Sermon : 1 Samuel 25
David and Abigail ( 25:1- 44 )
The famous narrative which we are studying looks at two different hearts. The heart of Abigail which was adhering to G’d as oppose to her husband Nabal who’s heart was unable to allow G’d to work in it.Illustration
A man I had met many years ago had acquired much wealth through the stock exchange and making good investments. He could not praise G’d for his increase. Instead he felt angry at the Lord because in his eyes he was now too elderly to benefit from His finical increase. Conversely people I knew I knew couldn’t do enough to help people and their heart was overflowing with compassion and mercy
This article aims to look at the overarching theme of this passage while making it relevant for everyday living. As we look go through this narrative we can see how sin can harden the heart. Obviously from Jewish prospective the concept of sin is seen slightly differently than a Christian/Messianic prospective. Judaism sees that a violation of any of any of the commandments in the Torah to be a sin. It teaches that sin is seen to be an act as oppose to a state of being. Man according to Judaism was not created with an inclination to do evil, but has that inclination "from his youth." (Genesis 8:21). Conversely a belief in Jesus sees that man is born into sin and no man can be made riotousness without a mediator – a Messiah which as a Messianic believer we see as Y’shua.
When we look at at Nabal in this passage it is self-explanatory that he a hard hearted rich man who had everything but he refused to help those in need. On the other, his wife Abigail had a soft kind heart. She knew G’d, and she assisted David and this meant heaping blessings on her own head.
A point to consider while expanding on the passage
A hard heart as oppose to a soft heart
Earlier in the narrative we read that after Samuel had died , David meets in Maon ,Nabal a rich foolish and hard hearted man. His wife Abigail is beautiful, clever wise. ( vv 1-3).David sends a delegation to Nabal (meaning fool)to ask him for provision as a payment for the protection that his men have provided to Nabal (vv 4-8). The foolish Nabal refuses the request and treats them as that of a rebellious slave leading David and 400 to engage battle against him. David ‘s young men warn Abigail of what David plans to do and the difficulty of talking with their-good for nothing Master. Without telling her husband Abigail sets up to pacify David taking with her provision to give to him (vv 9-20)
Meanwhile David is set to take revenge on Nabal because of his evil heart and lack of gratitude but Abigail humbly asks David not to harm her foolish husband .She appeals to his good heart and to God’s love for David. She also asks that he would remember her (vv 23: 31).
David agrees to listen to wise Abigail and he spares Nabal and his family and he sent her home. Abigail waits until morning for Nabal to come out of his drunken stupor to tell him about David. His heart becomes stone and he dies 10 days later (vv 32-38)
David is full of praises for God for using Abigail stopping him killing Nabal and all his family and for God’s justice. He then asks Abigail to come to him and he marries her (vv 39-42).
David also married Ahinoam, but Saul gave Michal to another (vv 43-44).We can see here how Nabal’s heart of stone was his undoing while God was able to bless Abigail because in spite of her good looks and wealth she was kind and helpful and willing to help the poor. Her servants must really have loved her to want to warn her of the incoming disaster.But before I go on I will endeavor to unpack these passages.
Ref to 1 Sam.25 v 1
Samuel is dead. Not much is said about his death but only that all Israel mourned for him; this shows Samuel great importance. Saul was king but Samuel had been the spiritual father and leader of Israel. From a very young age he was obedient to God’s commands. Samuel was Israel’s powerful intercessor:
1 Samuel 7: 8-9
Please plead with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistine, they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burn offering, He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered.
When Samuel dies the prayers of intercession for the Jewish people also cease. Moses and Samuel are the two great example (in the Hebrew Bible of )of godly intercessor:
Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people. I would not help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight.Intercessors are very important for those who want to follow God. It is a very serious thing when the voice of an intercessor ceases.
The book of Hebrews reads:
Those who were high priests under the Law of Moses were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed His Son with an oath, and His Son has been made perfect forever (Hebrew 7: 28)
Hence in Hebrew 7: 25 we can read:
Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through Him. He lives forever and He pleads with G’d on our behalf.
Vv ( 1- 3)
If we carry on expounding the passage we see how David is a true king. He looks after the people of Israel e like a pastor looks after his own sheep. He has looked after Nabal’s sheep as if they were his own. David does not asks any payment from Nabal for himself but that Nabal , would give provision to the men that had been looking after him, his family and his goods. Nabal is described as a wealthy man but his own name which in Hebrew means “a fool” tells of someone who although very rich, is very harsh evil and dishonest . Nabal has a heart of stones, he says foolish things, plots evil, and neither feeds or gives drink to those who are hungry or thirsty.He book of Isaiah says of such people:...In that day ungodly fools will not be heroes. Wealthy cheaters will not be respected as outstanding citizens. Everyone will recognize ungodly fools for what they are. They spread lies about the Lord, they deprive the hungry of food and give no water to the thirsty. (Isaiah 32: 35) Abigail was the opposite of her husband. Her name in Hebrew means something to the effect of “my (divine) father rejoices”. While Abigail was of a loving nature and kind ,Nabal was harsh in character and his actions were evil.
Also Nabal was a Calabite – a descendent of Caleb who was faithful in the spying out the land so that Joshua and the people of Israel could enter into the Land promised to them by G’d. Because of this he was promised the land with its centre at Hebron, we can read this in
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."
And then again we can read in Number 14:24
But because my servant Caleb has different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendents will inherit.
Joshua 14:13- 14:
...And Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneth as an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the Kennizite to this day because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.
