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.