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"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" Matthew 5:9
Scripture tells us that Abigail was intelligent and beautiful.
1 Samuel 25 chronicles a time in her life when a potentially lethal crisis sparked by her harsh and evil husband accentuated her patience, loyalty and humility and ultimately helped shape a nation.
Abigail lived in Carmel and ran a complex household that accommodated a thriving sheep empire. Though her husband, Nabal, was an abusive alcoholic whose name literally meant "foolish," he excelled as a ruthless landowner with a penchant for making money. In one of his greedy schemes, he refused to pay a wily renegade named David who had been eluding the murderous King Saul by hiding in the wilderness of Engedi. David and his band filled their desert days by protecting Nabal's shepherds from the wolves, bears, lions and murderous thieves prowling the land.
At sheep shearing time, Nabal spread wide tables for his servants, harvested his valuable wool and added to his considerable fortune. David asked for compensation for his men's services with "whatever you find at hand" (1 Samuel 25:8). Nabal sent David's messengers back with insults and empty hands.
The injustice fired David's heart and anger forged it into an instrument of revenge. He set out to murder every male in Abigail's family. (1 Samuel 25:34).
Abigail learned of the impending danger from her servants: "Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he [Nabal] is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him" (1 Samuel 25:17).
David, slayer of Goliath and conqueror of "ten thousands" (1 Samuel 21:11) was marching toward Abigail's home - in full battle armor.
We can imagine Abigail's prayers wafting over the hills of Engedi where the crack of battling male Ibex can be heard for miles. This time her family would be crushed between the horns.
Abigail knew, through Godly wisdom that, "a gift in secret subdues anger" (Proverbs 21:14). She gathered her courage and loaded donkeys with food and drink and set out to stop an army.
When Abigail (1 Samuel 25:3) intercepted the avenger on a lonely mountain pass, she got off her donkey and bowed before him. She followed the precept God had spoken through Moses in Deuteronomy 32:35, which Paul quoted centuries later in his letter to the church at Rome when he said, "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,' says the Lord ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:19-21).
Abigail knew that David's violent response to Nabal's arrogance would not only destroy her family, but also taint David's future reign with innocent blood. She prophesied that, "the LORD will certainly make for my lord [David] an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days" (1 Samuel 25:28).
When David saw Abigail bow before him, his anger vaporized. Her humility struck his heart and made him realize he had allowed his pride to take his eyes off of God's purpose for his life. He said to Abigail, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand" (1 Samuel 25:32-33).
God would not have blessed David if he had returned Nabal's evil with evil. Jesus spoke of those like Abigail when he said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). Truly it could be said of Abigail, "She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue" (Proverbs 31:26).
Abigail not only quieted David by demonstrating how God's servants should act by humbling herself before the future king, she used the opportunity to write on his softened heart by confronting him with his sin.
Later, after Saul had died and David reigned on his throne, he was able to say, because of Abigail's actions, "I have not done evil by turning from my Lord" (Psalm 18:20).
Abigail was set forth as our example (James 5:10). The same God who worked in Abigail works in us.
Written by: Patrick Davis