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Abigail’s Wisdom

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By Roger Kruse

David was a man on the run. After all, King Saul wanted to kill him. Because of his irrational suspicion and jealousy toward David, Saul was out to eliminate his perceived rival. As a result, David and his band of loyal followers moved from place to place, maintaining safety and security away from the King. This went on for years. Maybe you remember the television series called The Fugitive. Dr. Richard Kimble was falsely accused of murdering his wife. As he avoided capture by a federal agent out to arrest him, Kimble, the fugitive, carried out his own search for the real killer, a one-armed man. It was a tense, riveting story with 120 episodes of close calls!

For David, it was hard to carry on a normal life while living as a fugitive. At one point, David and his men moved into the Desert of Maon.  They were in need of food and basic supplies. David sent a request for provisions to a very wealthy man who lived nearby, named Nabal.  After all, Nabal had 1000 goats and 3000 sheep. When David’s messengers met Nabal, they warmly greeted him and pronounced a blessing on him and his family. In fact, David had previously ensured that Nabal’s flocks were protected. However, Nabal was a bad-tempered and surly man. Despite his abundance, he rudely refused David’s request for help. When David was informed of Nabal’s response, he immediately prepared to take action. He and 400 of his men strapped on their swords and headed out with intent to kill Nabal and every male in his extended household. Fortunately, one of Nabal’s servants informed Abigail, his wife, that her husband’s refusal was inviting disaster. Abigail, an intelligent, wise and beautiful woman, quickly mounted her donkey and road off to meet David and his men who were fast approaching. She bowed down before David and pleaded for mercy, acknowledging the foolishness of her cantankerous husband.  Abigail also affirmed David’s call to be Israel’s next king, and that God’s hand of blessing was surely upon him. She also generously provided food and provisions for David and his men. David’s anger was immediately placated, and the needless shedding of blood averted.  Meanwhile, Nabal was feasting and drinking in high spirits. When Abigail told him the next morning of his narrow escape from David’s sword, his heart failed him and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone until his death ten days later. Ironically, Abigail then became David’s wife.

What can we learn from such a story? First, we see the wisdom of including a wife’s perspective when making a decision. Each married couple goes about decision making uniquely.  However, there is huge value in sharing ideas and input in order to reach a wise and balanced decision. Nabal’s refusal of David’s request was foolish and dangerous. How much better if he had included Abigail’s input, whose wisdom was eventually demonstrated. Marriage works best as a partnership. Don’t let pride become your undoing!    

Secondly, we see the danger of letting your anger move you too quickly to action. David was upset with Nabal’s unreasonable response.  He allowed his surge of anger to control his thoughts and took immediate steps to kill Nabal and every male within Nabal’s household.  Fortunately for David, Abigail intervened and pleaded with him to put his sword away. Innocent lives were spared and a tragedy averted.  Even David praised God that good judgment prevailed and he had not avenged his anger. No wonder the Bible teaches us that we should be “slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

The third lesson we take away from this story is the importance of living generously. Nabal’s stinginess became his undoing. Sharing God’s blessings is the preferred and happiest way to live. In fact, Jesus taught that when we give, it will be given back to us in abundance.  God, Himself, is generous, and He loves a cheerful giver. When we sow generously into the lives of others, we will also reap generously. 

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