1 & 2 Samuel: Day 17

David and Abigail

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Today's Text: 1 Samuel 25:1-44, 1 Samuel 26:1-25, 1 Samuel 27:1-12, Romans 12:19, 1 Peter 2:22-25

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 25:1-44, 1 Samuel 26:1-25, 1 Samuel 27:1-12, Romans 12:19, 1 Peter 2:22-25

I have a little girl, and I find her to be perfectly delightful in almost every way. So I’m in dangerous territory from the start when it comes to her. And this year at school she shared a class with the prettiest, pinkest little bully I’ve ever seen. Every time a report came home of another petty injustice, I wanted to rise up and bring my considerable adult authority to the situation. My heart longs to exact vengeance on my own terms. And while there is certainly a place to stand up for what is right, vengeance enacted by me shouting at little girls just can’t be the answer.

We are inclined to take matters into our own hands, to avenge ourselves on others. In David’s case, it seems like David had every right to avenge himself. Nabal was a total fool (I mean, his name literally means “fool”) who had actually profited by the protection of David’s men, but who thanklessly despised his own protector. Not only this, but then his contempt for David and his men was expressed by uncontrollably raging at them. Sure of his own self-worth, greedy of his own possessions, he failed to acknowledge God’s gracious provision in David, his protector.

Who could blame David for wanting to take vengeance? He was, after all, the Lord’s anointed. Surely he deserved at least civil treatment from Nabal. He had the manpower with him to attack and destroy Nabal and his family for the slight. But regardless of whether others deserve vengeance, it is not ours to mete out. Remember this uncomfortable, yet comforting verse: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19)?

God prevented David from sin through Abigail’s humility and discernment. She knew better than David her own husband’s perpetual folly, yet sought not her own ends, nor vengeance, nor the interests of any one person. Rather, she humbly defended a fool, courageously confronted a vengeful warrior, in order to keep all from evil. “May evil not be found in you,” she said to David (1 Samuel 25:28). Abigail’s words echo the righteous desire of God’s own heart, that His people walk in righteousness, seeking His glory above their own, and trusting all manners to His care.

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the LORD who championed my cause against Nabal’s insults and restrained his servant from doing evil. The LORD brought Nabal’s evil deeds back on his own head” (1 Samuel 25:39).

David was stopped that day from a folly equal to Nabal’s: that of assuming that our own good is in our own hands. But ultimately, David understood that only God is his defender (1 Samuel 26:10-11; 2 Samuel 1:14-15; 4:12).

Blessed be the Lord! He alone is our sure defense, not only against the offenses made against us, but also from the folly from within our own hearts. Rest in His provision.

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  • Danya Ho

    Blessed be the Lord! He alone is our sure defense, not only against the offenses made against us, but also from the folly from within our own hearts. Rest in His provision.

  • This might be a silly
    Obvious question…but I was wondering…there is so much relief when I trust that God will take care of those who hurt me…but then I think about the times I have hurt others (unintentionally but nonetheless) and how the Lord will take care of that injustice on me….how does justice work when both are believers?

    • Sheryn

      Chelsea,
      I think that we must not dwell on the thought that God will “take care” of those who hurt us. I think our job is to simply open our hearts and learn to forgive others. Because the truth is, we all hurt each other. There are many times I have hurt others and I am sure you have hurt others as well, so should we be waiting in fear for God to right those injustices by “taking care” of us? No. We need to forgive others, and we need to ask for forgiveness for the things we have done. It’s not easy, but it IS what God asks of us.

    • Cecilia

      Great question

    • Brooke

      I agree with Chelsea about forgiving our trespassers, whether they are believers or not. When the Lord takes justice, sometimes the way He does so is through the healing of our own hearts so that we can love them even still. Then, the forgiveness can bring the trespasser before the Lord and ask to be restored. Forgiveness is a great part of being a Christian because it heals us and can heal others!

  • praying today that i would be committed to doing the next right thing like Abigail was. praying that i would have the strength and courage to put others before myself, and to work to lay down my temporary pursuits of happiness for eternal joy. praying that i might have a heart more like abigail’s, one that seeks the Lord’s purposes above all else!

  • I have a question about the 1 Peter reference in this lesson. Jesus didn’t defend Himself at Calvary, true. But did He ever defend Himself? Aren’t we humans called to stand up for ourselves as God’s valued children sometimes–because
    It’s not loving to us or others to let ourselves become doormats? So what about Jesus? Did He HAVE to be a doormat in order to absorb all our sins? Never defend Himself???

