Prophet Samuel’s death marked the end of the period of the Judges and the beginning of the true monarchy rule purposed by God.
But during that time, David was still escaping from Saul and was living in the Wilderness of Paran. So while living there, David and his men became a protective wall for the cattle belonging to a rich man, Nabal.
But when David sent men to ask Nabal if he could share his food with them, Nabal refused. So this aroused David’s anger and he got his men ready to punish Nabal with bloodshed.
When Abigail, Nabal’s wife, heard about how his husband had responded rudely to David’s men, she knew that trouble was on their way; but she was wise and quick to come up with a damage control plan. Her plan worked and she not only resolved the “death penalty” meted out by David, but she also prevented David from shedding blood that might have caused the wrath of God.
This whole chain of event allows us to see that there are three respond choices towards people who have done either good or evil to us.
Returning Evil for Good
Whoever rewards evil for good,
Evil will not depart from his house.
Nabal, a name aptly describing his character, was ungrateful for the blessing that was bestowed upon him. But I believe he was aware about David’s contribution in the protection of his wealth, he did not even say a word of thanks let alone to share his food with the men of David.
In our walk with God and the relationship with the people around us, have we also acted like Nabal? Have we often taken God for granted for all the unseen blessings that He is constantly showering upon us?
The food we have, the health that our family members and we have, and even the air that we breathe, are they not the constant unseen blessings from God? Have we ever devoted a prayer time daily just to thank God and praise Him for the abundant grace, love and mercy?
We have to be sensitive to the love and grace of God daily, to constantly and consciously thank Him for all that He has freely given to us. Not forgetting also to show our gratitude to God by laboring in His divine works.
As Christians, we must maintain an ever-ready attitude to help others in their times of need. There will be times when we need the help of others, so when we are being helped, never forget to show our gratitude in ways that we can.
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”
It is quite natural for people to harbor intentions of revenge when others hurt them, for this is how this world works.
David planned to eliminate all the men of Nabal because he was angry for protecting Nabal’s property for nothing.
But before this event, in chapter 24, David feared God and was willing to show mercy and spared the live of Saul who treated him far worse than how Nabal treated him. Here we can see how David loses his perspective in the heat of his anger.
So from David’s example, let us be reminded that we must not allow anger to grip us so much so that we lose sight of God’s words and His purpose for our lives. It is true that the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God (ref. James 1:20).
Indeed, if Abigail did not stop David from shedding blood, he would have committed a grave sin in the sight of God.
So let us stay calm and think before we act when others hurt us with their words or actions. In all things that we want to do, do all to the glory of God; and returning evil for evil is definitely not glorious and not pleasing in the eyes of God.
Our part in Christ is to do His will and His works, and leave all vengeance to God, for He is the fair and Righteous Judge.
Also consider what our Lord has taught us in the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5:38 – 39.
Overcoming Evil with Good
Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12: 20 – 21
God used Abigail to prevent David from becoming a murderer.
She admitted that her husband was true to his name, being a fool, and she also reminded David that he would suffer when he remembered this incident of bloodshed in the future.
Abigail has indeed taught us a good lesson on how to overcome impending evil from David with goodness. She stayed calm to analyze critical situations and applied her rationale to reason with David.
Therefore we must train ourselves to always stay calm before we act, and to ponder over the consequences of our actions to see whether what we are about to do are right or wrong, we must not be quick to anger.
Apostle Paul, through his experiences, admonishes us with the following,
To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten,
And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted,
being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring
of all things until now.
1 Corinthians 4: 11 – 13
Indeed God is not blind to all the sufferings that we are going through. At the end of the day, He will surely reward us who endure all sufferings for His sake.
May God bless us with strength and wisdom to be like Christ, blameless in the eyes of God and men, and to do all things to His glory.