One of the duties of the daughters of Eve is the duty of helping their man. Remember that the woman who fears the Lord enriches her husband (Proverbs 31:11). She reinforces him in many ways. And one of the most exciting ways she does so is when he’s about to make a fool of himself. The stakes are high. He’s out of sorts. He’s given into that bullish nature that is in man. He’s set in his ways. He’s locked horns, but in the wrong spirit, with the wrong buck, and in the wrong forest. Now ladies, don’t trip your man up when he has locked horns in a good fight. He must wage the good warfare. But, when he determines to fight like a fool, then you’re there to help him trust God and choose a better path. Abigail is a prime example of how to do just that. We hear her story in 1 Samuel chapter 25.
The Text – A Summary
Samuel’s death is mentioned at the outset. This news is worthy of lamentation. The prophet Samuel repeatedly brought much needed wisdom from above. He checked Israel when they demanded a worldly king. He rebuked Saul when he acted like one. It was, after all, Samuel who saved Israel from the Philistines through sacrifice. He set up the memorial stone called Ebenezer, saying, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” But, Samuel is now dead. And David and Nabal act as if our help comes from ourselves rather than from God.
The story can be examined under three divisions. First, is the confrontation between David’s servants and Nabal. Second, is the confrontation between Abigail and David. And finally, there is a confrontation between Nabal and God.
In verse 1 through 13 we have the confrontation between David’s servants and Nabal. Nabal, a dumb, rich, and harsh man was married to a beautiful and wise woman, Abigail. When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep in Carmel, he sent servants to request provisions from Nabal. David had protected Nabal’s shepherds in the fields, and so a humble request for compensation was fitting. But Nabal scoffed at David’s servants. We can hear the self-centered folly in Nabal’s reply. In verse 11 he responds, “Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?” When David hears, his response is simply, “Ever man strap on his sword!”
In verse 14 through 35 we have the second confrontation, this one between Abigail and David. One of the servants let her in on her husband’s stupidity. She quickly provides provisions, sending her servants to David with them. She follows, not telling her husband what she has done. One woman approaches an enraged anointed king on the road with his 400 armed men. In this encounter we have one of the most lovely, shrewd, womanly, delicate, godly, and brave examples of confrontation imaginable. Abigail wrote the book, “The Art of Helping a Man Not Do Something Stupid.” She takes responsibility for what happened even though she was not directly involved. She reminds David of the promises of God, God will make David a sure house (v. 28). She says the Lord has restrained him from “saving with his own hand” (v. 26). David responds with blessing, agreeing the Lord kept him from saving with his own hand (v. 33).
In the final division, Abigail goes home to find Nabal feasting and drunk. In the morning, when the wine had gone out of him, she told him what happened and his heart died within him. Then, he died. Verse 38 tells us how, “the LORD struck Nabal.” David then took Abigail to be his wife.
Abigail and Her Faith
Abigail’s secret weapon was that she was a woman of faith. She trusted God and responded accordingly. She was like the holy women of old who hoped in God and did not fear what was frightening (text). She had reason to worry. It is not hard to imagine her biting her fingernails in the corner, waiting to see what would happen between her puffed up husband and the angry king. But Abigail was concerned with God’s purposes and promises. Her greatest concern was not her own life, but the budding forth of God’s covenant. We know this is the case because of how Abigail persuaded David.
When she came upon David on the road, she fell at the feet of the king. From there, she turned David away from his vengeful path by recounting the promise of God. In verse 28 she says to David, “for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house.” And she goes on, “And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; that this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself” (v. 30-31).
Abigail helped David not be a Saul. She helped him not be a Nabal. She trusted God’s promise. And as she testified to that promise, David was strengthened so that he did not avenge himself with his own hand (v. 33).
Abigail could teach us many more lessons. But this is the heart of the matter: faith in God. That’s the secret sauce for helping your man not be dumb, ladies. Without faith, you can’t help him a lick. With faith, you can move mountains, husbands, kings (Matthew 17:20).