ABIGAILíS INTERVENTION

 

Even though we are no longer under the OT laws, we can learn a lot from the OT that will serve us well today as Paul said,

 

Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

 

Today we are going to learn some valuable lessons from a woman named Abigail, her husband, and from David in 1 Samuel 25. Before we jump into our text I want to give you a little bit of background. David and his 600 men had been running away from Saul because David refused to attack him. While they were wandering in the wilderness they came across some of Nabalís shepherds and they treated them well and even protected them and their flocks.

 

With this in mind let begin reading in:

 

1 Samuel 25:2 Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.3 The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. And he was of the house of Caleb.4 When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 5 David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, "Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name.6 "And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: 'Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have!7 'Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel.8 'Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.' "9 So when David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David, and waited.

 

The first thing I want to point out about this rich man and his wife is the meanings of their names. Nabal means obstinate fool, and Abigail means the joy of her father. As we will find out, the meaning of the names go well with their character. David wants Nabal to give his men some food for a feast because he felt like he should be rewarded for protecting his shepherds and his flocks. Notice Nabalís response.

 

1 Samuel 25:10 Then Nabal answered David's servants, and said, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master.11 "Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?"12 So David's young men turned on their heels and went back; and they came and told him all these words.

 

This was a great insult to David, and Nabal acted like he didnít know who David was, but as we will see later his wife knew who David was, which most likely means that Nabal knew who David was as well. Notice Davidís response:

 

1 Samuel 25:13 Then David said to his men, "Every man gird on his sword." So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword. And about four hundred men went with David, and two hundred stayed with the supplies.14 Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, "Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he reviled them.15 "But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields.16 "They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep.17 "Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him."

 

David was so offended by Nabalís response that he was going to kill Nabal and the men in his household. Davidís anger was driving him to do something that he would regret because he would be killing people over a rude statement and a denial of some food, which would have been a sin.

 

If we allow our anger to control us, it will cause us to sin as well because we will do things and say things that we should not when we are angry. As,

 

Proverbs 14:17 ††A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,

 

I would imagine most in this room have fell short in this area, and some of us may struggle with our anger. While there is nothing wrong with getting angry from time to time, the problem comes from how we deal with our anger. How many times have you broken something because it made you mad? How many times have you spiraled out of control and mowed every down in your path with your hurtful loud words?

 

We need to look at out lives and pay attention to how we deal with anger because the last thing any of us should want is to allow our anger to cause us to sin. If you have serious anger problems, you may need to go to an anger management class and learn some helpful techniques to deal with your anger in more constructive way. While classes like these can be helpful, the Bible gives us a great way to deal with anger in one verse.

 

James 1:19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

 

If we donít take time to listen carefully to what people are saying, we can jump to conclusions and get angry for no reason. First, we need to take everything in and even after we understand what is being said, we must not react right away. As James said be slow to speak. While we can say some wonderful things, we can also say things we will regret that we cannot take back. So, instead of speaking out of anger, give yourself time to calm time and make yourself wait until you know you can speak in a calm manner. There is nothing wrong with you expressing your dislike toward something, but if you yell it out with no control, you will not be effective. Yes, you may make someone cry or shutter in fear, but you have done more damage than good, and sometimes this can lead you to sin.

 

As Christians, we must learn to recognize when we are angry and take time to cool of so we will be slow to wrath because the more time we have to think about the situation, the more effectively we can deal with it. Many times after we think about what has made us angry, we begin to see that what was said or done wasnít that big of deal after all. At some point in Davidís life, he understood this principle because he wrote:

 

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret -- it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.

 

At the moment, David was allowing his anger to drive him to sin, but God was looking out for him, and I believe that we can see the providence of God at work here so that David could choose a different path. God does this for us to day as we can see in:

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

 

I believe that God used this young man that went to Abigail to make it possible for David to have a way of escape from his sin. We can learn from this example and realize that we always have a choice. We can either choose to allow our anger to cause us to sin or we can choose an escape route and not allow our anger to get out of control.

 

When the young man speaks to Abigail, he confirms that David and his men protected them, and he doesnít speak very highly of his master because he calls him scoundrel that will not listen to anyone. Fortunately, Abigail is a wise woman who is willing to listen and to jump into action as read in:

 

1 Samuel 25:18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys.19 And she said to her servants, "Go on before me; see, I am coming after you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal.20 So it was, as she rode on the donkey, that she went down under cover of the hill; and there were David and his men, coming down toward her, and she met them.21 Now David had said, "Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good.22 "May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light."23 Now when Abigail saw David, she hastened to dismount from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground.24 So she fell at his feet and said: "On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant.25 "Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.

