Summary: Have you ever found yourself caught in the middle of a really difficult situation? You didn’t ask to be there, but there you are stuck in the middle. How will you handle it? Pray for wisdom! That's what we see in Abigail.
Abigail – Anyone know someone named Abigail or Abby/ie? Guessing that you probably do. That is a name that has remained relatively popular throughout the years – even reaching the 6th most popular baby’s name in the year 2006. Yes, there are quite a few Abigail’s or Abby’s around. But I wonder how many of them and their parents realize that’s the name of a woman in the Bible? And how many of them know the story Abigail that we just heard a few minutes ago? I’m guessing probably not too many. This morning we turn our attention to the story of Abigail in 1 Samuel 25 to see a wonderful example of Godly wisdom. But along the way, there is also something from us to learn from those two men connected to Abigail. This morning, there are three quotations that I would like you to consider that might help you to remember this account. 1) “Who do you think you are?” 2) “I’ll show you!” 3) “Stop! Think! Trust!” Can you connect the quote with the person?
Last week, we focused on one of the greatest leaders of the nation of Israel in Old Testament history, a man by the name of Samuel. The account of Abigail that we heard of this morning was shortly after the prophet Samuel had died. It was around 1000 BC and the first king of Israel, a man by the name Saul, was ruling Israel. Saul’s reign had started off pretty well. He certainly looked the part of a king – tall, dark and handsome. But he soon began to drift away from the Lord, more concerned about what others thought of him than about what the Lord wanted for him. Finally, the Lord told Saul that the kingship would not continue in his family. Saul’s son would NOT become the next king of Israel. Instead, God had selected a shepherd boy named David to become the next king. Well, Saul wasn’t too happy about God’s choice. Saul tried to hunt down and kill David at every opportunity he had even while David continued to serve in Israel’s army, defending and protecting the nation of Israel. Even when threatened by Saul, David trusted that the Lord would deal with Saul at his own time and his own way. David patiently waited for the time when Saul would die and he would become the next king of Israel.
On one of the occasions when David was on the run from Saul, David and about 600 of his soldiers ended up in an area called Carmel, close to the Mediterranean Sea straight west of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. It was there that they met a man by the name of Nabal. Nabal was a very wealth man. How rich? “He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep which he was shearing in Carmel” (1 Samuel 25:2). While he may have had a lot of money, he didn’t have a real good reputation. We’re told that he was, “…surly and mean in his dealings…” (1 Samuel 25:3). The word for “mean” indicates that he was unethical. In other words, Nabal was one of the guys that you dealt with only when you had to, and you better watch your back when you do.
David ran into Nabal’s shepherds while living in Carmel, but made sure that he did not take anything that did not belong to him. In fact, David’s men went beyond what you might expect. Later in this account we hear one of Nabal’s shepherds say about David’s men, “These men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us… Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them” (1 Samuel 25:15,16). David and his men had gotten to know Nabal’s men and so you can understand why David made the request he did. When the time for shearing Nabal’s sheep came, David asked Nabal for some provisions for himself and his soldiers. It was not an unreasonable request at all, especially considering what David had done for Nabal. But Nabal lived up to his reputation and name of “Fool.” Nabal says, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (1 Samuel 25:10,11). In other words Nabal was saying to David, “Who do you think you are?” Talk about foolish! Arrogant! Greedy!
How does David respond? We’re told, “David said to his men, ‘Each of you strap on your sword… He has paid back evil for good. May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!’” (1 Samuel 25:13). This seems a little uncharacteristic of David. David had been willing to let Saul live multiple times even when Saul had tried to kill him. Why? Because David trusted that the Lord would take care of it at his own time and his own way. On one occasion David said to Saul, “May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you” (1 Samuel 24:12). But for whatever reason, when it came to Nabal, David was going to take things into his own hands. David was ready to kill Nabal and everyone that belonged to Nabal. David in essence was saying “I’ll show you!”