mercy. She asks for forgiveness and takes all the blame.
Abigail’s words stop David in his tracks. He knows she is right and he praises her in front of his men. She had been a blessing sent to him by God, he blesses her, receives the provisions and sends her on her way. David is thankful that he had not done something that he would regret later. David leaves vengeance in God’s hands, which later comes to Nabal. Instead of many being punished for the foolishness of Nabal, many are spared.
We can be the one God uses, to be a peacemaker which can bring about valuable and meaningful results. God desires us to live and act with integrity instead of living with self reliance and arrogance. We can encourage others to do the right thing. God may use us to be His agent to resolve conflict, with truth and humility, keeping a Christ-like perspective position seeking a good outcome.
Today, with so much conflict, peacemakers are in short supply. It may be easier to take the “low road” and avoid confrontation and be silent. But how can we stand still and do nothing when so much is “at stake?” We must show love, forgiveness, wisdom and encouragement to do the right things! Take notice of how Abigail and David handled what could have been a terrible result. Following these examples, seek to be more like Jesus!