Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected and guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missing of all that belonged to him; and he has repaid me evil for good.
1 Samuel 25:21 AMP
We can probably all think of someone in our lives who has “repaid us evil for good“.
Read full chapter here: https://www.bible.com/bible/116/1SA.25.NLT
Those of us who have been beaten down by people who have repaid evil for good in our lives — might have learned over time the same initial self-defensive response as David. David proclaimed that he would go and destroy them all. Almost a “kill them all and let God sort them out” mentality. This man, David, a man described in the Bible as “being a man after God’s own heart” — set his mind upon the utter destruction of this fool and everything associated with him. I can understand this perspective.
There are people who I feel have wronged me so badly that I could see justice in God crushing and humiliating them, in their businesses and pursuits being dashed upon the rocks, and in their wicked ways being made an example for others to avoid. But I am reminded of what Proverbs tells us on this topic of our enemies falling or stumbling:
Do not rejoice and gloat when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad [in self-righteousness] when he stumbles, Or the Lord will see your gloating and be displeased, And turn His anger away from your enemy.
Proverbs 24:17-18 AMP
In this story in 1 Samuel 25, neither Nabal, the harsh and evil fool in this story, nor David, the angry and offended warrior king, are the ones that we want to model when it comes to initial responses and reactions. But if you’ve ever felt hurt or betrayed, you can probably at least understand where they were both coming from.
Nabal is thinking to himself, “Why should I help this person, let him help himself” like we might say when we encounter someone with a request, a need, or a challenge that “isn’t my problem”. Like my reaction just today towards the homeless guy that approached me in downtown Greenville as I bought my Chickfila sandwich for lunch — when I put my headphones back on my ears quickly, just in case he was going to hit me up for some money. Albeit, David was no complete stranger to Nabal, so this was a bit different — but I can put myself in the shoes of this foolish man pretty easily.
And here David was, mourning the death of Samuel out in the wilderness with his men, being a blessing to Nabal’s men and offering them protection, and he extended a blessing to Nabal:
and this is what you shall say, ‘ Have a long life! Peace be to you, and peace to your house, and peace to all that you have.
1 Samuel 25:6 AMP
Nabal and his men were celebrating a festive day, the time of shearing, and David simply asked if Nabal might show his men favor and let them “have some of the leftovers”.
Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your sight [and be well-treated], for we have come on a good (festive) day. Please, give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’ ”
1 Samuel 25:8 AMP
Matthew Henry’s commentary has to say of verse 8:
“Riches make men look great in the eye of the world; but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He had no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, and ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a man that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a man as David suffers want!“
I have recently encountered a man in India who runs an orphanage, who messages me most days through Facebook Messenger with blessings:
Having seen similar circumstances in the past, and having discovered some to be scam artists panhandling for money by targeting Christians in private over the Internet, I wanted to validate this need, when the inevitable request to send money came. So I checked with a friend who had confirmed that the need in this instance was indeed real. I was immediately reminded of “heroes” like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, George Mueller, and Harriet Tubman (read more: http://www.linnysaunders.com/2017/11/heroes-2.html ).
Day after day, he blesses me with his messages, and many days, I have ignored them — expecting they were just contrivances meant to open conversations so that he can ask for money. The name Nabal means “fool”, and when I look at how I many times respond to those in need around me, I feel quite foolish. Yes, I sometimes help, but even then, I “feel good about myself” for having helped someone in need — it becomes a “big deal” in my own mind that I helped someone else. How foolish is that!!! God has given to me abundantly with excess, and I cling to it with closed fist as if it isn’t meant for me to be a blessing to others! As if helping and loving and serving those in need is supposed to be some unique/odd occasion instead of my very way of consistently doing life.
Lord, forgive me for seeing things wrongly and seeing enemies — either from the perspective of Nabal or David.
So let’s look at the Peacemaker in this story. Her name is Abigail. She is Nabal’s wife and when she sees what her foolish husband, Nabal, has done, she “hurries” to make peace. It is pointed out in both verses 18 and again in verse 23 that she did not hesitate, but she hurried to meet the need and to make peace. And in verse 24, she even asks that the blame fall on her. She then proceeds to bless David and his men, not just with physical provision, but with a proclamation of spiritual blessing upon them in verses 28-31. Abigail shines like a bright light in this moment and reminds me of another one willing to take blame for our sin, willing to intercede on our behalf, willing to provide provision without question or delay to meet the need, willing to be a peacemaker — His name is Jesus, and He is clearly Lord in this story.
We can read on to see how Abigail was freed by the Lord from her foolish husband, and how she was blessed greatly. I wonder how many opportunities we might miss to be the blessing for the glory of God because we delay, we procrastinate, we avoid — instead of hurrying to be the peacemaker, to meet the need, to be the light of love in the midst of dark and challenging situations?
If you would like to run towards a need, I encourage you to reach out to someone in need. Maybe check out this man who has contacted me and communicated his need to pray for them and see how you might be a blessing: https://www.facebook.com/100024177901842/posts/856366498512606/?app=fbl
Maybe consider donating to help him fill the need: https://paypal.me/MallikRao?locale.x=en_GB
I cannot speak to all of the particulars of this man’s orphanage or ministry. But he repeatedly offers me words of encouragement and an opportunity to be a blessing for the glory of God. Abigail didn’t run hurriedly towards the need because she thought she would eventually be blessed as David’s wife — she saw the need was urgent and she interceded. The blessing was “added to her” because she was “seeking first God’s way”.
“Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life? And why are you worried about clothes? See how the lilies and wildflowers of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin [wool to make clothing], yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive and green today and tomorrow is [cut and] thrown [as fuel] into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Therefore do not worry or be anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted), saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25-34 AMP
“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted]. “Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied. “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God. “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God. “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:3-12 AMP