Day 26: Lessons From AbigailMarch 1, 2015
I’m so excited to share with you what’s on my heart today. We are on day 26 of 28 — we are almost done with this journey!
Lately I’ve been studying the story of David and Abigail and how she became his wife through very unusual circumstances. The story is found in First Samuel 25. I strongly encourage you to read this account in your own Bible. This amazing drama began when David’s men helped the cruel husband of Abigail, whose name was Nabal. The Bible describes Nabal as a “churlish” man (v. 3), which means difficult, severe, cruel, harsh, inflexible, obstinate, or stubborn.
Nabal was a very rich man who had large flocks of sheep. One day while Nabal’s men were in Carmel shearing his sheep, David’s men provided protection to their flocks as they traveled through the region, and David sent his men to ask Nabal to show favor to them by sharing some of their provisions. Nabal — being the harsh, obstinate, headstrong man he was — answered David’s request with insults, saying, in effect, “Who is this son of Jesse?” Basically, Nabal said, “No way am I going to share my provisions with these men!”
When David’s men returned and reported Nabal’s response to David, David became so angry that he took 400 of his men and set out to retaliate by destroying all of Nabal’s men.
A servant of Nabal came to Abigail and told her how his master had insulted David and his men. Immediately Abigail began to gather provisions for David’s men so she could take the provisions to David herself and to apologize to David (vv. 14-20). As Abigail approached these 400 men, David had just exclaimed in anger, “…Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good. May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light” (vv. 21,22 NKJV).
That was the explosive scene Abigail rode into! But Abigail acted in wisdom. She got off her donkey, fell on her face before David, and began to give a most amazing speech of humility and honor and respect.
First Peter 5:5, it says, “…Be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” And in the account of Abigail, we witness a woman who remained in an attitude of true humility before her enemies — even before someone who had the power to destroy family members, servants, her home, and her life as she’d known it. Abigail could have taken a bad attitude toward David, but through her humility, which was her one of her greatest strengths, she saved her entire household.
First, Abigail fell on her face before David and said, “…Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be…” (v. 24). In other words, she took complete responsibility for the cruel decision and actions of her husband. She also immediately postured herself as a servant to David, addressing him as “my lord” 14 times in her speech while addressing herself 6 times as his “handmaiden.” I encourage you to read the details of Abigail’s humble and gracious speech in verses 24-31.
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I will make a long story short. Abigail’s humility silenced her enemy and completely changed his response to the situation. David even apologized to Abigail and thanked her for her words that restrained him from killing many innocent people in his anger (vv. 32-34). Then David’s men received all the provisions she had provided.
While all this was happening, Nabal was at home throwing a party and getting drunk, so Abigail waited until morning to tell her husband what had happened. Verse 37 says that when she told Nabal everything, “…his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.” Ten days later, the Lord smote Nabal and he died (v. 38).
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he sent his messengers to ask Abigail to be his wife. From her humble position, Abigail saved her husband, all their servants, and all their belongings. And because her heart was right before her evil husband, God honored her for the cruelty and abuse she’d endured for so many years and positioned her to become the wife of a soon-to-be king.
Friend, a humble position is a powerful position! Abigail’s story is amazing, and we can learn a lot from her.
- Even though Abigail was a rich woman, she remained humble. She didn’t set her heart on her riches and was not led by a fear of losing her material possessions.
- When her life and everything she knew was threatened, she didn’t yield to fear; instead, she acted in wisdom. Through the years, as she humbled herself before her cruel husband time and time again, God was building character within her heart, causing her to grow into a respectful and powerful woman, even in the midst of adversity.
- She didn’t nag her husband, even though she had the right to say, “You fool! You’re going to get us all killed! How many times have I told you to do something about your temper?”
- An attitude of humility and honor and respect gives a person boldness. The extent of Abigail’s boldness can be seen in the way she walked up and faced a man, who would one day rule over Israel, and his 400 strong and angry men.
- Abigail had faith in God and recognized His plan for Israel concerning David, the man whose intent on destroying everything she’d known. Humble, honoring, and respectful people believe for God’s good plan and keep expecting the best outcome.
- She was forgiving. Humility, honor, respect, and wisdom don’t mix with bitterness and unforgiveness.
- Abigail was thinking about her enemies’ good. Jesus said, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you” (Luke 6:28). Abigail knew David and his troops needed food — physical sustenance. She focused on their need, not their anger and threats.
As those who live in this world’s system, we’re often taught, “Don’t put up with that! You don’t deserve that! You need to give them a piece of your mind!” But we can see through Abigail’s example that even while living under the cruel hand of Nabal, God was putting into her the attributes of a queen.
You may not be facing a specific enemy right now, but Abigail’s story gives you clear insight into the power of humility, honor, and respect to defeat your enemies and even cause them to agree with you. I hope this has encouraged you, as it has encouraged me, to know how to respond when you experience rejection or mistreatment from another. Let’s learn from Abigail and discover the powerful secret of humility, honor, and respect.
I’m going to close with one last verse that speaks of our Savior Jesus Christ. No one has gone further in humility than our Lord, who laid down His life for our redemption.
And being found in fashion as a man, he [Jesus] humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Friend, the challenges of living in this hour aren’t going to get any easier. Please read my prayer for you and let your heart agree.
Father, I lift up before You the precious person who’s reading this. I pray that he or she will learn something new from the humility of our Savior Jesus — and of Abigail — and find wisdom in Your Word to face every enemy. Holy Spirit, I know that You are surrounding this person with grace and peace. I ask that this dear one experience Your comfort and know that You’re working out the Lord’s good plan in his or her life to become strong and overcoming, wise, humble, honoring, and respectful. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thank you for spending this time with me. Please let us know how we can pray for you. We want to be your partners in prayer as well as in the Gospel. We’re standing with you in faith, believing God for success and fulfillment in every area of your life.
In His great love,