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While David was still hiding out from Saul, Samuel died. All of Israel came together to bury him and cry that he was gone.
After that David and his men went out into the wilderness. They were hungry and thirsty. There was a rich man named Nabal who lived nearby, so David sent some servants on ahead with a message.
“Greetings,” the servants said to Nabal. ”Our master David sent us. We camped near your shepherds once and we were very kind and protected them. Would you be kind to David like he was kind to you? Will you please share some of your food and water with us?”
“Ha, who’s David?” Nabal answered, ungratefully. “My food is for myself and my servants. It’s mine, mine, mine. No, I won’t share.”
David’s servants went and told David how unkind Nabal had been. David was as mad as a lion when he heard what had happened.
“Everybody, grab your weapons and get ready to destroy Nabal and all of his household!” David commanded his soldiers.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, David. David should not try to force Nabal to share with him. It was Nabal’s stuff and David did not have the right to force Nabal to give it to him. It was God’s job to punish Nabal for having a yucky, selfish attitude, not David’s job!
You can learn a lesson from David. Don’t ever try to force someone to share with you! Or overreact by crying out, “She’s not sharing with me!!”
It is the adults’ job and God’s job to deal with any yucky selfishness — not your job to overreact and demand that someone share with you.
While David and his men were preparing to fight, Nabal’s servants ran to Nabal‘s wife, Abigail. Abigail was very different from Nabal. Her heart was wise and beautiful. The servants knew they could talk to her. They came and told her that Nabal had been selfish, even though David and his men had been very kind. Nabal’s servants told Abigail, “Nabal is such a wicked man. He won’t listen to any of us who try to help him change.”
Abigail knew the servants were right. Nabal was too wicked to try to talk to, but David wasn’t. She had heard about David and knew he was a man of God.
So Abigail said to the servants, “Quickly! Load up the best food and water we have on these donkeys. Take them up the mountain to David as a gift. I’ll be right behind you.”
Abigail quickly got on her donkey. Clippity-clop, clippity-clop went the donkey’s hooves up the mountain. Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp went the boots of David and his men coming down the mountain.
When Abigail saw David she got off her donkey and threw herself down on the ground at David’s feet.
“I accept all the guilt,” Abigail said. “But you should not pay attention to my husband, Nabal. His name means foolish, and that is what he is.
“As surely as the Lord lives and as surely as you live, it is God who kept you from hurting anyone and taking matters into your own hands. I didn’t know your servants asked for food and water yesterday, but I’m your servant. I have brought you gifts of food and the things you need. But please forgive what happened. For the Lord will certainly establish a lasting kingdom for you, my lord, because you fight the battles of the Lord Almighty. May no evil be found in you all your days!
“When someone sets out to chase you, hurt you, and take your life, the Lord your God will have your life securely wrapped in the treasure pouch of the living.
“But He will sling away the lives of your enemies from a slingshot’s pocket!”
David’s face softened and a little smile came to the corner of his mouth as he recognized God’s poetic voice in this woman’s sweet humble charm.
Abigail continued, “The Lord will do for you everything that He promised you, and he’ll make you a leader over His People.”
Many times before this David had looked to God for help when people had treated him badly, like King Saul. But with Nabal for some reason, David was evidently having an emotional day and got mad and overreacted.
David realized Abigail was right. Nabal was being selfish. But, David was wrong to get all mad like a lion and want to fight people for not sharing.
“Wow, wow, wow! Praised be God who sent you clippety-clopping on those donkeys to meet me! Praised be your good and wise and right thinking! May God reward you for having stopped me from hurting people and taking matters into my own hands! Wow, wow, wow! I’m so glad God sent you to stop me. Whew! That was a close one. If you hadn’t come so quickly to meet me, I’d have made a very foolish choice.” David smiled as he spoke to Abigail. “Thank you for stopping me.”
Have you ever noticed that men and women are different? Sometimes men can have a tendency to be a little hot-headed or get mad, and that’s not usually God’s solution to a problem. Women know this, but men forget sometimes. But, God placed a bit of His own charm inside women, to try to help men keep cool.
And in this situation, God used His charm in His servant Abigail to help David (to tame man’s tendency to overreact).
Abigail stood up, nodded her head respectfully, and said, “Please remember me when God takes care of all this for you.”
David assured Abigail, “You can go home in peace. You can be sure that I heard what you said and will do the right thing.”
Abigail rode her donkey clippety-clop home.
That night Nabal was having a party and was being kind of crazy, so Abigail wisely waited til the next morning to tell Nabal what she’d done.
After she told him, his heart stopped working, he couldn’t move, and ten days later, he died. Abigail had been right — God took care of the problem.
When David heard that Nabal was dead, do you know what David did? He worshipped God. “Thank You for being a just God and showing that Nabal was wrong. And thank You for stopping me from doing wrong.”
When David was praising God for “stopping him” from doing wrong, it wasn’t that God physically “stopped” him. David still had a choice. God “stopped” him by sending someone to tell him the truth — that he was out of line. But David still had a choice of whether to be soft and recognize that this charming lady was God “stopping him.”
Remember that the next time someone is trying to help you to not overreact. Recognize that with the help of other people, God is trying to stop you from doing wrong! It’s a wonderful thing!
Then David sent a messenger to Abigail. He told the messenger, “Bring that charming, lion-taming, truth-telling lady to be my wife. (I could use someone like her around.)”
And of course, Abigail was delighted with that idea. So she became David’s wife.