Hebron was 8 miles from Maon. David eventual marriage in this prominent family helps for us to see how he had political strength to be anointed in Hebron after Saul‘s death :
We read in 2 Sam 2: 1-2:
In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up to on of the towns of Judah? he asked. The Lord said “Go up” . David asked, “Where shall I go ? “ To Hebron, “ the Lord answered. So David went up there with his two wives Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
When David heard that Nabal was in the vicinity he sent messengers to him. His ten-person delegation carried out a thorough and courteous procedure. David calls Nabal” my brother” wishing him and his all family and that he had peace. David only shows Nabal respect and reverence.
Although David was the anointed of God through Samuel, and even if Samuel and Jonathan had accepted his coming kingship, (1 Sam. 23:17; 24-2) when his delegation came to Nabal acted as if did not know who David was or had never heard of him, as David and his men as if were slaves and why should he give them food and drinks.
David was angry and with 400 of his men, he was going to go to battle against Nabal.
But by going to battle against a fool David was dishonour himself. Fortunately for David one of Nabal’s young men went to Abigail and told her what was going to happen. They implored Abigail to intervene because they were frightened of David’s military power; they probably had heard his praised sang:
1 Sam. 18:7 So the women sang as they danced, and said: “ Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousand”
Nabal, a fool was scorning the future king David. On the other end the clever Abigail knew what she had to do and took plenty of provision to David. Wisely Abigail did not tell her husband what she was going to do. She met David just on time as he was setting towards Nabal.
In these verses we can read of David depressive thinking that he had received evil for good, reminiscent of what Saul had done to him ( 24:18) after he refrained to kill him in the cave but this time he is has not got a forgiving heart but he is full of revenge for Nabal.
As soon as Abigail sees David she humbles herself before him. She is willing to take the blame for what her husband has done. She is loyal and subservient; she calls David, my lord. She agrees that Nabal is a fool, like his name. Abigail does not only wants to save herself but also all her household. Abigail points out to David that by killing Nabal, a fool, he would stain himself and be no better than Nabal himself. She tells him to remember her when he becomes a king. We can parallel this in the passage when the brigand said to Jesus to remember him when He went to Paradise:”
Luke 23:42 Then he said:” Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom”
Abigail tells him that his noble behaviour will bring him blessings and gives him the assurance that God will give him a everlasting house. David deserves to be a king because he is fighting the wars of God. God causes Abigail to prophesy David’s kingship but there must be no unnecessary shed of blood.
(Vv 32- 38)
Abigail is part of God’s plan for David and his future kingship. Abigail has saved David from his foolishness and this was God’s doing. David sends her away in peace. The blessings which should have fallen on Nabal who had become the cursed one, fell instead on Abigail. When Abigail arrives home is the husband who foolishly is celebrating like a king instead of David being the one who celebrates. His excesses are a true contrast to denial of David’s request for food and drinks. Nabal feasted like a king but he rejected the lawful request of the future king. Abigail does not tell him anything. It is only in the morning when the festivity have ceased and he is sober she tells him about David. Nabal’s previous merry heart “dies” becomes like stone. Ezekiel also spoke of a disobedient, irresponsible heart of stone:
Ezekiel 36: 26 And I will give you a new heart, with new a right desire, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart”
Nabal dies because of his own sin. He does not want to repent. God takes revenge, and David and Abigail remain blessed.
( Vv 39:44)
When David hears that Nabal is dead he blesses God for not letting him stain his kingship with a foolish act and by turning Nabal’s evil on his own head. David then sends for Abigail and asks her as a wife and she humbly obeys him and accepts his hand in marriage. David also married Ahinoham .
Forgiveness is never easy
Forgiveness is never easy to do. David had to forgive Nabal and allow God to bring justice. Forgiveness is always necessary and we have to keep on doing even when we do not feel like it, if we do not forgive we hurt Jesus far more than we are hurt and we can’t put a number on how many times we should forgive. Jesus wants us to give total forgiveness. Anything that anyone that they may have done to us, be tittle-tattle, going behind our back or whatever is inconsequential compared with what our sin has done to G’d. When we choose not to forgive we hurt ourselves and we stop God’s working in our life.
Be humble and you will be lifted.
Forgiveness leads to humility. If we take Y’shua teachings He always encourages us to be humble. Nabal was not humble. Instead of giving place of honour to the king he took the glory on himself. He was the one that was rich, he had done it, he was the one that should decide who to give to. It is always easy to want the best for oneself, but we need to make sure that we also want the best for others. Y’shua who as Messianic believers believe is the king of all Kings came as a Servant. He did not choose to be served but to serve. He demonstrates to us that in G’d’s Kingdom is more important to serve others than to be served. The more we humble ourselves and serve others the more we please Him and we become like Him. Abigail, Nabal’s humble wife had a servant’s heart and she was moved by David the king to higher places in the kingdom.
Share with others who have less
Nabal did not want to share what he had with those who had not. He looked down at David and at his men. He was not grateful that they protected him from his enemy. What about us. Who do we choose to share with and why? It is good to have good friends and share with them but Jesus wants us to do more. He wants us to share with those who we know are in need. It does not have to be just money. It could be a listening hears, a visit, an invite for dinner to someone who is lonely. This pleases the heart of G’d. They may seem little to us, not important, but they can be of great blessings to others.
The article has looked at the characters of Nabal, Abigail and David, contrasting the different characters. We can ask ourselves what character we are trying to exhibit. G’d has called us to forgive, love and serve first of all one another and those who are weakest and most vulnerable members of our society as well as those who because they are rich they think they do not need the Gospel and choose a stony heart and to live a life based on their own want and needs. Without turning to the Messiah than it is impossible to have a soft and contrite heart and we stand condemned because we all fall short and no human is without fault.