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Sarah, thanks so much for your message. We’re so excited that you’re digging into the Scriptures and seeking understanding in what you read. We encourage you to find someone in your direct community who can help you process through some of these questions. For instance, this would be a great question to ask a local pastor, counselor or trusted mentor. Thank you so much for being a part of the She Reads Truth community! – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Sarah Pinault

      Sarah, there is an amazing piece of scripture in which Jesus addresses this. John 18: 36 says “Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.””

      The point is that the life and work of Jesus was not about defense or doormat in this world, but about heavenly things. I love this portion of John in which Jesus clearly shows that he and his could quite easily kick some Roman butt, if that was their sole goal. But that was not his goal, his goal was an eternal one. Our goal is eternal too, but this passage shows us that in earthly things we fight.

      At least that’s my take.

      My takeaway from Abigail is that for her, it did not matter who was right or wrong as long as the Lord’s work was done. She took the blame for Nabal, she claimed it as her fault for not seeing David’s servant, she happily became the doormat, the whipping post for this circumstance because there was something greater to be achieved than her personal pride.

      • Sarah

        Thank you for this. It helps. As a veteran “doormat” personality who is seeking God’s way first … it really is a big question for me right now.

  • If anyone is dealing with children who are bullies, it’s important to remember that they are often imitating behaviors seen at home. So many children who are bullies are bullied themselves at home. And that’s so sad when you think about it. No child should have a home life like that. It’s down right abusive. So while bullies may be a pain to deal with, pray for them and their homes. And remember to show these kids lots of love when you see them. It’s amazing how a little love can transform the heart and life of a child ❤️

    And this is coming from someone who was punched in the face by a bully in elementary school and I punched the bully back. I’ve come a long way lol.

  • Karen From Virginia

    I love this story. Abigail is a wise woman to emulate. She walked humbly and boldly. I want to be more like that. She taught David to leave his revenge and anger with the Lord.
    I also see how the Lord protected David from harming innocent people.

  • This is a good lesson for me to revisit frequently. I’ve always said I am a warrior and had I lived in Old Testament times I’d have been marching with Joshua. I’ve struggled all my life with the fire in my heart to retaliate. As I’ve grown as an adult Christian (was saved at 9) I have learned to step back and think about what my actions reveal to someone else but I do have to step back and think about it. I really think I’m going to post this in my quiet space to remind me how important it is to forego and forgive.

  • I loved it. It talks an how we don’t need to seek vengeance because God is our only defender and with Him all of our troubles will fade away.

  • I heard a message on this passage from Lisa Terkhurst (not sure if I spelled her name correctly) from Proverbs 31 Ministry. It was good! It may have been from their She Speaks conference from last year. I suggest trying to find it and listen to the message!

  • churchmouse

    Abigail is the role model of discernment and quick action. Whereas Nabal dismissed David, Abigail knew exactly who David was. She knew his God appointed destiny and the dignity he deserved. She knew and did not hesitate to act. She was married to an angry and foolish man – she risked potentially horrible repercussions for what she did. She knew the right thing to do and did it anyway. God protected her and rewarded her for her wise intervention. She was married to a fool but ended up married to a king. Praying today that I would be so committed to doing the next right thing, boldly and confidently, trusting the outcome to the Lord.

    • Lana

      Love this insight. Isn’t it interesting how God used her marriage to a fool to establish her as wife to a king? Like you said, churchmouse, all she had to do was do the right thing. What a wonderful reminder that God neither leaves us nor forsakes us. That all of the ups and downs of life are ultimately for the greater good of our souls and the souls around us.

    • Cecilia

      Looooooove this Thank you!!

  • I have always been amazed at how my heart changes towards vengeance when I align my thoughts with God’s. I try to remind myself that everyone sins, and it is not all in the same way or for me to be a judge. By refocusing and taking the plank out of my own eye, I realize that wrong doing is sin, and pray for the person.

  • Blanca Patricia

    Mama. Bear! Nothing has been more emotionally difficult for me these grade school years than having a heart of grace to these pink bullies. And I have three girls left to go through it! Maybe that’s why He gave our oldest such a sweet heart (though, no angel, trust).

    Over these years I’ve noticed and have come to APPRECIATE bullies big and small, for the Lord has His reasons for allowing them in our lives. They are wonderful character builders ;).

    No, really. So much we can help and shepherd our children through, while being honest with them ourselves of the anger and injustice WE would love to bestow on them for our Littles. It has convicted me of the example I set.

    How will this little bully look back at me when and if she realizes her childhood obnoxiousness?

