Abigail

Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

20 As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21 David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. 22 May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!”

23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord,and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.

28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”

35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.

39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.”

Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. 40 His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.”

41 She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife.

(1 Samuel 25:18-42)

I looked for the right words for this one to wrap up this amazing study on the Word’s Women today, but honestly?  Max Lucado does it better.  I pray your heart is just as moved as mine is.

“Meekness saved the day that day.  Abigail’s gentleness reversed a river of anger.  Humility has such power.  Apologies can disarm arguments.  Contrition can defuse rage.  Olive branches do more good than battle-axes ever will.  ‘Soft speech can break bones’ (Proverbs 25:15).

Abigail teaches so much.  The contagious power of kindness.  The strength of a gentle heart.  Her greatest lesson, however, is to take our eyes from her beauty and set them on someone else’s.  She lifts our thoughts from a rural trail to a Jerusalem cross.  Abigail never knew Jesus.  She lived a thousand years before His sacrifice.  Nevertheless, her story prefigures his life.

Abigail placed herself between David and Nabal.  Jesus placed Himself between God and us.  Abigail volunteered to be punished for Nabal’s sins.  Jesus allowed heaven to punish him for yours and mine.  Abigail turned away the anger of David.  Didn’t Christ shield you from God’s?

He was our ‘Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity-the man Christ Jesus.  He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone’ (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Who is a mediator but one who stands in between?  And what did Christ do but stand in between God’s anger and our punishment?  Christ intercepted the wrath of heaven.

What kind of person would take the blame for something he didn’t do?  When you find the adjective, attach it to Jesus.  ‘God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on Him, on Him’ (Isaiah 53:6).  God treated His innocent Son like the guilty human race, His Holy One like a lying scoundrel, His Abigail like a Nabal.

Christ lived the life we could not live and took the punishment we could not take to offer the hope we cannot resist.  His sacrifice begs us to ask this question:  if He so loved us, can we not love each other?  Having been forgiven, can we not forgive?  Having feasted at the table of grace, can we not share a few crumbs? ‘My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other’ (1 John 4:11).

Do you find your Nabal world hard to stomach?  Then do what David did:  stop staring at Nabal.  Shift your gaze to Christ.  Look more at the Mediator and less at the troublemakers.  ‘Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good’ (Romans 12:21).

One prisoner can change a camp.  One Abigail can save a family.  Be the beauty amidst your beasts and see what happens.”

-Max Lucado, “Cast of Characters”