THE LAST STRAW
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!”
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.
‘Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.’1
Christians sometimes believe that feeling angry is wrong and try to suppress such emotions. However, anger signals (whether correctly or not) that we feel wronged and this needs to be acknowledged before we can release it. What causes damage is when we act on our anger: words and actions fueled by rage may lead to destructive consequences, whether through hurtful words, spiteful action that harms someone’s reputation or property, or even violence resulting in physical injury.
David is confronted with genuine injustice and is rightly outraged. By the admission of Nabal’s own servant, the future king’s men were good to the shepherds, a wall of protection for them (vs 15,16). Even in hiding, David acted with an awareness of his royal duties in looking after others. When he turns to this wealthy man for provisions, the services he rendered and the rules of hospitality, especially to one from his own tribe of Judah (Nabal is a Calebite – v 3),2 would demand generosity. This is all the more so as Nabal could afford to be open-handed (v 2). His response is not only churlish and mean, but a studied insult with a political edge: David is merely a rebellious servant to Saul, his master (v 10).
As David moves toward the throne, a recurring challenge is how he handles power. Earlier, he refused to use it to seize the throne. Now, he is on the verge of employing power for revenge. He needs to leave justice and his own vindication in God’s hands. Sometimes God places us repeatedly into contexts where we are confronted by the same lesson in different situations, so that it might become deeply ingrained in us.
Lord, help us to reconcile with others, if possible, to let go of anger and resentment against family, friends, or colleagues and work in the hearts of those who cannot let go of hurt. Let not bitterness take root in our hearts.
Patient One, thank you for your patience with me. Enable me to be patient with others, and deal with my anger in healthy ways.
1 Eph 4:26,27, NASB 2 Josh 15:13; also, this Carmel is in Judah (Josh 15:20,55) and not in the north (1 Kings 18)
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