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Abigail Part 6: Not Your Normal Happy Ending

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Aha! I bet you thought that was it for Abigail! But there’s a little more!

Clearly David saw what a catch she was — brains, beauty, decisive action…the whole package! He proposes, she accepts, and they ride off into the sunset…with his other wives…while still being chased by Saul. So in other words, not your normal riding off into the sunset happy ending. I bet her experiences and wisdom from her last marriage come in handy in joining this new family. Just sayin’.

And life doesn’t become all roses for Abigail. She and another wife are captured by the Amalekites. But David comes to their rescue and then she goes to Hebron with him and has a son, Kileab.

Abigail lived quite a life. As hectic and crazy as I think mine is, I’d rather not trade it for hers. Yet what I would like to take away are all of the amazing character traits she possesses! She was a decisive quick thinker, courageous peacemaker, humble, wise, respected, eloquent, to name just a few. Trust me, I’ve made a much longer list and am in awe of all the qualities she displayed. And I’m sure she wasn’t perfect, no one is except our Lord Jesus Christ. But I’m truly impressed by her faith in God, in a difficult marriage and in the face of crisis. There’s not an area in her life where her faith in her God doesn’t fuel her actions. I believe she is such an amazing woman because of in whom she placed her trust.

There is no way I can be all of those things…on my own. But I believe the Lord is doing a good work in me.

Lord, teach me to put my faith in You in every detail of my life. Show me the areas I need to give to You so that You can shine through me and make me wise in You. Thank you for having a plan for my life, and may I be like Abigail and seek to glorify You in all I say and do, especially when disaster seems imminent. Thank you for loving me despite my flaws, and for never giving up on me. Amen.

(1 Samuel 25)

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Abigail Part 5: The Very Highest Quality

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There’s a quote from The Two Towers that I love. Sam tells Faramir, “You have shown your quality, sir — the very highest.” I believe that’s true of Abigail, too.

After Abigail advised David to ignore Nabal’s foolish behavior because it was in his best interest, how did David respond?

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. ” (1 Sam 25: 32, 33)

What a blessing it is to have a friend who can give wise counsel that keeps us from sinning.

Crisis averted, saving not only her household, (including her lunk of a husband,) but she also kept David from doing something that would taint his life. And receiving such gratitude from the future leader of Israel, Abigail must have been smiling all the way home.

Abigail again shows her worth back at the ranch.

Once home, she goes to talk to Nabal to tell him what she did. She doesn’t hesitate, she knows she must tell him and goes straight to him. (I think I’d want to bask in the praise I’d just receive a little longer before ‘fessing up to Nabal. But that’s me!) But Nabal, in the middle of a celebration, is drunk, so this clearly isn’t the best time to tell him for so many reasons.

The next morning, Abigail sits down with a now sober Nabal and informs him of her actions. And you’ll never guess what happens! “His heart failed him and he became like stone. About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.” (1 Sam 25: 37, 38) Perhaps a heart attack? Maybe a stroke? Whatever happened, he’s gone. The Lord vindicated. The Lord avenged and repaid. God took care of Abigail.

God always takes care of us, but that doesn’t mean life will be easy, nor will the all people in our lives be delightful. Things get tricky and messy because imperfect humans are involved. Abigail is a wonderful example of wisdom in the face of disaster. She was in an unfortunate situation and a difficult marriage. But Abigail wasn’t looking for a way out, she kept looking to God for strength and wisdom.  And she didn’t shrink back from doing what was right in God’s eyes.

Abigail sought to glorify God in all she did. She honored God with her attitude as a humble peacemaker, with her actions in bringing the food for David and his men, in her boldness and wise counsel to the future king of Israel, and in a difficult marriage by first honoring God but also honoring her husband by being honest with him.

In a time of crisis for her household, God’s wisdom shined through Abigail in every single step. There are so many moments in this story I think — I can’t believe she just did that(!) because never once did she take a shortcut or avoid a difficult confrontation.

It makes me wonder: Will I do the same when disaster strikes? Am I seeking to glorify God in every step of my life, even now, without such a crisis?

(1 Samuel 25)

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Abigail Part 4: Watchin’ Out for the Future King

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Welcome!  Back to Abigail.  We left off with her humbling herself and apologizing to David for her husband’s foolishness. And she’s just getting started.

Abigail proceeds to make an incredible appeal to David (you really should go and read it in 1 Samuel 25, she’s awesome.) She advises David to ignore Nabal and his foolishness, to accept the gift of food, and…ready for this?…she advises him not to get his hands dirty.

“When the Lord has done for my master (David) every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel, my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself.” (v30-31) Wow. She’s not only trying to save her household, she’s also looking out for the next king of Israel by reminding him of the promise of God. David, don’t go do something you’ll regret!

When someone wrongs you, remember “The Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.” (Ps 135: 14) Or as in Deut 32:35, “It is mine (the Lord’s) to avenge, I will repay.” Don’t go out looking for revenge, don’t get your hands dirty or have on your conscience “the staggering burden of needless bloodshed” (both figuratively and literally.) Hand the issue completely to the Lord, do what is right in His eyes, and let Him handle the rest.

Abigail could have also suggested David that he just take Nabal out and end his foolishness once and for all. It certainly would have resolved things and made her life easier.  Abigail, in the midst of her trial also realized someone else who would also suffer from the oncoming slaughter, David.  I’m amazed that she seemed to truly be seeking to guide God’s appointed future king away from anything that would taint his future. Of course, pointing out what would be in his own best interest is also a clever way to bring about a peaceful resolution.

Abigail didn’t just look for the easy fix.  It can often be a challenge to find resolution of any kind, but to do so honorably that will bring glory to God is possible when you seek the Lord’s wisdom and trust in his faithfulness.

Proverbs 2: 6-8 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”

I believe that the Lord gave Abigail wisdom–straight from His mouth to her ears.  He gave her success in her peacemaking endeavor because of her righteousness. He was a shield and protected the blameless in her household and the men of David’s camp. And He guarded and protected both her life and that of the Israel’s future king.

Isn’t it neat to see a Bible verse come to life like that? And if it applies to Abigail, then surely, it’s available for us.

(1 Samuel 25)

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Abigail Part 3: A Humble Peacemaker

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Let’s see, where were we?

Abigail sends the breads and food ahead and promises the servants she’s right behind them, “But she did not tell her husband Nabal.” (v 19). Ah, wise Abigail.  Abigail knows her husband well, she also knows that lives are at stake and in this situation, silence is golden. It wasn’t the time to start a fight with her hubby about how foolish his response was, because surely he his mind wouldn’t be changed anyway.

When she arrives at Davids camp, he’s preparing for a fight. Now, pay close attention to how she handles it, how she begins her very eloquent speech.

“She fell at his feet and said: ‘My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.” (1 Sa 25: 24) WHAT?!?!?

Abigail, what are you doing? It’s not your fault! She puts herself in a physical position of humility at his feet and then says, “It’s all my fault! Hear me out.”

She’s becoming a peacemaker. And there’s no better way to become a peacemaker than to begin by humbling yourself.  Jesus, in his sermon on the mount teaches the virtues of becoming meek, or humble, and becoming a peacemaker:

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Mt 5:5) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Mt 5:9)

Being humble goes hand in hand with being a peacemaker. I don’t like admitting when I’m wrong. And I really don’t want to take the blame when I’m not wrong! But I could take a hint from Abigail, a humble heart can help restore balance when there is a disagreement. And learning to apologize can be a timely blessing.

I am not saying that wives should become doormats, always taking the blame!  But being a model of humility and being a peacemaker can be a blessing. Apologies are much more effective when they come from a place of sincerity and humility. (Man, that’s hard to do!) And she wasn’t interested in blame, she was concerned with what was in her household’s best interest.

Moms need to be peacemakers. I constantly feel like I’m refereeing a rowdy game of crazy between my boys. Who took what. Who hit who. Who’s on first. (No wait, that’s something different entirely.) But God didn’t call me to just referee, He called me to be a peacemaker. It’s not just about figuring out what the foul is and on whom, it’s about restoring peace in the house so we can live harmoniously.

Fellow moms, we’ve got a tough job.

God calls us to be peacemakers. Sometimes that means apologizing to our kids (or husbands!) when we make a mistake (because we do make mistakes…sometimes…or is it just me?) Sometimes that means listening to all sides and teaching our children to humble themselves with an apology. Sometimes, instead of insisting on placing blame, (especially when I have no clue because I wasn’t there) it means everyone needs a break to recover in separate corners.

Abigail she was not the person who needed to apologize, but in a world that believes in passing the buck, how refreshing to see Abigail, as humble peacemaker, say the buck stops here.

