Abigail’s Example

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

I.         There is much to learn from the pages of the Old Testament

            A.        It is true that we no longer live under the Law of Moses. It passed out of existence when Jesus died upon the cross. However, it doesn’t mean than God meant for the Christian to discard its teachings.

            B.        I Cor 10:11 - The Old Law provides examples to follow or avoid

            C.        Rom. 15:4 - The things written in the Old Law are there for our instruction

II.        Today, we are going to examine a small story about a woman named Abigail, recorded in I Samuel 25:2-42

            A.        Background

                        1.         The events recorded here are from the time period when David was fleeing from the wraith of Saul.

                        2.         Rather than fight Saul, David and his 600 men fled into the wilderness

                        3.         In this same region, a wealthy man, named Nabal, kept his herds.

                        4.         David and his men treated Nabal’s herdsmen well and even protected them and their flocks both day and night.

            B.        Interestingly, the name Nabal means “fool” - I Sam 25:25

                        1.         And herein, Nabal acted the fool.

                        2.         On a feast day, David sent 10 of his men to request provisions

                                    a.         It was a reasonable payment for the services he had provided without being asked.

                                    b.         Not every farmer has 600 men guarding his herds.

                        3.         Nabal, though, refused to recognize David

                                    a.         It seems he knew something about David’s background because he alludes to his being on the run.

                                    b.         However, he calls David a run-away servant who is hiding from his legitimate master.

                                    c.         “Why,” he asked, “should I take food from my workers to give to vagabonds?”

                                    d.         Nabal did not even bother to check with his servants to see if the mens statements of protecting his flocks were true.

            C.        David became very angry at Nabal’s rude response. He called his men to war having the intention to kill all the males in Nabal’s household.

            D.        Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s servants, realizing what Nabal had done, ran to Nabal’s wife - I Sam 25:14-17

                        1.         Even Nabal’s servants did not respect their master.

            E.        Nabal’s wife was quite a contrast to the foolish man - I Sam 25:3

                        1.         If ever a woman illustrated a virtuous wife, it was Abigail.

                        2.         It is her response we wish to study.

III.       How Abigail saved her husband

            A.        She did not delay - I Sam 25:18-19

                        1.         She loaded up generous provisions for David’s men and sent a servant ahead to tell David she was coming. She then rode out to meet David.

                        2.         She did not worry or fret about the problem.

                        3.         She did not wait for David to come to her. She met her problems face on.

                        4.         When you see a brother or sister angry and in danger of committing a grievous sin, immediate action is required.

                                    a.         Anger is not to linger - Eph. 4:26. Anger unchecked builds up and corrupts the angry man. Delaying will not make things better.

                                    b.         Jesus tells us to settle matters immediately - Matt 5:23-25

            B.        She humbled herself before David - I Sam 25:23

                        1.         She could have been indignant or arrogant when confronting David, but instead she fell on her face.

                                    a.         Too many want to argue they are right - Pr 25:8

                                    b.         Arguing will just break the dam - Pr 17:14

                        2.         Pr. 6:2-5 - Humble pleading is the only solution

                        3.         We too should restore the wayward in a similar manner - Gal. 6:1

            C.        She took the blame for her husband’s foolishness and asked for forgiveness - I Sam 25:24-28

                        1.         We live a society that looks to avoid responsibility. No one wants to be blamed for anything. Instead they strive to fix the blame elsewhere.

                        2.         What a contrast! It wasn’t Abigail’s fault, but she took the blame.

                        3.         Much like our Lord - Isa 53:5

                        4.         When striving to restore others, we too must be willing to shoulder the burdens of others - Gal. 6:2

            D.        She pointed out that her presence was the Lord’s hand at work to keep David from sinning.

                        1.         David was about to sin?!?

                                    a.         Yes, David was about to slaughter unarmed men because one man foolishly insulted him.

                                    b.         David was guilty of being quick to anger - James 1:19-20

                                    c.         Nabal was not nice. He definitely was rude. But does rudeness deserve a death penalty? Did those shepherds that David watched over deserve to die because they had a foolish master?

                                    d.         At times, brethren must have their sins pointed out to them - II Tim 4:2

                        2.         Abigail pointed out how the Lord has been with David, has blessed him and will continue to bless him - I Sam 25:28-31

                                    a.         The Lord purifies his servants who continue steadfastly in his will - Col. 1:22-23

                                    b.         Abigail didn’t just scold David for straying, but pointed out that he was formed for nobler purposes.

                                    c.         When we must point out the sins of others, don’t use it as an excuse to belittle, but a time to rise to greater things.

                                    d.         See how Paul wraps criticism with encouragement - Tit 3:1-8

            E.        She pointed out the insignificance of Nabal’s offense

                        1.         David, in his coming glory, would not want a memory of sin caused by a moment of anger to cloud his memories - I Sam 25:30-31

                        2.         We don’t want people to cry it is too late to avoid sin - Pr 5:12-14

                        3.         We want our brethren to have a strong confidence as they look back on their lives that the did what was right - II Cor. 1:12

                        4.         This was Paul’s argument to brethren arguing with each other - I Cor 6:1-8

                                    a.         We are to judge angels and we can’t settle problems between brethren here on this earth?

                                    b.         We have greater things to do. Squabbles are minor things.

IV.      The party at Nabal’s continued with Nabal ignorant of how close he came to death

            A.        Abigail waited until Nabal sobered up the next day to tell him what had happened.

            B.        The news shocked Nabal so badly that he became like a stone.

            C.        Ten days latter he died.

V.        Let us learn from the example of Abigail

            A.        It wasn’t just her foolish, wicked husband whom Abigail saved.

            B.        She kept a righteous man from making a grave mistake.

            C.        Oh, that brethren could rescue one another with as much wisdom.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email