David and Abigail

1 Samuel 25  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The previous chapters give us an account of the establishment and immediate failure of the man after Israel’s heart—such must be the case—the flesh is unfit for the service of God, try it any way you will, the result is ever the same, it was so here, and the one of whom they said “there is none like him among all the people,” had miserably failed, fresh trials only served to bring this out more clearly, till God, ever above these terrible failures of man, having made it fully manifest, comes in on the scene and chooses the one “after His heart,” not such a one as the flesh would choose; but a youth, the youngest of eight sons. He takes him to, be His servant from the sheep-folds—” From following the ewes, great with young, He brought him that lie might feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.” And this is the one who now comes upon the scene, but not in the possession and enjoyment of his rights as the anointed and chosen one of God; for instead of entering on the inheritance that belongs to him, he has to flee for his life—hunted like a partridge on the mountains, he has to wander in the wilderness, and in all this he is a beautiful type of that blessed One, who, without sin, journeyed through far more painful circumstances.
Such is David’s position here when he says to the young men, “Go to Nabal, and greet him in my name, and thus shall ye say to hint that liveth in prosperity: peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.... We come in a good day.”
Is not this the character of the message that the true David is now sending out to us during the time of His rejection. In Acts 10:3636The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) (Acts 10:36), Peter brings the same message,” The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Jude-a, and began from Galilee.” God’s anointed One, though Creator of all things, and Heir of all things, has been rejected by man; and yet to man He sends this message of peace, a message of pardon and forgiveness. The gospel is the good news to us of the place in the glory, which He who identified Himself with the sinner on the cross, now gives to everyone who believes on Him. God has accepted Christ, and thus He can in perfect consistency with Himself, without abating one jot or tittle of His righteous claims, proclaim peace to all, send glad tidings to every house. But how does Nabal receive David’s message of peace? His answer is, “Who is the son of Jesse; there be many servants now-a-days that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men whom I know not whence they be.”
What a picture of the world—the claims of God’s king were nothing to him compared with his things. Self is the one object he has before his eyes. Like the man in Luke 12, he is satisfied with the things around him—with what he has got. He little heeds the mind of God about it; but that too Is revealed to us. “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” Is not all this the answer man is now giving to the wondrous message of peace and grace, flowing from the opened heavens. When men got the Son of God into their power—they scourged Him—they spit’ on Him—they crucified Him—when the Son of God has all things given into His hand—what does He? “He commands us,” says Peter in Acts 10, “to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God, the Judge of quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” Such are God’s ways, and such are man’s ways what a contrast.
Dear reader, how is it with you? Is this the answer you are giving? Are you treating God’s message like Nabal? Are you satisfied with the things of this world? Do you call them yours? Ah! they maybe gone tomorrow—today even—it may be with you this night, as with him of whom We have been speaking. May God give you to ask yourself, Am I treating His claims upon me, as Nabal treated David’s? It is a solemn question both for the saved and the unsaved. If the latter state is your case, why, then, Nabal’s end will be your end. May God give you, dear friend, to lay it to heart. how am I treating the claims of that One upon me who loves me better than I love myself? Am I contented with this present evil age like Nabal, who held a feast in his house, as we read, like the feast of a king? Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken. Satiated with the’ things of this life, he has no ear for the voice of God; it would be in vain to tell it to him. “Ten days afterward the Lord smote Nabal that he died.” For a few days enjoyment of the things of this world, he put away God from his thoughts—refused to acknowledge His claims—he chose darkness rather than light. Such are the ways of all who forget God—of those who mind earthly things—whose end is destruction.
But if that is one side of the picture, we have the other, —and a blessed contrast it is—and one that our hearts would do well to study.
Nabal’s wife; Abigail, hears of this message of David to her husband, and from that moment he becomes the one object before her eyes. She enters into God’s purposes concerning him. ‘Tis true, he may be rejected, and is but a wanderer—an outcast in the wilderness—all that is nothing to her, however low his position may be in the eyes of man. She sees in him the one who is anointed of God; set apart by Him for the kingdom, and all other considerations vanish from her eyes. God’s king is a homeless, stranger in the wilderness; my husband has refused him the refreshment that he needed; but I will go out and bring it to him. It may cost me clear; but that matters not. Like Mary in John 12, the box of ointment may be very precious, but what is that to what is clue to Him—her Lord and Master? So here with Abigail, she made haste and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, &c., and laying them on asses, went out to meet David. But Nabal knows nothing of all this like Paul, she takes not counsel with flesh and blood; and why should she? How could the man, who had himself rejected—the message, — give her any help or advice? No; she judges everything that is contrary to the one now become the chief object before her. He takes the first place in her heart. She thinks not what the result of taking this step.
It may entail the loss of her home-it may send her forth as an outcast; she heeds it not. Her eye is single, and her whole body full of light. Nabal heroines to her but as one of the foolish nation a man of Belial. “As his name is, so is Nabal is his name, and folly is with him.” Saul the king of Israel, is no more than any other man (verse 29), and Samuel is dead. She sees in the despised and rejected one, the heir of all things, “The soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with Jehovah, thy God, and the souls of thine enemies, them shall He sling out, as out of the middle of a sling”and therefore, the only one for her.
What a blessed picture for us, may God lay it on our hearts. Abigail thinks as God thinks. She gives David his true place she owns his title and that which belonged to him according to the counsel of God. What is the result to her in thus acknowledging the Lord’s anointed, during the time of his rejection? “David sent, and communed with her, to take her to him to wife, and she hasted and arose, and went after the messengers of David; and became his wife.” Blessed result to her, and blessed reward for thus accepting his claims—for thus making him her one object. He made her his. Nothing short of having her to share his throne will satisfy him. For a time he may be—in the wilderness—patience will have to be exercised; but the end is sure—God’s time came, and David’s throne is set up. Her utmost desires are realized, and far more too; all that is asked is to be remembered when he gets his kingdom, verse 31. Little does she know the heart of the one who has so attracted as to separate her from all that nature would hold dear. No other place would do for her than to share along with him the joys of his kingdom—of his crown and glory—but above all, to enter into the thoughts of his heart,— have the nearest and dearest place in his affections.
Such, too, is our place. “To him that overcometh, will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and an set down with my Father in His throne.” Abigail knew not what the result would be to her, of the step she took; but we do know it is revealed to us, that the best and choicest place in the glory is to be ours—the blessed and ordered home of the heavenly saints is portrayed for us by the finger of God himself. “The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it, and the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”
Such are the purposes of God for us—those of us who have responded to His claims and accepted His beloved Son.
But we do well to ask—Is He our one object? Have we entirely taken Abigail’s place? judged everything around us that is not of Him? Arc we prepared to stand with Paul, and count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord? God will be no man’s debtor. “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name sake or the gospel’s, but he shall receive a hundred-fold.... and in the world to come eternal life.” O. P.