Abigail  -  Grace for the Conflict

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
It is needful that the soul be established in grace in order to have practical communion with the mind of God, while the conflict remains between the flesh and the Spirit. Satan seeks to hide the simplicity of this grace.
We read of the Apostle Paul saying, “By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). The Lord desires that we should abundantly serve Him in the midst of Satan’s world — having, it may be, to conflict not only with evil in ourselves, but with evil in others. Nothing but His grace can enable us to do this; it is as much the “grace of God” that has given us to serve and the “grace of God” that strengthens for service as it was the “grace of God” that saved us in the beginning.
David
David was like many of us when anything comes upon us unexpectedly; he was unprepared to meet in steadfastness of grace that which God allowed in his path. No doubt he considered the slight and dishonor put upon him by Nabal “most uncalled for,” “most unjust.” But he was wrongly roused. How often this is the case with the saints of God! They dwell on circumstances, instead of turning from circumstances to God and then acting amidst them according to Him. They say, How unkind! How unjust! Thus the place of grace is lost. Day by day a thousand things act on our spirits in one way or another, which are calculated to produce trying and painful effects. Now, if these be met in fellowship with God, they afford an occasion for bringing forth blessed fruit, but if not, we ourselves become contaminated and have to confess sin, so that instead of, as the hymn says, “Satan trembling and fleeing from us in every conflict,” he often thus gains advantage over us. It is a blessed thing to be able to praise God for having enabled us practically to triumph and overcome, and this we should seek to attain. The Apostle Paul could say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” and “none of these things move me.” We can always praise God for what He is in Himself and for what He has made us in Christ, but we might also praise Him for our own practical victory over Satan and over the world.
In considering David, we see he was in danger, not only of not overcoming, but of being overcome and falling into deep sin. He did not act, as the servant of God, bearing meekly Nabal’s taunts and cutting reproach. It was in the spirit of his wounded pride.
Abigail
There was one, however, in the house of Nabal, of altogether a different character to Nabal; one who belonged to the Lord — a woman of faith. Abigail was able to discern in David, though he was outcast and a needy wanderer, the anointed one of the God of Israel. She saw him as the one whom God was about to bring to greatness, as the chosen head of His people. Abigail was able to look on the path of David with the eye of faith and see the hour of his glory. Now this shows that her soul was deeply taught of God.
Abigail, in her place of quiet retirement, stood much more in the place of communion with the truth than David. She was able to check the wrong feeling of even the man of faith. While David was lost, as it were, in the mist of his own thoughts, Abigail brought in the clear light of the truth to bear on his actions. And David owned and thanked God for her counsel. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand” (1 Sam. 25:32-33). These were the words of David, when aware of the sin in which his pride had set him.
Intercession
Observe the teaching of God; Abigail took the blessed place of intercession. David, in his wrath, was just about to give the blow, to avenge himself with his own hand, instead of leaving the case in the hand of God. Now this would have taken away one of the most blessed features in the character of David — leaving all things to God. In Abigail’s words we see the strong power of faith. She said, “The soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall He sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that He hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel, that this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid” (vss. 29-31).
If David had looked forward to the time of his glory, he would never have thought of raising his hand to give the blow. The place of faith is always to look beyond present circumstances, on to the time of the end; then we begin to see and judge of things according to God. Thus it was with Abigail. And when we realize our association with God and the appointed end of glory, we shall act as she did. In the most trying things which happen to us, if we can by faith associate ourselves with God, if we can see Him with us as our friend, the One who has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord,” we shall never feel disposed to avenge ourselves or think of anything, save intercession, as it regards those who may have grieved and wronged us. The present actions of God are in grace and mercy. We should rather seek to bring down and subdue and melt. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” There is nothing so suitable now as taking the place of grace and desiring to bring under its power whatever meets us individually.
The Christian Friend, adapted