Call to Worship October 10 2012

Expository Thoughts on 1 Samuel 25

No one likes to be slighted, especially without cause. David was no different than most people, and being snubbed set him off to unreasonable proportions in this particular narrative. He encountered an irritable, worthless fool named Nabal. Fool? Yes, that is what his name meant (25:25).[1] He acted that way apparently with some regularity according to his servant and his wife (17, 25). Also, David recognized it firsthand and was moving in the direction of putting this fool and his folly to a sharp end (10-13). David needed a further lesson in God’s purpose, provision, and protection. 

Fools will find and foster folly like squirrels dancing in front of car tires. You know how that inevitably ends. The question was not if Nabal would meet his foolish end, but how, and by whose hand. As David set out to defend his honor, God had other plans established long before. Abigail is certainly of most importance in the matter, but do not forget God’s use of one of Nabal’s servants.[2] He first alerted Abigail to the surly “get off my lawn” attitude of her husband and explained David’s coming retribution (14-17). So God used a servant to bring about the meeting with Abigail.

Once Abigail was alerted, she acted with the complete opposite nature and attitude from Nabal. She readied the servants, the food, and the gifts. Then the servants and their peace offering were sent on before her to intersect with David’s reckoning party. Abigail, upon seeing David, treated him as the anointed king. She bowed before him and called upon him to recognize Nabal for what he was according to his name and actions. She confronted his rationale to return bloodshed to all the men for the actions of one fool. Furthermore, she reminded him that his purpose, provision, and protection were bound inseparably to the one covenant LORD, who was David’s God (18-31). 

In the previous chapter, God brought to David’s mind a remembrance of His word concerning his anointed. David recounted it to his men and did not kill Saul. In chapter 25, God used Abigail as his mouthpiece to speak His word to both David and his men. Yes, Abigail certainly desired to speak to David. She acted as an emissary between the people of Nabal’s house and a king bent on retribution. At the same time God used her as a voice of covenant reasoning. She implored David to remember he was anointed by God and God would bring him to the throne in due time. She kept him from the weight of innocent blood on his conscience (30-35). 

God used this to once again remind David of His covenant ways in purpose, provision, and protection. Since David believed that God would deal with Saul (Ch. 24), why did he not have the same mind set regarding Nabal?  He was previously concerned about the shedding of anointed blood, but what about the shedding of innocent blood? David and his people needed food for a “festive day,” so God provided it through Abigail. Furthermore, God provided a wife for David after Saul had vindictively married off Michal to another man in David’s absence (25:39-44). The LORD was his protector, not only physically, but of his soul. 

Christians are reminded that we have blind spots and consistency problems very similar to David. We may confront sin in one area of life and not see the coming sin in another area. We may see someone else’s unappreciative attitude and slight of us without recognizing the plank in our own eye. Thankfully, David listened to the word of the LORD and recognized he had been held back from grievous and presumptuous sin. May we remember the word of the LORD and pray, as David did, “keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression (Ps. 19:13).” Soli Deo Gloria!      

[1] Gordon Keddie, Dawn of a Kingdom: The Message of I Samuel, Welwyn Commentary Series, (England, Evangelical Press, 1988.), 232. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, (New York, Revell Co.), pg. 413. John Gill, The Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, vol. 2, The Baptist Commentary Series (The Baptist Standard Bearer, Paris, AR., 2006), 537.

[2] Dale Ralph Davis, I Samuel: Looking on the Heart, (Christian Focus Pub., 2014.), pg. 263.