 

Here is where we see Abigailís intervention. She was doing her best to try to prevent David from making a big mistake of shedding the blood of these men. She brought food and drink and showed great humility by bowing down to David as she began to reason with him. She was willing take the blame for her husband even though it was not her fault because she did not want their household to suffer by the hands of David. She was willing to put herself in harms way for the good of her household.

 

She also points out that Nabal was like his name, he was full of folly or we could say full of foolishness. She wanted David to know that her husband is not worth messing with because he is just a foolish man. Now that she has Davidís attention notice what else she says.

 

1 Samuel 25:26 "Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, since the LORD has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal.27 "And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.28 "Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the LORD, and evil is not found in you throughout your days.29 "Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling.30 "And it shall come to pass, when the LORD has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel,31 "that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant."

 

Abigail tells David that her people are not his enemy and she asked for his forgiveness. She points out how the Lord is on David side and how he has been fighting the enemy for God. She obviously knew about David and how he killed Goliath because she makes the statement of how God will take care of his enemies by slinging them out from a pocket of a sling. Finally, she tells him if he does kill her people that he will be guilty of killing innocent people without cause.

 

I believe that God was providing a way of escape for David, so that he would not sin. Abigailís intervention opened the eyes of David and forced him to examine his actions he was about to take.

 

We need to follow this example today. If we see our brother or sister in Christ get angry and they have the intention of releasing their wrath on someone, we should intervene and help them to see what they are planning to do is wrong. Or if you are the cause of their anger, you need to act quickly and try to resolve the issue. As Jesus said in:

 

Matthew 5:23 "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,24 "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

 

It might be the case that we are right about something and we could argue about it till we are blue in the face, but sometimes we might need to be like Abigail and just humble ourselves before someone and take the blame and tell them that we are sorry. Even though we may have been in the right, sometimes this is this best course of action because some things are simply not worth the headache or angry they will cause. Notice Davidís response:

 

1 Samuel 25:32 Then David said to Abigail: "Blessed is the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!33 "And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.34 "For indeed, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hastened and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!"35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, "Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person."

 

David allowed himself to be rebuked by this wise woman. He listened to reason. As Christians we must have this attitude. We need to have open minds and open ears and pay close attention to what people are telling us because they may be giving us advice that will keep us from sinning. Men we should listen to our wives, and wives you should listen to your husbands. I am sure all of us in the room can recall an instance where our spouse kept us from sticking our foot in our mouth because they told us that we should not say what we were going to say to someone. So, let us always strive to be good listeners and not be to prideful to take advice from others that will prevent us from saying or doing things that will cause us to sin.

 

1 Samuel 25:36 Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light.37 So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone.38 Then it came about, after about ten days, that the LORD struck Nabal, and he died.39 So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the LORD has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head." And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife.40 When the servants of David had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying, "David sent us to you, to ask you to become his wife."41 Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, "Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord."42 So Abigail rose in haste and rode on a donkey, attended by five of her maidens; and she followed the messengers of David, and became his wife.43 David also took Ahinoam (a-hin-oh-am) of Jezreel, and so both of them were his wives.44 But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Palti (pal-tigh) the son of Laish (lay-ish) , who was from Gallim. (gal-eem)

 

Thanks to Abigailís intervention and Davidís willingness to listen and to examine his actions, he did not allow his anger to cause him to sin, and in the end, we can see that Nabal paid for his foolishness because once he heard what his wife had prevented, his heart died in him and became like a stone. He had 10 days to think about how foolish had been, but at the end of those 10 days the Lord struck him dead. After Nabalís death, David asked Abigail to be his wife and she agreed. One more time, I want us to read what David wrote in,

 

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret -- it only causes harm.9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.

 

I do not know for sure if this Psalm was written with Nabal in mind, but these verses certainly apply to this event and so does the entire Psalm.

 

I hope this lesson has been helpful and has shown you how important it is for us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to wrath, and how we should keep an eye out for the opportunity to intervene in peoplesí lives to keep them from committing a sin they would later regret. Finally, I hope that we never become too angry or prideful to allow someone to intervene in our lives, so that we donít sin.