MIRROR OR WINDOW?
Lord God, shepherd of my life, let me remain in you today; living out your will and conforming out your ways.
Read 1 SAMUEL 25:1-22
David, Nabal and Abigail
25 Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David moved down into the Desert of Paran.[a]
2 A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. 3 His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.
4 While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. 5 So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. 6 Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!
7 “‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. 8 Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’”
9 When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited.
10 Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. 11 Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”
12 David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. 13 David said to his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So they did, and David strapped his on as well. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.
14 One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. 15 Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. 16 Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. 17 Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”
18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs[b] of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
20 As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21 David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. 22 May God deal with David,[c] be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!”
- 1 Samuel 25:1 Hebrew and some Septuagint manuscripts; other Septuagint manuscripts Maon
- 1 Samuel 25:18 That is, probably about 60 pounds or about 27 kilograms
- 1 Samuel 25:22 Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew with David’s enemies
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectGod calls us to reflect his image – a testimony for his glory. How do we do that?
My desk is at the top of our house and looks out on my daughter’s primary school. She is at home with a bug today and I have been watching the drop-off spot from my room. Stress levels seem to be running high. I have witnessed three altercations over 15 minutes, one of which involved a car ramming into the rubbish truck and the drivers climbing out to yell at each other!
Humans (and other species) often reflect each other’s behavior, thanks to what scientists call ‘mirror neurons’. In today’s passage, David and his men’s reasonable request for some festival food after the months they’d spent defending Nabal’s flocks is met with an insult (v 10) and a rude and mean refusal (v 11). David’s temper flares – in that moment he is more like Nabal than God’s anointed ruler. ‘You want to repay my good with evil? Fine. I’ll show you evil – I’m going to kill you and all your men’ (v 22).
We don’t have to mirror the behavior we experience from others. We see through a window that looks out onto a whole other landscape. In God’s kingdom, the other cheek is turned and evil is defeated by good (e.g., Matthew 5:38-42).
Do you have any relationships that you find challenging? In what intentional ways can you express God’s love?
Patient One, thank you for your patience with me. Enable me to be patient with others, and deal with my anger in healthy ways.
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