David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me this day. And blessed be your discretion and discernment, and blessed be you, who has kept me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself by my own hand.
1 Samuel 25:32-33
Abigail was married to a first-class jerk. King David’s men had been fighting a war for a long time, and when they arrived near Nabal and Abigail’s home, they were hungry. The men asked for something to eat, but Nabal wasn’t gracious. In fact, He didn’t even meet the minimum standard of propriety to provide for strangers. He coldly dismissed the men, who soon reported the rebuke to David.(1 Samuel 25:3-13).
David had shown remarkable restraint when King Saul treated him badly, but restraint went out the window this time! David and his men headed to Nabal’s house with only one thing on their minds: revenge. Abigail, though, heard they were coming and realized the encounter would bring bloodshed that ultimately might harm David’s reputation. She loaded up some donkeys with food and intercepted David before he reached the house. When she gave him the food, she also humbly gave David advice to avoid his killing her husband(1 Samuel 25:24-31).
David grasped Abigail’s wisdom. After David and his men left with the food, God stepped in. Nabal dropped over dead after a banquet. David sent for Abigail, and the two of them were married.
When we’re in a difficult situation or relationship, we may want to resolve the problem ourselves. We need, though, to trust God and act wisely. Abigail didn’t kill her husband, and when David wanted to kill him, she stepped between them. God rewarded her integrity and wisdom, and He’ll reward ours, too. When we want to take things into our own hands, we need to stop, trust God, and know that sooner or later our time is coming.
The solution to a problem I had wrestled with for three solid months came to me when I completely forgot about my needs and became engrossed in finding a way to meet the needs of others.
As I write today, I’m at home after spending almost two days in the ER with Sherry (Monday and Wednesday). After extensive tests, and over a week of being sick, she tested positive for Covid. Needless to say, we weren’t happy with that diagnosis, but at the same time thankful that we finally knew what we were battling. The range of possible causes was pretty extreme. I must confess that to some degree we’re both a little frustrated after working diligently for almost three years to minimize exposure and to take the necessary precautions, only to discover that nothing we did prevented the situation. What I’m learning again is that we have to trust God in every situation and we also have to consider the needs of others. When the ER doctor told us that both of us had to quarantine for a minimum of five days, I immediately began to think about how much I was going to miss being with the church this weekend. I know my story is only one of many but I want to share with you all some things that God has made clear to me.
First of all, in spite of the frustration of being in this place after doing everything possible to not be here, I’m thankful that it’s not as bad as it could be. During our five hours at ER yesterday there were four other cases of Covid positive and three of the four were admitted. So we’re thankful that Sherry is past the worst of it and moving toward recovery.
Second of all, it has given us an opportunity to show the peace of God and how that our trust in God makes a difference. Both days at ER I had to opportunity to help others, whether something as simple as holding a door for a person in a wheelchair to expressing appreciation to the medical staff. The response was pretty awesome and people who were under a lot of stress and the medical team working with sick and often unappreciative patients were given a lift. It affected the atmosphere in the room.
As we read the story of Nabal and Abigail, we find two people who approached life and situations totally different. Nabal chose the way of ungraciousness. To provide food as was the cultural norm really wouldn’t have cause him to suffer lack. It’s apparent that he had plenty to share, but he saw David’s men as pests and interrupters rather than an opportunity God had given him to be gracious. We, too, can allow our frustrations with some situation- which most of the time is beyond our control anyway- to make us act like jerks or we can ask God how we can use it or better yet, how He can work through us to be a blessing to those around us. Nabal’s view of life was apparently that if something didn’t benefit him personally, he wasn’t going to do it. What he didn’t realize was that he had created a worse situation for himself, and we, too, will find that when we respond with a negative attitude things will always get worse instead of better. Attitude does matter, hence, the Bible teaches us to live a life of gratitude. Abigail, approached the situation totally differently. She saw it as an opportunity to bless others and at the same time protect her household, including her bad-mannered husband. Even though she disagreed with his conduct, her concern for him moved her to act to spare his life. The Bible says that one might die for a good person but who would give up their lives for a jerk?
For better than two years now we all have faced decisions about health and safety. I think none of us have found that an easy thing for Covid has affected everything around us. How we approached the situation and what factors we considered has by and large influenced the outcome. I confess it’s been easy to become frustrated when my plans keep getting interrupted. It’s easy to let our longing for some normalcy to push us to make decisions. It’s hard not to allow our frustrations to seek a scape-goat to blame. Abigail could have spent her time being angry with both Nabal and David for escalating a situation. Instead, she chose to seek a way to address the situation that benefited both parties. That’s what we must strive for. If you look, if you seek, God will give you opportunity to be a blessing and provide a blessing for everyone involved in the situation. If you choose that path, you can be assured that integrity and wisdom will bring reward.
Dr. John Thompson