If you like novels, I have one for you that is completely covered in one single chapter of Scripture, 1 Samuel 25. In 44 verses, you have an action novel, a drama, a thriller and finally a romance novel. Only in the Bible can you get all that in one chapter!
For some reason, I missed all this in my many readings of the Bible until one day it all unfolded for me, as I hope it will for you. Why do you need to know about a woman named Abigail? You need to know this story because it will help you navigate the most challenging relationships in your life. Abigail is dealing with an angry, abusive spouse on one hand, an offended warrior and future king on the other, all the while trying to protect and nurture her own household and family. This IS that spot between a rock and a hard place, and Abigail is in that spot.
Here's the short version. The future king, David, that young warrior destined to king of Israel is roaming the countryside with his band of soldiers. They happen upon the grazing land of Nabal, who is Abigail’s husband – who by all account is foolish, selfish, and arrogant. When David sees an opportunity to rest and feed his men, Nabal pushes back, refusing to help them and even disrespecting David, the conflict is ON. Neither will back down. As David and his men rush toward Nabal’s house, breathing fire and threats, Abigail is told of what’s about to happen, and realizes that she ALONE can prevent the bloodshed.
What would you do if you were in Abigail’s place? This is like the clash of two titans. Something bad is going to take place – it’s inevitable UNLESS Abigail steps up. If you’ve ever been around an angry person or BEEN one - if you’ve ever felt insulted and disrespected or been PRESENT when it happened – OR if you’ve tried to protect others around you from people who are hell-bent on destruction, you’ll take so much away from this story that will help you in life.
I love this story because Abigail’s character comes through so clearly. She takes responsibility. Someone has to! Nabal and David have lost their minds and are not thinking about the destruction ahead, but Abigail sees it. Sometimes, it rests on us to act in such a way that defuses the situation. I know – it’s not FAIR that she’s placed in this position, but there are times we don’t have the luxury of debating fairness. Abigail must intervene. That takes faith.
She also shows respect. Since neither man is respecting the other, Abigail senses this is important. It’s easy to see how she gives respect to David in their interaction and it’s the starting place for lowering his anger. Since Nabal will NOT respect David, Abigail does.
She also exercises restraint when no one else will. Someone has to be calm in an explosive moment and that restraint allows her to consider what’s at risk.
She also brings God into the conversation. As Oswald Chambers famously said, “Once we lose sight of God, we become reckless.” Everyone in this story is reckless except Abigail! Listen carefully to how she counsels David on his way to destroy Nabal’s house. “As the Lord lives…the Lord has restrained you…for the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil will not be found in you.” (v. 26-28). Get this: Abigail keeps the future king from sabotaging his future with her restraint and her appeal. She’s looking out for him. She’s making sure he thinks about God. You can never go wrong doing that.
When Nabal finds out about her intervention on his behalf, he collapses and within days is dead.
The timeline of this story is fast and furious, as life tends to be. God shows up just in time, as He tends to do. He’s never really early from our perspective, but you certainly cannot accuse him of being late, either. God does just what is necessary to redeem this intense, sin-filled situation. Isn’t that kind of what God does? He redeems things.
God has worked through Abigail and has deterred catastrophe. He uses her words to remind David about Himself and His future plans for David’s household. Abigail has protected her household from death, and finally has a season of peace and silence.
Her huge questions about her future are answered when David later sends for her to be his queen. The details of this romance – this marriage – are not in the text, but the significance of what has taken place is so encouraging. God can redeem ANY situation in your life. Even when the players around you are toxic and angry, God is at work. May He surprise you in how He completes YOUR story!
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.