As long as I’ve walked with God, as many experiences as I’ve had that looked like complete disaster . . . never . . . NEVER has God let me down. I’ve seen Him work through horrendous circumstances in redemptive ways that none of us could’ve predicted or explained. After the terrifying storm passes, it is evident that God didn’t forsake His own; He had everything under control after all.
This month, we’re celebrating Advent here on the blog by exploring the lives of a few women who had an integral role in God’s redemption plan. Most of these women were in the line of Christ, but a few were women who God used to bring protection or deliverance to His people. One of these special women brought protection to King David—through which the Messiah would one day come.
Abigail was not in the Messianic lineage, but she served as a protector of that royal line.
Abigail endured daily testing. Scripture describes her husband as “harsh and evil in his dealings.” He was extremely rich, but also stingy. Imagine living with a man whose literal description was “evil.”
I imagine Abigail had come to expect brutal treatment from her husband, Nabal.
Nabal’s cruel reputation is recorded in Scripture. Nabal was a wealthy man; he had three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. While this large herd was grazing in the wild, David (who would later become King of Israel) and his men protected Nabal’s flocks and his sheep herders.
When it came time for shearing the sheep, David sent word to Nabal requesting provisions (food) for his men. Nabal refused to help or even acknowledge that he knew anything about David or the protection he’d provided.
David had this to say about Nabal’s rude behavior:
[box]Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. “May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one male of any who belong to him.” (1 Samuel 25:21–22)[/box]
David goes into attack mode and gives the battle cry: “Every man strap on his sword!” as he takes off to avenge himself. David plans to wipe out Nabal and everything that he owns.
A Woman Who Faces Fear Head-On
Surely when Abigail got word that David and his small army were heading her way, with plans to wipe out every living male, she got a little stressed. I would think the fear factor would be hitting the level of terror at this point. But Abigail’s reaction isn’t fearful, she steps into action and boldly faces her fears.
She even rides out to meet David and make a grand appeal:
[box]When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.
Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. And now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. (1 Samuel 25:23–28)[/box]
How could Abigail react this calmly when faced with the prospect of looming annihilation?
I think we can find a clue in the text. I believe Abigail had a handle on how to battle fear. I imagine she probably learned it long before this test. Living with a brutal man probably gave her many opportunities to cave to fear, but rather than caving, I think she’d learned the key to conquering fear.
I think Abigail was well aware of fear’s nemesis.
Want to know what it is?
Fear’s nemesis is God’s sovereignty.
Fear is conquered by focusing on God’s sovereignty. When a deep understanding of God’s sovereignty takes hold of your heart, fear cannot conquer that deep-rooted level of trust. Abigail understood God’s sovereignty.
Walking in that knowledge gave her the confidence to challenge David to remember what He knew of God:
[box]“Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God . . .” 1 Samuel 25:29[/box]
This was Abigail’s word on God’s Sovereignty. To use today’s vernacular, “God’s got your back, David.” Whether we live or die—God’s taking care of us. Our “times” are in His hand (Psalm 31:14–15).
“God’s got this” doesn’t mean that everything will work out like we want, and it doesn’t even mean we’ll be spared suffering, but it does mean that we can trust God’s plan.
We can trust God’s character.
We can trust God’s Word.
Abigail knew God’s Word about David:
[box]“And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel . . .” (1 Samuel 25:30)[/box]
Abigail believed what God had spoken concerning David and his future.
The courageous woman takes God at His Word and believes that He is going to come through with what He promises.
Abigail influenced David to restrain his anger and trust that God would deal with Nabal. Abigail served as a protector for David’s integrity as the future king. Abigail’s warning served David by helping him to step up to the plate as a godly leader
Not only did David go on to reign over Israel, but the Messiah would come through this lineage as the “Son of David.” I’m thankful for Abigail’s role in preserving David’s integrity, in challenging him to live up to God’s calling on his life, and in preparing the way for the Coming King that we celebrate today.
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid/FreeDigitalPhotos.net