Thesis: Good people in bad marriages try to make the marriage better.
1. < Begin >
a. Illust. A few years ago the following item appeared in a Florida newspaper: "A young British couple decided to get a divorce while their wedding reception was still in progress. Daniel and Susan Stockwell had barely started the reception before they had a furious argument that was apparently spurred when the bride saw the groom talking to an ex-girlfriend. `I must have been mad to go through with it!' London's Daily Merit newspaper quoted the groom as saying. `I'm better off without her.'"
b. The marriage of Daniel and Susan Stockwell probably sets some kind of record for disposable marriage--& this in an age of disposable marriages!
1) Marriage is not always easy for any of us.
2) But most of us are willing to give it more effort than this!
2. What do you do when you discover that your marriage/mate is not what you had hoped it would be?
a. Describes everyone's marriage--all begin idealistically.
b. Idealism inevitably turns to realism, and sometimes to despair!
1) "I'm getting out. I don't need to go through the torture any longer. Life is too short to have to endure this. I'd be happier if I left, and so would she."
2) "We've tried everything. Nothing seems to work. He just insists on having everything his own way. It's hopeless. The only thing to do is bail out."
c. This AM: "The Story of Nabal and Abigail" (1 Sam. 25).
1) Read story.
2) Apply some timeless principles to today.
I. READ 1 SAMUEL 25. < Pausing to make comments ... >
A. After verse 3:
1. Talk about a mis-matched pair!
2. Illust. Nabal's name is the Hebrew word for "fool." To the ancient Hebrews "fool" had nothing to do with one's I.Q. It had to do with way they conducted their lives--"common sense." "Fool" is perhaps better translated, "Jerk" or "Bonehead"--a person deficient in skills needed to get along with other people.
B. After verse 8:
1. Shepherds were vulnerable; David had treated Nabal's shepherds well and protected them from outlaws.
2. Sheep-shearing time was a festival time.
3. David is looking for provisions--a return favor.
C. After verse 31:
1. Abigail: "David, don't do something you'll regret later!"
2. Hebron is not far from here; David's first capital city and the place from which he was able to unify all Israel under his leadership.
II. MAKING A BAD MARRIAGE BETTER. < A good person in a bad marriage ... >
A. Has a stubborn determination to make it work.
1. Abigail stays with Nabal!
2. She wasn't looking for a way out, she had to have been looking for a way to make it work!
a. Sexual unfaithfulness/physical abuse ... different matter!
b. Illust. We all need to be reminded of the vows we took before God! "For better or worse, for richer/poorer, in sickness/health ..." At the end of each wedding ceremony I've ever performed I've read Jesus' words: "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder." Marriage is a solemn promise before God--I'm not taking this lightly!
B. Does not try to fix the other person.
1. No indication Abigail tried to send Nabal to charm school!
2. You cannot fix your mate! (Ask Kathy ...)
a. Illust. This is why it is so important to pick a good mate to begin with. This is why courtships are so important--"what you see is what you get!" Don't ever say, "I'll change him/her" because you won't.
b. Real change must come from God and your mate.
c. Best thing we can do is accept the other person as they are!
C. Does not bad-mouth their mate.
1. Easy to zero in on the negative qualities of your mate.
a. Good to remind yourself of what attracted you to him/her.
b. While there's a little Nabal in every man, and no woman is an Abigail all the time--not productive to point this out--either
to your mate or to others!
2. Is Abigail bad-mouthing Nabal in verse 25?
a. Not really ..... she's taking blame for incident (v. 24).
b. Her statements to David cover Nabal's weakness and gets him off the hook.
3. Never bad-mouth your mate to others.
a. Not just because of the harm it does to them, but because of the harm it does to you!
b. Illust. Sandra Milholland writes in Upreach magazine: "Ladies, beware of those `coffee klatches' with the girls in the neighborhood or on your coffee break at work. I have noticed that husbands often get skewered, cooked, and eaten at those gatherings ... and a ten o'clock gab session in the morning can have a subtle but powerful impact on how a wife will treat her husband in the evening. Sue complains about her husband. Gretchen complains about hers and others join in with similar complaints. Agreeing that `men are all alike,' everyone feeds on everyone else's grievances. I would like to challenge us to break that truly vicious cycle. Begin by spending time thinking warm thoughts about your husband, and the next time your friends want to play `Ain't Hubby Awful,' let your responses be only positive ones. Build him up in the eyes of others. ... Guys, I'm talking to you too. When other men complain about their `little missus,' march to the beat of a different drummer and praise your woman. After all, she did have the good sense to marry you, didn't she?"