Read: 1 Samuel 25:1-44
David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 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.” 1 Samuel 25:32-34
From our cultural perspective, David’s request for food for his men from Nabal may seem presumptive, even rude. However, in their culture, not only was it customary to share food with travelers, but in this case, David and his men had spent a season protecting Nabal’s shepherds and flocks and had done this so well that Nabal’s shepherds credited their safety to David and his men. Consequently, a banquet of appreciation would have been a reasonable ‘thank you.’
But there’s no offer of thanks, and when David asks for some ‘payment,’ Nabal rejects and insults David’s men. Now, not only is David hungry; he is also angry. He’s hangry.
Maybe you saw the Snickers Super Bowl commercial this year where Marcia from the Brady Bunch is so hungry she’s hangry. So she eats a Snickers bar and she’s no longer hangry. She’s much better. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqbomTIWCZ8)
Ironically, in this commercial they use the phrase, “an eye for an eye.” This was a basic Jewish rule: when taking revenge, don’t take any more than was taken from you. If someone took your eye, you could take their eye, but nothing more; certainly not their life. David would’ve been very familiar with this principle.
But here, David is so angry, he’s ready to kill all the men in Nabal’s house. Nabal had a house full of servants, who most likely had families living nearby; a slaughter of all these men would’ve been devastating far beyond the walls of Nabal’s house. And, David, who was called to follow God, anointed as King, was about to act outside of God’s direction.
Then Abigail shows up and she offers David something that removes his anger. Not a Snickers. That would have been unlikely. However it was equally unlikely in this culture, where women were considered no better than slaves, for Abigail to be an agent of influence. But unlikely Abigail steps in, and through her intelligence, humility and generosity, David regains perspective and gives glory to God as the source of justice (vs 39). Abigail did not focus on her (lack of) position, she focused on what she had to offer in the situation.
She became a catalyst in saving the lives of those in her household and a catalyst in stopping those who would’ve been guilty of taking vengeance into their own hands; instead, judgment was relinquished to God, where it ought to be (Romans 12:19).
Ephesians 4:26 tells us, “Be angry, and do not sin.” Being angry isn’t the issue. What we do with anger is the issue. There may not always be a Snickers or an Abigail to step in with a peace offering, but we’ve been offered the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and to direct us in those times. We have all we need (2 Peter 1:3).
And, when you belong to God, you don’t need to have a prestigious title to play a significant role (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). God will use His Spirit in you to be His agent as you come alongside others on His behalf.
Father, thank you for having the best plan in mind for our lives. Thank you for taking care of us as we seek to follow you. When you show us your way, please cause your Spirit to move us to the action of submission to you alone – whether we need to be humbled from a high position, or emboldened from a humble position. Remind us that you are near. Amen.