Summary: Severe Anger is a form of Temporary Insanity! How to diffuse a short-fused man!

How to Feed an Angry Man

Romans 12:20, 21

Romans 12:20-21

20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Anger is one of the most debilitating emotions we wrestle with. It is unpredictable: It can be on us before we know it. Anger is a public enemy. You cannot hide it. Anger is a choice that becomes a habit.

It is a learned reaction to frustration, in which you behave in ways that you would rather not. In fact, according to one author, severe anger is a form of temporary insanity. You are insane whenever you are out of control of your behavior. Therefore, when you are angry and out of control, you are temporarily insane!

When we catch up with David today, we find him in a situation where he could be described as temporarily insane! This man after God’s own heart has lost his mind! His anger is so white hot that he is vengeful and intent upon murder! And it took a wise women and a meal to soothe the savage beast within. Ah, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach after all!

The Table Gets Set:

David and his 600 guerrilla fighters have been protecting the Israelites from their enemies, fighting off wild tribes in the wilderness of Paran and protecting shepherds and flocks along the countryside. According to the customs of that day, at the time of sheep shearing, it was common for the owner of the flocks to set aside a portion of the profit and give it to those who had come to the aid of the shepherds. It was kind of like tipping the waiter.

David and his men had been faithfully watching out for the flocks of a rich man named Nabal.

1 Samuel 25:2-3

2 A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel.

3 His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings.


David, like a waiter waiting for his tip, expects to receive some reward:

1 Samuel 25:5-9

5 So he sent ten young men and said to them, "Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name.

6 Say to him: ’Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

7 "’Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing.

8 Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’"

9 When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited.


The problem is that Nabal is stingy and won’t pay up! Nabal couldn’t care less that David’s men had risked life and limb for him. He lives for only one thing: Himself!

1 Samuel 25:10-11

10 Nabal answered David’s servants, "Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days.

11 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?"


Who do you know who is like that? Maybe it’s your employer, who thinks he has gotten where he is today without anyone’s help, much less yours! Alex Haley, the author of Roots, is credited with saying, “If you see a turtle on a fencepost, you can be sure he did not get there by himself!” A selfish boss is a hard person to work for!

Nabal is selfish, surley, and stupid! In fact his name means “fool” and he matches his name well! Even his wife says so later in this chapter!

David is not entertained by Nabal’s foolishness.

1 Samuel 25:12-13

12 David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word.

13 David said to his men, "Put on your swords!" So they put on their swords, and David put on his. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.


What do you do when you or someone you care about is treated unfairly?

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