November 21, 2021
Scripture: 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. 1 Samuel 25:23-24 ESV
Observation: The story of Nabal and Abigail is a fascinating contrast of personalities that gives a whole new meaning to the saying that opposites attract. In all likelihood, theirs would have been an arranged marriage. Perhaps Abigail’s parents placed Nabal’s earning capacity over his demeanor? Regardless, as the author of this book tells us, Nabal, a wealthy man, was cantankerous and dispassionate. He not only refused to provide sustenance to David and his men (who had protected Nabal’s servants), but he cursed David. When Abigail learned from her servants of her husband’s folly and David’s intent to wage battle against Nabal, she took action and gathered provisions for David and his men—leading to her plea before David in the above verses.
Takeaway: Honey over vinegar. It never pays to lead with vitriol. In contrast, Abigail demonstrated incredible wisdom and courage. She approached David with humility and made no excuses for her husband. Indeed, Abigail took full responsibility for his shameful and sinful behavior and then asked for permission to speak. Moreover, she came bearing a peace offering of bountiful food and wine. David responded with kindness and spared the lives of their family and servants. Nabal, however, when he learned of his near fate at the sword of David and his men, became fearful and heavy in heart and died ten days later.
Abigail’s response to David also beautifully foreshadows the work of Christ. We, too, have acted foolishly and are deserving of the punishment of spiritual death. But the Son of God bowed low in humility (taking on human form) and assumed full responsibility for our sinful behavior. And, like Abigail, he offered the best of his wealth, his very life, to ransom his family from the consequences of sin and bring reconciliation. Honey over vinegar satiates the fury of the offended.
Prayer: Father God, we earnestly thank you for the gift of your Son, who has offered his best to you to bring us forgiveness of sins and reconciliation. Would you please help us follow the examples of your Son and Abigail when seeking the forgiveness of others by exercising humility, by making no excuses, and by leading with words of honey that bring reconciliation and peace? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling