I Samuel 25:2-42 (HCSB)
Life does not always start out like we want. Abigail’s life was difficult. She was married to a harsh, evil drunkard named Nabal. In the Old Testament, this was quite an indictment! Those were harsh days, with little or no law and order, where even David, with all his sins, was considered a great man of God. Nabal was worse than we can imagine in our day. Abigail did not have the opportunities available to her that we have. She would not have been able to make it on her own or even to seek help from the local police to deal with her husband. In spite of Nabal, however, she feared God and managed her situation as best she could.
Then one day everything changed. Her misfortune turned to fortune. At first it seemed all was lost. Nabal had refused to offer hospitality to David in spite of the fact that David had protected Nabal’s servants and herds. David was furious at this ungrateful man. David in his anger was going to kill every male in Nabal’s household, his family and his servants. A servant came running to tell Abigail. They were in a desperate situation. Many innocent lives were about to be lost over one man’s evil and another man’s vindication. Abigail acted quickly and wisely. She had her servants prepare a generous gift of bread, wine, meat, fruit and grain. She knew there was no reasoning with her husband, but possibly David could be persuaded to stop the violence. As Abigail met David on the trail, her appeal was wise and beautiful. Abigail was honest about her situation. She gave honor to David and acknowledged the favor of the Lord upon him. Finally, she appealed to his character. She implored him to act honorably, so he would have no guilt. In other words, she told David, you are too good a man to kill innocent people in revenge for one man’s evil; do not act in a way you will regret later.
David was impressed by Abigail’s courage and wisdom. She had arrived just in the nick of time. David recognized God had sent her. He told her, “Blessed is your discernment and blessed are you ... . Go home in peace. See, I have heard what you said and have granted your request”(I Sam. 25:33, 35).
Abigail went home and waited for her husband to recover from his drunken state before she told him what she had done. He did not take the news well and God dealt with Nabal. He died just a few days later. No longer would he abuse people. When David found out Nabal had died, he asked for Abigail to become his wife. She accepted and was cared for the rest of her life. God used a desperate circumstance to bring stability to Abigail’s life.
Abigail teaches me the value of knowing how to make a wise appeal. We live in a messed up world. Even the best of leaders make tragic mistakes. One of the reasons I believe godly women are put on this Earth is to influence others. Giving a wise word in the right moment with the right attitude can make a huge difference. “A word spoken at the right time is like golden apples on a silver tray” (Prov. 25:11). I am asking God to help me think before I speak. I want to learn how to see a critical moment and respond with wisdom and grace for the good of others.
Abigail also speaks to women who find themselves in desperate situations. God is fully aware of where women are and the challenges they face. I have compassion for women who live in abusive situations. Abigail shows a way out. She trusted God. She sought help. She was honest about her circumstances. She courageously took action to protect herself and her loved ones.
I believe men need to be leaders in the home, but there are times when a woman has to take action to protect herself and her family. This was not an issue of inconsideration on the part of her husband; this was a life or death issue. Abigail bravely and wisely did the right thing and God took care of her to encourage those who desperately need God’s help.