A Patient Peacemaker
(1 Samuel 25:1 – 28:2; 29:1-1; 30:1-31)
(1 Chronicles 12:19-22)
David Meeting Abigail
By Peter Paul Rubens
Today’s Bible readings cover plenty of ground, including battles with enemies, another close encounter with King Saul, raids of neighboring territories, the kidnapping and rescue of David’s wife and other women, the establishment of rules for plunder and more. The Lord may speak to individual readers on different points, as He usually does.
However, we will focus here on one particular account, which seems tremendously telling.
Money sure cannot buy class. Undoubtedly, we have all seen evidence of this obvious truth.
The Calebite Nabal was a wealthy landowner in the Judean wilderness area of Maon. (Today, Ma’on is located on the southern West Bank of Israel.) This tyrannical terror, with 1,000 goats and 3,000 sheep (see 1 Samuel 25:1-3), had plenty of servants and a busy party life. But Nabal also possessed a violent temper, or perhaps it possessed him.
One can only wonder what life must have been like for Nabal’s beautiful and intelligent wife, Abigail. How many women endure daily life with prideful, poison, raging husbands? Certainly, the Lord sees. How His heart must break to see His beloved daughters’ homes and hearts torn so violently.
David’s Respectful Request
David and his men had lived among Nabal’s shepherds and actually helped to guard the flocks from harm. During the sheep-shearing time, which was traditionally an occasion for feasting and festivities, David sent a band of his men to greet Nabal and ask for his hospitality. Nabal rudely refused., so David planned to attack his household.
One of Nabal’s servants confided in Abigail, informing her of the intended onslaught. Isn’t it interesting that Abigail, the lady of the house, had a respectful and trusting rapport with the staff? What sort of relationship must her prideful and offensive husband have had with them?
Wisely, Abigail devised a plan to make peace. She gathered generous provisions and set out personally to meet David and his men. Humbly, she offered hospitality to them, and David turned back from attacking Nabal’s household. Abigail’s peacemaking prevented extensive bloodshed.
The Lord’s Answer
For how many years must Abigail have pleaded with the Lord to deliver her from the anguish of living with an angry and abusive husband? How many sleepless nights did she spend, clinging to the heart of God for strength, affirmation and comfort?
Returning home from her meeting with David, Abigail found Nabal hosting another banquet. She held her peace, while he partied and put on his prideful show. How ashamed she must have felt to see her husband displaying such dishonor, but how accustomed she must have been to such misconduct.
The next morning, while Nabal was probably somewhat subdued with an inevitable hangover, Abigail recounted what had happened and how the impending attack had been averted. Nabal was shocked. His heart failed, and he soon died.
In the end, Abigail married David and became royalty among God’s people.
What a Redeemer is our great God. How He longs to recreate our lives, bringing peace from poison and glory from grief.
Will you pray with me?
Although nothing surprises You,
You are filled with merciful surprises
For Your children.
May we pray fervently
For Your answer
In our distress.
Silence the accusers,
Stop the abusers,
And reveal Your glory
In our own homes.
We look to You
For our daily deliverance.