I've been challenged this morning in I Samuel 25, the story of David and Abigail, another wonderful picture of doing things God's way.
We see David, who is still living in the wilderness, hiding from Saul, sending messengers to Nabal requesting food for his men. He reminds Nabal how respectful and helpful he and his men had been to to Nabal's sheepshearers before. Nabal scorns him and refuses aid, acting according to the meaning of his name, "Fool."
Here is where David gets off track. Normally, he seeks God in every situation and then obeys--"Shall I attack? Shall I pursue?" The Lord always gives him specific instructions and perfect victory is the result. But here, David's mind of the flesh takes over and he reacts in anger, even making a rash vow to kill every male in Nabal's household.
Enter Abigail, Nabal's wife (her name means "source of joy"). She is declared in the Word as a "woman of good understanding," and she is told of this perilous situation. Her response is courageous and very wise: she takes food for David's army and heads off to meet him.
I love her approach, which shows something very key. She couldn't have had "good understanding" without having known God's Word! Watch how His wisdom permeates her appeal and counsel.
First, she agrees with David's righteous indignation and admits to Nabal's foolishness. Then, she goes to the heart of the matter--David's own sin in avenging himself. The Law in Leviticus 19:18 says, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people."
Next, she presents the lavish gift of food to these hungry men. Proverbs 21:14 says, "A gift in secret pacifies anger, and a bribe behind the back, strong wrath." One could argue that Proverbs hadn't been written yet, but this was obvious practical wisdom that was a common practice when approaching a ruler or king in any culture.
Then, in her impassioned speech, the Lord actually gives her prophetic words as she reminds David of who he is--the anointed king-to-be--and saves the punch for last: "And it shall come to pass, when the Lord has done according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you...that this will be no grief to you...that you have shed blood without cause...or avenged yourself." A king shouldn't act like this!
Her wise words wake David up and he sees that God has provided a way to keep him from sinning. When he gets out of the way, letting God be his vindicator, God quickly intervenes and Nabal dies.
This amazing story is concluded with a final step in doing things God's way--both David and Abigail gather the spoils. David takes this beautiful and wise woman to be his wife, and she is moved by God from a very difficult marriage to a place of blessing.
Wow. A lot of truth here to chew on. I have a personal saying that this illustrates: You can't go wrong doing the right thing. Having your mind renewed in the Word gives you His wisdom for any situation. Choosing to be Spirit-led rather than flesh-driven puts you in a place of safety, with God handling all the "stuff." And there's also this idea that we need to skillfully and courageously point people to God's truth, that His blessing may be upon them.
Thank You, Lord, that your Truth is ever new!