    Will she feel bad bc I was the mom that made sure she knew I knew?

    Will she think, ohhhh, she didn’t hate me but she did have good boundaries and didn’t put up with my nonsense, and taught her daughter the same.

    Or will she feel convicted and grateful, that someone who surely knew of her mean heart toward her child, understood she was a child, and still showed her sincere kindness and grace (I say “sincere” because I have GRIT MY TEETH through fake smiles of kindness and grace to preschoolers and now to tween monsters, and it’s just not the same).

    I will stop there because I have a ways to go before I have anything to say concerning Abigail. I’ll just say she serves as a good character sketch for all the ways I can improve in marriage! :)

    Grace and peace, Sisters.

    • RondaGale

      You said a mouthful and it has my mind going in 10 different directions and emotions flaring both good and bad … convicting and challenging me. I love how God has given you insight to (strive to) handle these things with His heart… for the good of all involved including you,mama, and for His Glory. He is our defender, from others and ourselves! Praise Him!
      His Grace! His Mercy! His Peace!

  • Hi ladies, today is my first day of school, and it is safe to say that I am feeling really nervous about the 100+ students I’ll meet today. I woke up with a headache and thoughts of all I need to get done still. Will you pray for peace for me today? Thank you!

    • churchmouse

      Lord, you have placed Laura in this school with these students to shepherd this year. Give her the confidence to know that You will have her accomplish that which You have called her to do. Heal her of the headache before the first student arrives and let this day confirm to her that You are with her and that she is on mission for You there. Let her say at the end of the day that she served you the best she could. Let her feel Your peace and Your joy all day long. And may she look forward to being there with you tomorrow. Amen.

    • AmyC

      Praying for you Laura.

    • Mehgan

      For sure Laura! You will be amazing.

    • Jenn

      Praying for you today!!!

    • Karen From Virginia

      Praying!

  • “May evil not be found in you.” (1 Samuel 25:28)
    This echos my prayer over the last few months. I was deeply hurt by a friend and in the beginning it was easy to try and finds ways to retaliate but through the Lord’s mercy and gentle guidance he has been teaching me grace and forgiveness.
    I don’t communicate much with this friend anymore but the Lord has given me a distinct prayer when I feel the darkness of resentment, pain and anger begin to creep in…..”Lord, please give me a pure heart towards her.”
    This has significantly helped guide my focus back to Him and not on myself. It’s not easy and it doesn’t solve everything but there is peace in knowing I’m leaving the situation in His hands and trying to keep my heart from evil.

    • Blanca Patricia

      Thank you for sharing your prayer for pureness of heart toward your offender. Lord knows I need that very prayer in my life at this moment and many to follow, I’m sure.

    • Emily B.

      That is an awesome prayer. I’m going through something with a friend now, and I need to remember to keep praying for her and make sure my motives are pure. Thank you for sharing!

    • Rochelle Walker

      Oh, that’s good. I can relate to this! It can be difficult, esp when the other person has never acknowledged their wrongdoing. I love your little prayer and will be adopting it…

    • Lana

      Thank you for this prayer. I will be using it too!

  • Convicting and heart-felt! Praying that God heal my vengeful heart so it no longer rear its ugly head. Most times it is the ones closest to me that I want to “get back” at, or have God give them a taste of their own medicine when they wrong me in very hurtful ways. May I live this day forward knowing that “The Lord will repay every man for his righteousness and his loyalty.” (1 Sam 26:23) And know that God is my Defender!

  • (*not retaliate I meant)

  • I am not one to usually “seek revenge” on those who have been ill towards my family or I, however I am convicted of gossiping about negative matters. I may not physically seek the revenge, but verbally complaining about issues makes me feel better for about 2 minutes, then I feel the guilt. The guilt that I just went on talking negative about another person, even though they may have done wrong, instead of praying on it and handing it over to God. One thing I’ve learned is we are so immensely guilty of so many things and we can not play God and be the judge. We don’t know a person’s entire story or what goes through their head. Lord, please help me to forgive others easily and to retaliate with negative words, but to hand my worries over to you.

  • Keila Stovall

    Ouch! The last paragraph made me look at myself. I welcome God’s defense against others who I feel are doing me wrong. I’ve forgotten the blessing of God’s defense for me for my own folly. Blessed be the Lord!

  • Alice Carroll

    I am convicted this morning of my frequent desire for revenge- maybe just a little sarcasm, a little dig to make me feel better. Maybe no one dies as a result, but it comes from the same anger as David’s.

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