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.
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.