Mike Gerhardt, David's Passion, July 21, 2019. Wisdom and Grace in Action, 1 Samuel 25:1-11. In this historical account, we see two men behaving badly and a woman behaving with graceful wisdom. Dealing with difficult men can be challenging. God hammered out of lifeless dirt as Genesis describes and created man. A woman was fashioned or sculpted as the Hebrew would suggest from live sensitive flesh. Throughout the ages, men seemed to be the culprits of all major wars and skirmishes, and it seems evident in so many ways that men behave badly more than women. So, I have scoured up a few common sayings about men which seem true: A man is usually as young as he feels but seldom as important as he feels. Few women admit their age and few men act their age. One lady observed that men usually can keep their heads above water because of wood floats. Any smart woman will tell you that the best way to a man's heart is through his ego. Women's faults are several, yet men have only two: Everything they say and everything they do. Let’s study these two men and one woman and see what the Lord has for us today. I again want us to notice the detail in the story which is 44 verses long.
Samuel’s death marked the end as David’s protector (Samuel was the only one who could have protected David from Saul) and as David's guide and as David's prophet. David at the end of this chapter would lose his wife Michal who also protected him.
David's Request is simple bread and water and some meat for 600 men. This is not an unusual demand for the protection David had given to Nabal. It was requesting a good deed for a good deed. I want you to hear the sin of selfishness. Nabal asked: Why should I? verse 11. What's in it for me? Who is David? Nabal knew much about David. The question is a put-down, who is David that I should grant his request? David’s men listed several reasons to help them out with whatever you can find… Verse 8. Nabal heard their reasons but responded with disgust. How would you react to David's request? A selfish reaction isn't a Christian reaction. A believer who is asked to do a favor should themselves ask: WHAT DOES LOVE REQUIRE OF ME?
Abigail's Intervention is profound. Read verses 12-31.
The scripture calls her an intelligent and beautiful woman (3a). She acted expediently verse 18. She was graceful and wise to David AND to Nabal. Read verses 36-38. Nabal dies at the Lord's hand. David eventually marries Abigail, (verses 39-44) smart move! This story of one woman’s devotion to her mean and foolish husband Nabal and her graceful wisdom with a fiery and vengeful King David, reminds me of the precious gift of a godly wife. Men do not take for granted a loving godly wife.
Roy Croft is attributed to a poem that is often quoted or read at weddings. He wrote: I love you, not only for what you are but for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out. I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart and passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can’t help seeing there, and for drawing out into the light all the beautiful things that no one else had looked quite far enough to find. I love you because you are helping me to make out of the works of my every day, not a reproach, but a song.
Abigail took a tremendous risk in that day and age to do what was best for Nabal, David, and all her household. She stood before David and 400 soldiers ready to kill every last male and pleaded her case. Thank God for gifted women of courage. We need women as leaders in our church using their gifts for the cause of Christ. Abigail certainly was an intelligent and beautiful woman.
Let us look at Nabal's Foolishness. He is described as a surly and mean man verse 3. Nabal sounds like the Hebrew word for fool. You've never heard of a woman making a fool out of a man without a lot of cooperation from the man. When it comes to being foolish, some men are the do it yourself type. In dealing with foolish men we must be wise and not always warriors.
There are some parallel observations I’d like us to see and I think the writer wanted us to see: David protected Nabal's flock as he also protected King Saul's people. David's vengeful attitude toward Nabal displayed his natural tendency to be a warrior but highlights his restraint toward Saul God's anointed. Abigail's prudent action prevented David from using his power as a leader for personal vengeance which Saul actively did against David. David sees the Lord in all of this. Nabal's death at the Lord's hand will be Saul's end as well. The Lord provided Abigail for David when Saul took away Michal. The Lord counters Saul’s evil actions every time. The Lord took care of Nabal. The Lord is the Judge of all the earth. Though some might seem like the evil people of the world are getting away with murder, there will be a judgment day for them. Sooner or later God will bring justice. MEN: the transformation of the heart and the soul by being radically saved is our only hope. Even King David showed a vengeful side. We need God to save us from ourselves.
A woman recently baptized was asked by a coworker what's it like to be a Christian. It's like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, washes all the dirt off, cuts the top off and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, selfishness, carves a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.
Scripture often speaks of those who are wise and those who are foolish. Scripture refrains from contrasting those who are good against those who are bad and for good reason. We know from scripture that we are all sinners, so we all need salvation and we all need wisdom from above to live in that God-given righteousness.
Men and women use wisdom and learn to pick your battles correctly