Connecting the Dots of Your Life
1 Samuel 25:1-25
Abigail: A Wise and Discerning Woman
Abigail’s story takes up a few pages in the Bible; it reveals to us a woman, a mother, and a wife of extreme qualities. The pages reveal to us a gracious and merciful woman in a difficult context. Life is about the context and circumstances of life that test and mature our character for God’s purposes.
Lessons from Abigail
1.Godly women are known for their values
We have a choice on whom to relate to, but not on how people choose to treat us. In this passage, the Bible starts by describing the wealth of Nabal. Other than his wealth, Nabal was blessed with an amazing woman whom the Bible describes as, “good, understanding, and of a beautiful countenance…” Scripture gives us no clue as to Abigail’s parentage or genealogy. But it is clear from her disposition and actions that she was a godly woman.
As a submissive wife who understands her place, Abigail demonstrates attributes of respect, wisdom, decisiveness and integrity in a relationship that would have demanded otherwise. Your values help reveal your priorities, who you are, and what you stand for. Her submission should not be confused for weakness, she does not play second fiddle. She is a woman who allows God to connect the dots of her life. In her dealings, we see a demonstration of discernment, strength, godliness, courage, intelligence, integrity and great wisdom. And above all, she was beautiful.
If the description of this marriage stopped here, everyone would be in admiration. What a great choice for a spouse? What a blessed couple? Just think of this!
Nabal is extremely wealthy and marries Abigail, who was “intelligent” (NIV), “clever” (NRSV), and “of good understanding” (KJV). This is not only a woman with beauty, but also a woman with brains. Interestingly, the Bible has nothing to hide. It reveals that Nebal was not only wealthy but: “churlish and evil in his doings …” In other translations he was rude and mean spirited in his dealings.
Isn’t this introduction strange and perturbing? Why would Abigail marry such a man? What attracts us to the company we pick? What guides our choice of the friends we have?
The Bible does not tell us whether Nabal was ever abusive towards his wife. But the stage is clearly set that could have provided fodder for future fights on many fronts. Although the values of this couple were on a collision course, Abigail remains the True North as she serves her husband. God allows the story of Abigail in the Bible for our learning. Although relationships were made in heaven, they are lived here on earth through imperfect beings.
Abigail is shown not only as a woman of strong character, a caring mother toward her family, and a wife of great qualities, in a marriage where the man was rude and mean, but also as a woman who understands her place, knows when to make compromises, and is able to use her gifting well for the benefit of their troubled marriage.
Abigail’s name is derived from two Hebrew words, “father” and “happiness”, and means “my father’s happiness”. Others translate her name as “whose father is joy.” She may have been the cause of happiness in her father’s house, but Abigail’s marriage cannot have been described the same way. Life is revealed through our value system. Victorious marriages must show LOVE, FAITH, PERSISTENCE and RESILIENCE.
2. Godly women see the BIG picture
The big picture does not start with you and end with you, rather it starts with God and ends with God. As a woman of noble character, Abigail loved to work in the background. She was a persuasive negotiator, conflict manager, and was selfless in all her actions. “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Prov 31:26). She is quick in discernment and responds by putting the lives of others ahead of her very own.
Philippians 2:3,4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
As an intelligent woman, Abigail knew what lay before her. She was married to a wicked, drunk, and arrogant man. She confesses to David that her husband’s name was a “fool.” Nabal was prideful, spiteful, arrogant, and an ungrateful man – even to David who had accorded protection to his men and their livestock from bandits. She was the best woman that Nabal could have asked for. Her skills and gifting as an intelligent and wise woman comes to the fore to protect her family and a wicked man who did not even deserve it. Proverbs 31:12. She saves a man who was going to meet David’s wrath. When she hears of David’s predicament, she does not say, “Good riddance!”
Abigail’s encounter with David, reveals several things:
- Her religious virtues, witness, and knowledge of Jewish history. This testifies possibly to an early training in godly values.
- That she is acquainted with the teachings of the prophets in Israel as she talks of David’s dynasty.
- Her understanding of the events of her own world by acknowledging that David was a fugitive on the run.
When her marriage and family is facing this threat, her negotiation skills, wisdom and sacrifice come into play as she takes swift action to prevent bloodbath. She not only saves her family, but keeps David from taking vengeance on Nabal and shedding blood.
- Godly women are an extension of God’s grace
Did Nabal deserve such sacrifice? Just look at what happens when she gets back home after risking her life. She finds the man partying and drunk. She sleeps on it and waits on her husband to be sober. She saw the big picture and left plenty of room for God to get involved. God has the ability to give us grace to relate with those who lack in the finer qualities we possess. His great wealth, goods, and possessions could not save Nabal from the wrath of David.
However, Abigail’s actions prove that she was not ignorant about the husband’s shortcomings! (describing him as a fool and yet willing to risk her life for him). She apologizes for his rude behavior and pleads his case. When she returns home, Nabal was a drunken wreck, unmanageable, stubborn, and ill-tempered as usual. Despite these shortcomings, Abigail becomes the ideal wife who protects a husband who is unable to live and act in wisdom.
Abigail takes the posture of an intercessor and asks for mercy for her husband’s foolishness. When Abigail says “folly is with him” (vs 25) – she is actually implying, “Pay no attention to my wretched husband for he’s a fool by name, and a fool by nature.” Although she lived in an unhappy marriage, it is clear that she knew God who helped her remain sober. In this encounter. Abigail possesses 3 qualities essential to any woman seeking to relate to her man: (1) the tact of a wise wife, (2) character of a godly woman, (3) a healthy view of self.
What can we learn from Godly women?
- Thriving relationships embrace wisdom and tact
- Healthy and maturing relationships avoid conflict by engaging godly wisdom – “A wise man fears, and departs from evil: but the fool rages, and is confident” (Proverbs 14:16).
- Great battles are fought behind the scenes in prayer, healthy confrontation and negotiation to resolve the issues – “A fool utters his entire mind: but a wise man keeps it in till afterwards” (Proverbs 29:11).
- Knowledge of your real enemy helps you focus your efforts better and not yield to fear – “The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools” (Proverbs 3:35)
- God builds character in the midst of adversity.
- God’s plan and intent in known as we remain committed to the process without bias for the best outcome.
- Big picture perspective brings understanding needed to remain focused in the midst of challenge – “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which spitefully use you” (Luke 6:28).