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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Beauty and the Beast (1 Samuel 25:2-3)

"A certain man in Maon . . . was very wealthy. 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."

The Beast: Unlike Disney's Beast Nabal isn't a prince tucked away in the body of a beast, he is a beast! Nabal's wealth made him arrogant. His disdain toward David is obvious. He sees David as the youngest son of relative. He doesn't recognize David's past victories, including his killing Goliath. He doesn't see a future king but a fugitive. Nor is he appreciative of David's protection during the time of sheep-shearing. He refuses to give food to David's servants and even makes fun of David to their face. Had not Abigail intervened on his behalf Nabal and all of his men would surely have died.

The Beauty: God uses a beautiful, daring, but humble woman to prevent David from doing something he would later regret. Abigail stands in the gap on Nabal's behalf. She takes full blame for Nabal's meanness toward David as she provides for David's men. Further, she reminds David of whose he is--that it is God's responsibility to avenge Nabal's actions.

Listen to what one commentator says about Abigail:
"Abigail’s encounter with David is one of the most remarkable female-initiated encounters between a man and a woman in the Bible . . . ." It is also "the longest speech by a woman in the Old Testament (153 Hebrew words). Abigail did three remarkable things: (1) she successfully interceded in behalf of her husband, (2) she prophetically revealed David’s destiny as the founder of a dynasty and vanquisher of enemies, and (3) she prevented David from bringing judgment down on himself through an egregious violation of the Torah." (Bergen, Robert D.: 1, 2 Samuel. electronic ed. Nashville : Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1996 (Logos Library System; The New American Commentary 7), S. 250.). 
Nabal has definitely married a woman out of his league.

God rewards Abigail for preventing a disaster. She, as a widow, isn't left in a vulnerable position. David takes her under his wings of protection as his wife.
What does this story teach us about the "surly" people in our lives? We must stand in the gap on their behalf; we must pray for them. God has a way of removing them without the involvement of righteous people.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: 1Samuel 25:1-44
  • How does Nabal reward David for his protection during the sheep shearing?
  • How is Abigail described and what is her role in averting death to the men of her family?
  • Was Abigail wrong to intervene? Why or Why not?
  • How does God deal with Nabal?
  • What does Nabal's death and Abigail's intervention teach David about God?
  • What would have happened to Nabal's widow had not David married her?
Psalm 18
  • Describe David's relationship with the Lord.
  • How does God respond to David's prayer?
  • What is David learning about God?
  • What are David's men learning about God as they watch David respond to the Nabal situation and as they watch David's interaction with Abigail?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask God to open your eyes to the opportunities you have to stand in the gap for others, to be an intercessor, to avert disaster.