Ep 18: Abigail's Story (Hardship Series)

My husband’s pride truly knows no bounds and the consequences are deadly! I have to do something and my hope is that God will bless my courage.

Transcript

This month, we are doing something a little different.

Each week we will meet a woman who is facing a trial she cannot bear alone. 

We are going to find out how God meets here right in the middle of her mess and we are going to talk about the purpose behind her pain and how we, like her, can trust God’s plan even when we don’t understand it. 

So let’s get started.

I stood there completely stunned! 

How could my husband have been such an idiot?

But I quickly recovered from the shock and sprang into action, shouting orders to everyone in earshot. 

I gathered 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, 5 butchered sheep, a large amount of grain, 100 raisin cakes, 200 hundred fig cakes, and had it all loaded onto donkeys. 

I sent my servants out ahead of me and then climbed on my own donkey to follow. 

I didn’t bother telling my husband what I was doing. 

There wasn’t time! I had to protect my house from his foolish, arrogant behavior! 

I would go to him later, but right now, as I rode out to meet David, I just prayed that what I was doing would be enough.

My name is Abigail. 

My husband, Nabel, is not a good or kind man. 

His name means “fool” and boy does he live up to it! 

I mean, even if he wanted to ignore the fact that David and his men had not only been respectful and honest with our shepherds in the fields but had also protected them all this time, how could not recognize the danger in dismissing him as a warrior? 

And not just any warrior, a powerful one that had been anointed as the next King of Israel. 

David’s reputation is known everywhere! My husband’s pride truly knows no bounds. 

It has never been my intention as his wife to highlight that fact, but I have spent years enduring it. and this time, I know that the consequences are well beyond just my own embarrassment. 

I can’t allow so much innocent blood to be shed. 

I know I have to do something and my hope is that God will bless my courage today.

In 1 Samuel 16, the Bible lays out God’s plan to make David the next king of Israel and we can read on about David’s integrity and his heart for the Lord throughout his life after he is anointed.

By chapter 19, it is no secret to anyone though that the current king, King Saul, is not happy about this situation and goes on hot pursuit of this young man, making every attempt to kill him so he could not take the throne. 

David and his men had spent months in the wilderness near Carmel, avoiding Saul, and he sent his men to ask Nabel for food and supplies. 

Nabel’s disrespectful response in 1 Sam 25 10&11 is this, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. 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?” 

Now, the people living during this time may not have had Fox News or Twitter, but the drama that had been unfolding between these two men was undoubtedly well known. 

The entire nation of Israel, along with all the surrounding nations, were all very aware of this dangerous dynamic. 

Nabel wouldn’t have had to try hard at all to verify who David was and what his purpose was for being nearby with so many men. 

Do you remember the show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” 

The question that comes to my mind right now is “Is that your final answer?” 

I can just hear Regis Fillman’s tone prompting the guest to be really sure that was the answer choice he or she wanted to go with.

We don’t know if the servant that ran to tell Abigail what had happened and had just heard Nabel’s words or if he had also actually seen David’s men preparing to attack, but there is no doubt that he was aware of the disastrous consequences awaiting the entire household and ran to the mistress of the house in hopes that she would do something about it. 

In this highly stressful moment, Abigail, clearly understanding the gravity of the situation, had to make a split-second decision - 

go to her husband and try to reason with him 

OR move forward on her own, taking the action necessary to save the lives of hundreds of innocent people. 

Abigail is a hero and a woman that we should look to in the Bible as an example of the kind of Godly woman we aspire to be. 

But, just like it is often done with the Proverbs 31 woman, we must be careful not to misapply the truth presented in Abigail’s story. 

Using her noble actions, that were done out of a spirit to protect others at her own expense and safety is very different than taking action, in word or deed, without first consulting with whatever authority we may be under, whether that is in the home, at work, at church or anywhere else. 

For example...

It is not a noble action when you go behind your husband’s back because you didn’t agree with a decision he had made and wanted things to work out differently.

It is not a noble action when your boss gives you specific a direction to take in order to complete a project and you cut corners because you think they are unnecessary or blatantly ignore instructions and do things your own way.

It is not a noble action to complain or gossip about leaders or ministries with which you are dissatisfied while at the same time taking no part in supporting or assisting with them yes still expect to benefit from them. 

So what should you take away from Abigail’s story and how do you apply it to your life? 

First, Abigail was a wise woman. 

Wisdom is not just having knowledge or intelligence, it is understanding when and how to apply it to a situation. 

Where did her wisdom come from? 

The same place you and I get it, through life experiences that the Lord uses to grow us.

