Monday, April 22, 2013

Wisdom in the face of Adversity



Scripture:

1Sam. 25:32 ¶ David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today!
1Sam. 25:33 Blessed be your good sense, and blessed be you, who have kept me today from bloodguilt and from avenging myself by my own hand!
1Sam. 25:34 For as surely as the LORD the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there would not have been left to Nabal so much as one male.”
1Sam. 25:35 Then David received from her hand what she had brought him; he said to her, “Go up to your house in peace; see, I have heeded your voice, and I have granted your petition.”

Observation:

Abigail was married to a stubborn man by the name of Nabal.  He had been rude and unkind to David and his men, even after David's men had been good to him!  David was angry with this man and was coming to destroy him and his entire household.  Abigail, the wife of Nabal, knew how foolish her husband was and she didn't wait around for all of them to be slaughtered.  She knew that her life and those of the servants were in the hands of a very foolish man.  Abigail took action.  She organized a feast and went out to meet David and ask him for forgiveness.  Her tactics worked and David responded positively.  His response:  May the Lord be blessed; May Abigail be blessed by her good sense; May Abigail be blessed;  May David be blessed because he didn't shed any blood! 

Application:

Abigail responded in the exact opposite way of her husband.  He was the fool; she was the one who showed wisdom. 

There are circumstances in life where we must choose how to react.  Sadly there are those who choose to react as Nabal -- the "fool."  Nabal thought rather highly of himself and did not care to consider the words of others around him.  He would not take advice from anyone because he thought that he knew better.  He didn't care about the consequences of his decisions because he was concerned about looking like the man in charge.  He was not a caring master because the lives of his servants meant nothing to him.  For his own ego to remain in tact he was willing to let them all die!  What arrogance.

Abigail looked upon the circumstances and realized that someone had to show leadership in order to save them all!  She showed great wisdom in her response.  No, she did not tell her husband what she was doing!  Instead, she chose to take matters into her own hands and plan a strategy for success.  She was willing to apologize for the foolishness of her own husband if that meant saving the lives of hundreds.  She went to work and God was blessed through her response.

We have a choice to make in the midst of adversity.  Will we respond with wisdom or folly?  Will our ego get in the way of doing the right thing? 

Abigail left the scene in peace.

There is another underlying theme in this story that some may find disturbing regarding Abigail's relationship with Nabal.  There is a very loud voice in Christianity these days that is encouraging women to be subordinate to their husbands at all cost;  That this is her place and yet, here we find a story in direct contrast to that teaching.  And we find Abigail being praised for her actions.  How can this be?  Because her ultimate authority and head was God, not her husband.  Because somehow Abigail knew that someday she would have to stand alone before God and be accountable for her actions.  How could she allow hundreds to be slaughtered because of the foolishness of one man.  She had to take the action that she knew would be pleasing to God.  Her action was pleasing to God and her house was blessed with peace.  Her foolish husband is the one who suffered the consequences for his actions. 

Jesus has come and died for all of humanity and he is the one who is now sitting at the right hand of God interceding for each and every single one of us.  No human has an intermediary between themselves and God and one day we will stand before him and will need to give account for our actions.  Will we have acted with wisdom or with folly? 

Prayer:

Lord, please give me your wisdom for each day!  Amen.

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