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!
Scripture reading for February 4th: Leviticus 8-10
Preacher’s kids are sometimes a mess! (Not mine of course!) In today’s reading the sons of Aaron and nephews of Moses committed a “deadly” sin! They had experienced the miraculous deliverance of the plagues and seen God act in power at the Red Sea when the Egyptian army was drowned. They had witnessed the miraculous events of the journey, eaten the “manna” and heard God’s voice on the mountain. They were dressed, instructed, and anointed for ministry along with their father and other brothers. They were sprinkled with the blood of sacrifice. (Leviticus 8) You would think that they knew enough to take seriously God’s power and presence! But sometimes, those in ministry or close to it, become complacent. Worse yet, they behaved disrespectfully towards God in front of others who were looking to them for spiritual leadership!
Nadab and Abihu had witnessed Moses and Aaron going into the Tent of Meeting and the visible Glory of the Lord appearing to the people. (Leviticus 9:23-24.) Fire came from the Lord and consumed the sacrifice. All the people shouted for joy and fell face down. Evidently, Nadab and Abihu were fascinated with the Tent of Meeting. They decided to go in there themselves and experience God. They took “strange” fire with them and God took their lives right on the spot. Why, you ask? Wasn’t this a sin of “unintentional” ignorance? What was this “strange” fire?
It appears that these boys might have been drunk. In Leviticus 10:8-11, Aaron warns his other sons not to drink wine or any other fermented drink when they went into the Tent of Meeting! Paul the Apostle also gives the same warning to believers: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery, instead be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) God is not mocked and holds those with more responsibility accountable for their conduct! We must be wise and respectful in our handling of the “holy things” and when approaching God in worship! We can bring judgment on ourselves! (1st Corinthians 11:27-34) In Corinth, some were sick and others died because of improper conduct during the Lord’s supper!
Alcohol is not for those in the church! Alcohol has caused many to stumble and has destroyed many families and believer’s testimonies. We have the Holy Spirit and He lives in us! We are responsible to God for our witness and behavior before our family, believers and a lost world! Please meditate on these Scriptures today and allow the Lord to lead you in your conduct and worship! Confess and repent quickly! God doesn’t want you to die! (2nd Peter 3:9)