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The following is an excerpt from Session 6 of the audio devotional series 6 Things God Cultivates in the Midst of Hardship

The Holy Spirit that lives in you helps you, teaches you, empowers, and speaks for you. 

What is the one word that encapsulates all these things? Wisdom. 

In the midst of hardship, God cultivates wisdom through the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you.

Of course, that is, He does those things when you allow it. 

Much like I mentioned in Session 1 when I talked about how we don’t always cooperate with God when He beings to work on us, here again, is why Christians often don’t grasp the magnitude of this blessing… 

they don’t accept it! 

Imagine if you had a wise old sage that just followed you around everywhere you went. 

When you are nervous, He encourages you. 

When you are afraid, He protects you. 

When you are about to do or say something stupid, He stops you! How much easier would your life be if there was constantly someone watching out for you every minute of every day. 

He always knows what the right decision is. 

He always talks you down when you are angry and helps you to have patience. 

He always is there to offer comfort when you are sad, hurt, or lonely. 

What would that be like? 

Friend, you have that – it’s is the Holy Spirit!! 

But do feel Him? 

Do you seek his encouragement, His advice, His protection?

Do you turn to Him first when you are confused or weary? Or do you turn to worldly wisdom for answers? 

Do you hide under a blanket and binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix to find comfort? 

If so, I get it. 

I have done both of those things many times before. But I learned that you cannot rejoice in your suffering that way. 

It is only when you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you with Godly wisdom that you will grow through the pain.

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Second, Abigail is a courageous woman. 

Courage doesn’t just mean being brave enough to fight a battle but being thoughtful about how to fight your battles as well as understanding which battles are not worth fighting.

Facing David was an obvious act of courage but it is unlikely that you and I will find ourselves trying to appease a future king from killing all the men in our household. 

The is a much more subtle act of courage I want to draw your attention to.

I have no doubt that Abigail spent many years being humiliated by the foolishness and pride that her husband displayed. 

And, though she was an intelligent and beautiful woman, she didn’t leave him, berate him or expose him. 

Instead, she was faithful and, we can see by her actions after she returns from abating David’s anger, that she was a submissive wife. 

1 Sam 25:36-3,  “And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until the morning light.  In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.”

Waiting to approach her husband at the right time with the right tone is a much more common act of courage that we wives should emulate. 

Abigail didn’t confront Nabel in front of a room full of people when he was drunk, nor did she go to her husband looking to start a fight. 

Instead, she waited until he was sober and simply told him what happened. She understood which battle was worth fighting along with when and how to go about fighting it. 

Most of all, as she told David, she trusted that the Lord would take vengeance on Nabel for his behavior and we see that He certainly did. 

Abigail displayed courage both in her brave, yet humble actions when she went to pacify David and also in her subtle yet strong submissiveness when she went to confront her husband afterward.

Abigail’s actions were not made out of selfishness for her own happiness or glory but in quick, careful consideration of what was best for others. When we act in this way with the same wisdom and courage, we will be like Abigail. 

I hope you were blessed by Abigail’s story today along with all the stories of Hagar, Elizabeth, Hannah, and Leah that I shared earlier this month. 

Each of these women experiences their own hardship and we see how God meets the needs of each one in her unique circumstances. 

And so suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love is poured into us by the Holy Spirit, as Paul explains, in this way for this purpose…

Romans 8:16-18  "The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us."

And so we have come full circle.

Your suffering is not pointless.

It has a purpose though you may not see it or understand it at the time, you can trust that God is in control. 

Your suffering does not mean He has abandoned you. 

Your suffering does not mean that He does not love you.  

On the contrary, your suffering is how He is preparing you for what is to come. 

He could be preparing you to comfort another woman who does not know Jesus and will need you to point her to Him in her time of suffering. 

What I know for sure is that your trial is meant to draw you closer to your Savior. 

Will you rejoice in that? 

I hope so.

I will also be sure to drop the links with my previous episodes on submission for you in the show notes too just in case you felt the hair on the back of your next go up when I used that word. 

They are worth the listen.

Finally, I want to let you know that I will be taking the month of May off from sharing new podcast episodes but have lots of great content planned for you coming in June so, if you haven’t already, be sure to follow this podcast because I don’t want to miss a thing. 

I would truly appreciate it if you would leave a review that would encourage other women to listen in as well. 

Of course, you can always share it directly with a friend that you know needs to hear too. 

Remember, spiritual growth is not a destination, but a journey. 

And while we are on it, God will continue to remind us that His grace is more important than our perfection.



*The 6 Things God is Teaching You in the Midst of Hardship audio-devotional is currently unavailable while my website is being updated.