We closed our study yesterday hoping that the cavalry would ride in and rescue all of the unintended victims of Nabal's foolishness. But we know we have a heroine to save the day . . .
Let's dive in!
David and his men are strapping on their swords while rude, harsh, foolish Nabal keeps his ledgers at the sheep shearing. David is insulted and angry, and his men are hungry.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . there is a cool-headed, intelligent lady of tremendous beauty. And her servants have come to ask what can be done. Smart servants! They explain the situation to her, and remind her that no one could talk to Nabal about it.
Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him. (I Samuel 25:17)
Hmmmmm. Let me ask all of us to think about this question: what would we have done if we were in her sandals?
I reckon we can say that this is not what we'd call a good or happy marriage. She is the beautiful princess, but she kissed a toad and he stayed a toad! He's greedy, rude, ruthless, and foolish. It's quite possible that their marriage was arranged in their childhoods, as many eastern marriages were. She probably had no say in the situation, but has lived with this man all this time. And now, she hears that someone out there has ample reason to kill Nabal and more than likely, all of his household. All of their lives are in danger, because of Nabal's foolishness in insulting the king-to-be.
What would we have done? Would we have wrung our hands and told anyone that would listen about our foolish hubby? Would we have packed our bags and left as fast as our camel could carry us?
She was not only beautiful, but intelligent and cool-headed. After years and years of living with Nabal, her "people skills" were honed to perfection. She gathered up an enormous amount of food for David and his men . . . two hundred loaves of bread, two huge skins of wine, five dressed sheep that were ready to be roasted over the soldiers' fires, three hundred pounds of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins, and two hundred cakes of pressed figs. If the way to a man's heart was through his belly, she was going to give it a try!
She quickly loaded up all of these provisions and mounted her donkey, heading toward David's camp. When she reached him, she got off her mount and fell at his feet . . . this amazing woman puts the blame on herself -- she didn't meet his men who came to the ranch. And she tells David to pay no attention to the man who foolishly insulted him and turned his soldiers away from the shearing festivities.
Wow. Abigail put together a complete strategy, didn't she? And in spite of her realization that Nabal was foolish, she doesn't throw him under the bus. She draws a very fine line here and I believe that she is a super model for us of the Proverbs 31 woman. We'll delve into that a bit later. She is very matter of fact about the situation, and it makes us wonder if this was something she was practiced at? Did she have a good bit of experience in "making up" with the neighbors when her husband was drunk or mean (or both)?
Nowadays, I guess she would have had friends who told her to go ahead and divorce the guy.
How many couples these days rush blindly into marriage? How many of those marriages dissolve into nothingness a few months or years later? Irreconcilable differences, they say. Oh, our world is full of them, and many are dissolved due to situations far less disheartening than Abigail's.
Statistics show that after a year of divorce, 60% of men and 73% of women feel that they made a mistake. They wish they'd tried harder to make their marriages work. I don't know about you, but I kinda think that Abigail tried hard to make her marriage work. I will just bet that there were days (probably many of them) in her life that she had to think long and hard about why she should stay.
These statistics are only for the United States, but they show a disturbing trend: in 1920 there was 1 divorce for every 7 marriages; by 1940 there was 1 for every 6 marriages. If we jump to 1970, we see 1 divorce for every three marriages! I'm glad that the rate has leveled off . . . they say it is not much different now; if it kept going, I guess we'd be in a real mess. I guess that there are not many "Abigails" in the world today -- not many are willing to work at making a good marriage.
There are a lot of lies out there, too, that Satan uses. People get sucked into those falsehoods and myths. Like "the grass is greener." Oh, look at all the divorced people and all the fun and great lives they have. NOT. You may be in a conflict that makes those people's lives look awesome, but what looks so green is usually just weeds. But the problem is, you don't find that out till after the divorce.
Or this one: "the kids will be better off." NOPE. With the exception of abusive situations, divorce has a devastating effect on children. Even under the best of circumstances, they hurt and often blame themselves; they always want their mom and dad to be together.
How about this one: "but I'm not in love anymore." And "divorce will set me free." Ah, yes, the world would like for us to believe these myths. Here's the truth about this one: the same God that tells us to love our enemies will be ever so glad to help couples who want to fall in love again, and learn to love and appreciate each other like they did before.
I guess that you and I might look at Abigail's situation and think, "Wow, she really is in a bad situation....maybe she should get a divorce." But remember, God doesn't think like we do......
Back to our story -- Abigail's plan worked, and David drops his planned revenge. Abigail goes back home to the Ponderosa and finds Nabal drunk!! Boy, is he living up to his name!
We have a few more nuggets we can learn from Abigail's wisdom, patience, and people skills. Be sure to join us next time, won't you?