1 Week Before VBS: Get Set!
Day 5: Abigail brings peace
Key Scriptures for Bible Discovery 1 Samuel 25
“Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys” (1 Samuel 25:18).
In the first book of Samuel, God has given us the perfect primer for peacemaking. This primer has been written into a narrative with three main characters; Nabal, Abigail and David. Nabal is an arrogant, narcistic, foolish, selfishly repellent, abusive man, who is extremely wealthy (vs 2; 3; 17) and married to Abigail. Abigail, on the other hand, is quite opposite from her husband. She is generous, clever, spiritually wise, beautiful and extremely competent in managing her large estate with its numerous servants (vs 17). The story begins with David; a former shepherd; the future King of Israel; and currently a fugitive hiding from King Saul in the hilly, sheep country of southern Israel near the Dead Sea. Perhaps, David, nostalgic for his former occupation, chooses to protect Nabal’s flocks, which are grazing near his camp. As a benevolent gentleman, David does not pillage Nabal’s sheep to feed his men, nor does he harm the shepherds, but instead instructs his fighting men to care for them (vs 7-8; 21). In such a remote and isolated place, much harm could befall Nabal’s vast investment, without David’s care. So, when the time comes for the annual shearing, David, being a former shepherd (vs 4) and knowing the strict hospitality requirements for the servants who care for the sheep, surely anticipates an invitation to the feast or at least being rewarded with some well-earned mutton. David sends some of the youngest of his men, for a share (vs 5-7). The encounter with foolish Nabal does not go well (vs 10-11) and David determines to raid the estate (vs 13; 22). It is worthy to note, in this culture, oriental hospitality not rendered was a crime (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/hospitality). At this point, Abigail, the heroine steps in to save the day. She strategically institutes a well-constructed plan (vs 14) that is bulleted below:
- Abigail plans a meeting with David (vs 19-20) so they can meet face to face. Being beautiful is a distinct advantage for a woman living in a paternal society. Beauty certainly did not hurt her cause as she interacts with David.
- When approaching David, she humbly bows, prostrates herself (vs 23) and provides him with a kingly feast (vs 18), thus acknowledging that God has anointed him as sovereign over Israel (vs 30).
- She takes the blame for her foolish husband and begs David’s favor for the offense (vs 24).
- Abigail, then reminds David that God will avenge his enemies (vs 30-31), thanks him for his protection of Israel (vs 28) and provides a blessing for his future descendants (vs 28-29).
As a peacemaker, Abigail honestly and openly addresses David’s concerns e.g. David’s men have earned and deserve a feast; David deserves respect as God’s anointed King and as such, should receive a very sincere and humble apology and, lastly, David deserves gratitude from his subjects for the sacrifice he and his men have made for the country. Interestingly, David does not expect Abigail’s gracious words about God or the kind reproof he receives. David was on his way to avenge himself with his own hand, and that would be stepping onto the throne of God. God said, Vengeance is mine; I will repay (Deuteronomy 32:35-36; Romans 12:19) . In the end, when David hears about the death of Nabal, David keeps his promise to bless Abigail (vs 31; 35) with a marriage proposal. Unfortunately, this marriage is not the fairy tale wedding we are used to, because David becomes a polygamist by taking another woman, Ahinoam the Jezreel, as his wife (vs 43).
Thank you, Father for helping us when we make bad decisions. Thank you for watching over us with Your tender mercy and grace. Help us to be like Abigail, a peacemaker, who stands in the gap and brings reproof when it is needed. Father, help us to be like David and accept kind reproof in love. Amen.
- Thanking God for fighting our battles.
- Teach us to rely fully on God’s grace in our daily lives
- For children, the future of His Kingdom. Pray for God’s favor and glory to rest on our children. Pray for our children during these times of testing and that they would be found faithful. Pray for lavish grace and that God will overshadow them as a canopy. Pray for our children who may be called to a fiery furnace and those called to martyrdom.