(1 Samuel 25)

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Abigail Part 2: Woman of Action!

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So glad you’ve joined me! I’m enjoying my morning coffee and I hope you’ve got a cup of your favorite morning drink to savor as we get back to Abigail!

Have you ever been in a sticky situation and it was up to you to diffuse it? That’s where we find Abigail.  Remember the “No Soup For You” episode of Seinfeld , the soup nazi? That’s just what happened. David asked for food and provisions and Nabal responded, “No food for you!” And this response angered David so much that he was preparing to wipe out Nabal’s household!

With a lot riding on her decisions and actions, “Abigail lost no time.” (v 18) She is a woman of decisive action! As soon as she heard the problem, she began to work on a solution.

Right there is a lesson I need to learn. Don’t waste time, don’t bemoan what has happened, just get to work. Ok, so my husband has never done anything so boneheaded as what Nabal did, and I’ve never faced my household’s imminent destruction. But, things happen in life that aren’t all fun and pleasant. Things happen that I wish didn’t happen. And often, my first reaction is to complain, or…as we call it in today’s world…to vent.

Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with venting. I do it. We all do it. However, when we vent constantly, and never actually take action to overcome our situation or lean on Jesus for strength, perhaps we need to remember Abigail, who “lost no time.” Don’t allow venting to be a substitute for taking action. You’ll feel better once you actually start — I am so guilty of this!

David was hungry and asked for something to eat, so she packs up a TON of food…I mean, hundreds of cakes, breads, and fruit things…and sends the food to David. There was no waffling over whether or not she should get involved or if there was someone she could go to for help. She was the help and she acted. There was no quibbling over which cakes and breads she should send, she just sent a lot of them! She made quick decisions and put them into action immediately.

I’m thankful for a wonderful husband who I can partner with in the decision-making. And I’m thankful for our Heavenly Father who guides us in decisions. Though Abigail stands alone in her marriage as the one with wisdom,  God stands with her. Whether or not we are partnered up or not, God stands with us. What a comfort!

I pray that we can be like Abigail, confident in our Lord as we make wise decisions and become women of action! There’s no time to lose, time for more coffee!

(1 Samuel 25)

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Abigail Part 1: Intelligent & Beautiful

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Oh friend, you are in for a treat today! So grab your cup (Mmm, coffee…) and let’s begin our journey with Abigail, an amazing lady!

Abigail’s name means source of delight and boy, was she ever! She is described as “an intelligent and beautiful woman” (1 Sam 25: 3) and I love that intelligence comes before beauty. Her husband however, was quite the opposite of her. Nabal was “surly and mean” (1 Sam 25: 3) or as the King James version states “churlish and evil.” Oh, and his name means fool. Nice.

David (as in the future king of Israel) was in Nabal’s area, and sent some men to request some food and provisions. Now, some quick background for ya. David was moving around a lot, trying to stay ahead of King Saul’s men because Saul wasn’t so happy that David had been appointed to be the next king, so of course, he was out to get him. While on the go, he’d encounter shepherds and flocks of sheep from different households and would offer protection from bandits or wild animals as they roamed the countryside. In return, hospitality suggested providing them with food and water and provisions as needed as a sort of payment.

So, David sends some of his guys to ask Nabal for some food, reminding them it’s a festive time and they took care of the shepherds and Nabal’s possessions. And Nabal, churlish (I love that word!) and mean as ever says, “No! Who do you think you are? Why should I?” Quite the charmer, Nabal.  So the men go back to David and relay the message. And then what do you expect from 2 hot tempered men? Yup, David orders, “Put on your swords!” (1 Sam 25:12) Looks to me what we have is about to be a big ole fight.

Well, one of Nabal’s servants goes straight to our “intelligent and beautiful” Abigail and tells her the whole thing. David, who had been very good to Nabal’s men, asked for food, Nabal insulted David, and now “disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household.” (1 Sam 25: 17)

Why would this servant take such a crisis to Abigail, a mere woman? Aha! Clearly this servant respected her intelligence, quick thinking, wisdom, and confidence to seek her counsel. Had she perhaps diffused other crises started by her churlish husband? Possibly…probably would be my guess. And this servant knew that Abigail was brilliant enough to find a solution.

Yup, Abigail was the brains in this relationship. And we’re just scratching the surface…

(1 Samuel 25)