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Abigail: Beautiful and Intelligent, Courageous and Wise
The Old Testament is full of colorful stories of intrigue. The accounts of the men and women come alive in the ancient texts. We can learn from their failures as well as their victories. Even though our lives today are vastly different, the principles that they lived and died by still apply.
In I Samuel 25 we can read about a rich man named Nabal and how his wife, Abigail saved him from David and his soldiers before his became the King of Israel. Nabal’s prid and arrogance caused him a lot of problems. Let’s take a look at his life and see how wisdom and patience prevailed and saved the day.
Nabel was very wealthy with a beautiful and intelligent wife. He was the picture of success in the eyes of the world. Even though he had everything going for him, he was obviously an unhappy person. He is described as being surly, mean, wicked, and unreasonable. Instead of being grateful for his material wealth, he was greedy and selfish.
Then of course there is an issue of pride. Because of his pride, he refused help and hospitality to David and his soldiers who were camping near his land. “Who is this David?” Nabel asked arrogantly. Why should he, a wealthy man, help those men “coming from who knows where?”
Pride is a dangerous trap that any of us can easily fall into. We need to remember that God has a plan for everyone, even those who seem… well… beneath us. Nabal felt that David and his men were beneath him. He didn’t realize that this wandering soldier would someday be king as well as an ancestor to the Messiah. Nabal didn’t consider that God may have had a plan for David’s life. Nabal was so caught up in himself that he didn’t even care.
David was extremely angry by Nabel’s actions. He had refused hospitality. That was a very rude thing to do in that day and age. The custom was that all travelers, no matter how many, were to be fed.
Nabal was a wealthy man and he would have had no trouble feeding David’s men. Yet he refused anyway. However, this wasn’t the worst part of his offense. David’s men had protected Nabal and his workers. Feeding them should have been done out of gratitude! So, not only did Nabal break the protocol of polite behavior, he turned his back on the men who had once helped him.
In his anger, David set out to seek revenge. He was going to kill Nabal and every male in his company. Nabal had wronged him and he was going to get even.
God had another plan though. He sent Abigail in David’s path to convince him to restrain himself. She was the cool voice of reason. When Nabal’s servants realized they had a crisis on their hands, they went to the one they knew could fix it: Nabal’s wife, Abigail. She is described in this chapter as intelligent and beautiful, and the servants obviously understood the intelligence part.
Their confidence in their mistress was not misplaced. Abigail knew the situation was dire and she acted quickly. “She lost no time”. She took matters into her own hands and bravely went out to the solders and approached David in humility offering him the food and hospitality that her husband had refused.
Because of Abigail’s plea, David did not carry out his plan of revenge. Her courage didn’t just save her household; she saved David from committing murder. You see, even though David was justified in his anger, his vengeance would have been wrong. David allowed God to intercede by stopping and listening to Abigail.
While Abigail acted quickly when saving her husband and his household from attack, she also understood the value of patience. Abigail waited to tell her husband what had happened until the time was right. He didn’t know anything about David’s quest for revenge or her actions to stop it. She wasn’t keeping anything from him; she just waited until the right moment.
Abigail knew that the right moment was not during the banquet her drunken husband was holding. Had she told him then, he probably would have laughed it off, or made some belligerent declaration against David. His pride would not have allowed his guests to see that his wife had gone to battle for him. Instead, Abigail wisely waited until the next morning when her husband was sober to break the news.
Of course if you read the story of Abigail, you’ll learn that the news of the crisis caused Nabel’s heart to fail him and he died ten days later. At the end of this story, David is so grateful to Abigail that he sends for her and she becomes his wife.
What can we learn from this story? Our lives are so different today. We really don’t have to worry about soldiers coming in and killing our family and servants due to our lack of hospitality. What we can learn from Nabel that pride can get us into a great deal of trouble. From Abigail, we can learn the wisdom of knowing when to act and when to wait.
Do you allow your pride to get in your way and cause you trouble? Can you relate to Nabel and his problems? Take some time to read 1 Samuel 25 where this story is found. Let’s be more like Abigail who knew the power of humility and the wisdom of patience.