Have you ever thought to yourself if only you were rich and beautiful, all your problems would disappear? Have you ever been envious of another woman for her wealth or beauty? Have you ever been jealous of another woman only to discover a dark side to her life that you never could have imagined?
In today’s episode of All God’s Women we look at Abigail, a beautiful woman married to a wealthy man, but her home life and her marriage were anything but picture perfect.
We meet Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. We’re told that she was beautiful and intelligent, but she was married to Nabal, a rich man who was harsh and evil.
Nabal owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. Abigail and Nabal’s story opens at sheep shearing time. For a sheep farmer, this was a festive time of celebration where the owner would host a feast and share his wealth by providing gifts to those who had helped him throughout the year.
David and his 600 men were camped in the area, and as was the custom, they helped protect Nabal’s shepherds and sheep. Night and day, they provided a protective barrier.
So when David found out it was sheep sheering time, David sent messengers to Nabal to seek their portion of the feast, a reward of sorts.
Only Nabal didn’t respond as they expected. Instead of joyously thanking them and sharing of his bounty, he rebuked them and pretended not to know who David was. He treated them with contempt rather than the respect they deserved.
When the servants returned to David and shared with him what happened, David immediately gathered four hundred of his men and told them to grab their swords. He prepared to attack Nabal, killing all the males in his household.
Fortunately, one of Nabal’s servants ran to Abigail, alerting her to the situation. With extreme haste, she threw together enough food to literally feed an army, and without saying a word to her husband, she hopped on a donkey and followed her servants to David’s camp. She met up with him and his army along the way.
As soon as Abigail spotted David, she dismouned from her donkey and fell on her face before David. In a beautifully eloquent speech, she begged him to listen to her, apologizing for her husband, explaining that he was a fool. She then took responsibility herself for the situation, explaining that she should have seen David’s servants and provided for them. She offered to him the food for his men, then went on to prophesy to him, assuring him he would be king because he was good and he fought the battles of the Lord. She told him that though Saul pursued him, he would be victorious. But she warned him that when that time came, he didn’t want unnecessary bloodshed on his hands but rather should leave the revenge of Nabal to God.
Her words hit hard. David thanked her for preventing him from doing something he would later regret.
Abigail returned home to find Nabal drunk and still feasting. She waited until the morning when he was sober to told him what she did.
The Bible tells us that when Nabal heard what happened, his “heart died within him” and ten days later he died.
When David learned of Nabal’s death, he sent word to Abigail asking her to be his wife. The Bible says that she went in haste and rode on a donkey, bringing with her five maidservants.
Abigail left her wealthy adobe in order to join David’s camp in the wilderness. She knew, though, that it was only a temporary situation and that eventually he would be king.
We have two more references to Abigail. While David and his men were at war, the Amalekites invaded and burned down Ziklag, the town where they were staying and took captive Abigail and the other women and children of the camp. Fortunately, David and his men were able to rescue the captives and bring them back to safety.
Abigail’s story ends with her bearing him a son.
It’s easy for us to look at beautiful, godly women and assume they have a life of ease. We surmise that it’s because they’ve never suffered that they’re able to be so good and kind. Initially, they might seem like saints, but as we go more in depth, we find weakness and flaws.
Interestingly enough, the Bible doesn’t share with us any flaws in Abigail. All we find is goodness. It does, let us know, though, that even though she was gentle and wise, her life was filled with trials and difficulties.
Perhaps, and this is hard for us to think about, but perhaps God allowed Abigail to experience those trials because He knew she was strong enough to withstand them and that she would be a light in her dark world. What a legacy she has left behind as a woman who acted calmly and bravely in the midst of overwhelming terror around her.
And what a blessing that God used her to speak truth to David, ultimately altering the course of his life in a positive direction. May we strive to be women who are calm in a hub of chaos, brave in the midst of fear, wise in a world of foolishness.
Finally, just as Abigail acted with haste in preventing an attack and in accepting David’s marriage proposal, may we, too, act swiftly when God calls us to action. May we not linger or delay but rather immediately act as soon as God tells us what to do.
Lord God, thank you for providing the story of Abigail to encourage us when we might be tempted to wallow in self pity. Forgive us for our times of whining and complaining when things aren’t going our way. Show us how to behave in a manner more fitting a woman of God. Give us guidance and wisdom in all of our dealings. Open our eyes to the beauty of the life that you’ve given us. May we forever be kind and gentle in our interactions with those around us. Provide words of wisdom to flow from our mouth. We love you. In Christ’s name. Amen.
That concludes this week’s episode of All God’s Women. Tune in next week when we talk about the Medium of En Dor, a woman used by God but not in the way anyone expected.
Bible Study Review
- What does the Bible tell us about Abigail?
- What does the Bible tell us about Nabal?
- Why did David come to Nabal asking for a gift?
- What impact did Abigail’s quick thinking have on David? On Nabal?
Thoughts to Ponder
- Why would a woman like Abigail be married to a man like Nabal?
- What kind of wife was Abigail?
- Why did Nabal pretend like he didn’t know who David was?
- Why didn’t Abigail let David kill Nabal?
- How do you behave when you’re around hateful people?
- Would you have tried to save Nabal’s life?
- Do you act with haste to do what needs to be done or do you dally?
- Are you willing to speak up if you see someone about to do something they’ll later regret?
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