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Don’t Party Too Soon (Nabal and Abigail)

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. About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.

1 Samuel 25:37-38

READ 1 Samuel 25:5-38.

Nabal had everything, but he was mean, surly, angry, rude, and cocky. God blessed him with great possessions and great wealth. His wife, Abigail, was beautiful and intelligent.  And unbeknownst to him, he also had protection. While hiding from Saul, David and his men, without being asked, ensured that no one robbed Nabal or took advantage of his servants. 

One day David’s men asked Nabal for assistance, and Nabal treated them like stray dogs. Little did he know, he offended the wrong man. When David’s servants returned to tell him Nabal’s response to them, he was incensed. He immediately strapped up, ready for war! And to think, while David was preparing for a fight, Nabal was preparing his last feast; a banquet fit for a king - not knowing that he was less than two weeks from his final breath. 

Acting quickly, Abigail, Nabal’s wife, packed up any and everything she could think of to beg David’s forgiveness. She knew he was the anointed king of Israel. She knew he was hiding from Saul. She heard the songs sung about this warrior slaying tens of thousands. Fearing for her life and the lives of her household, Abigail took matters into her own hands, loaded a donkey, and went on her way. 

David’s response to Abigail showcases her intelligence. She utilized all she had - humility, compliments, and graciousness. David immediately softened, accepting her gifts and sparing the lives of all of the men in Nabal’s charge. When she returned, she waited a day to let Nabal know what happened. Hearing the story, his heart hardened one last time, turning to stone. He was dead in a few days. 

It is easy to think you have everything yet still lack the essential things in life. Undoubtedly this wasn't the first time Abigail saved Nabal from destroying everything. Nabal had no clue that everything he had was likely because of those around him - including his wife, his servants and even, strangers like David and his men. Unfortunately, he died before he learned the lesson. 

Thought Questions 

  • Are you in danger of celebrating yourself and missing the ones who helped you get there? How can you change course and make intentional efforts to show appreciation to the individuals who support you?
  • Maybe you are Abigail in this story. How can you continue to maintain a sense of humility beside individuals who are not so kind? What are some techniques to rise above the ungodly behavior that surrounds you?

Life Lessons

  • Meanness and evil intentions have no place in the kingdom of God. If you find that you are harboring ill will and acting on these feelings towards others, seek God’s help now. Tomorrow may be too late.
  • Sometimes, it may seem like you are holding things together all alone. Being the bigger person, making up for someone else’s mistakes and yet receiving little recognition. Do not become weary - your time of celebration will come, if not on earth, then in eternity. 

Further Study

Read 1 Peter 5:6. Nabal took way too much credit for all he owned. How can you maintain a sense of humility and celebrate others around you? Work with your spouse to discuss and list ways to be humble and wait patiently for God to exalt you.