Nabal, the fool!

Scripture reading for March 24: 1st Samuel 24-26

Have you ever known someone who was hard to get along with?  Not only that, they were rich and had lots of money and refused to help those who helped them?  Nabal was such a man whose record is written down for us to ponder.

Nabal was a “Calebite”, a descendant of Caleb, the faithful spy and conqueror of giants.  Nabal was described as being “surly and mean in his dealings”. (1st Samuel 25:3)  One of his own servants also described Nabal as a man who was “such a wicked man that no one could talk to him”. (1st Samuel 25:17)  He liked to party and alcohol was also a factor in his reputation.  (1st Samuel 25:36) If he were around today, he would fit in well with many men in our world: arrogance, alcohol, money, and beautiful women leading to a surly and mean disposition which most people find difficult to get along with. Looking at Nabal’s life is like watching one of today’s popular soap operas!

Nabal was married to a Abigail, a woman described as “intelligent and beautiful”.  It is interesting how God places people together.  Often our mate is the one who can help us with our own sins and weaknesses.  It was that way in this marriage. Hearing how arrogantly her husband had treated the servants of David, who had helped protect Nabal’s herds, she quickly took action to avert a disaster.  She was like the godly woman in Proverbs 31 who was working for her husband’s good.  Abigail took goods and met David and his men as they were coming to seek revenge.  She appealed to David, humbly asking for his favor.  David listened and relented.  Through his godly woman, he heard the voice of God and was spared the shedding of innocent blood.

Returning home, Abigail found her husband at a party, drunk.  She waited until morning to tell him what she had done.  When Nabal heard about her kindness, God struck him with what appears to be a stroke.  The scripture says that Nabal “became like a stone”.  When you are mean and surly and your heart gets hard, the consequences can be deadly. On the other hand, because of Abigail’s  kindness and good sense, David asked her to marry him.  What a turn of events!

What lessons can we learn for our lives today?  First, mean and surly people cause trouble.  Alcohol is a source of great trouble in families and costs individuals their health and often their soul!  Second, revenge belongs to God alone.  He can and will repay!  Sometimes God’s timing is not as precise as in our story today, but God knows what is best and needed.  He wants none to perish, but all to come to repentance if possible.  He gives each person a chance. Third, when we are humble, kind, and respect others, God will and does reward us.  Abigail was well taken care of.  She was a good wife to her mean and surly husband.  She could become a good wife to David, king of Israel!   You reap what you sow!

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