A great deal of my personal devotion time this past winter was spent in the Old Testament. At one point, I spent weeks studying the life of David. God reaffirmed a great truth to me while reading chapter 25 of 1 Samuel.
You might recall that this passage finds David and his mighty men in the wilderness of Paran. This chapter relays David's dealings with the wicked rich man Nabal. David's request for compensation for protecting this man's servants and sheep is met with insolence and disdain. Nabal flatly refuses to reward David and David immediately gives the order: "... Gird ye on every man his sword. ..." (verse 13).
David goes on his way to Carmel to destroy Nabal and all of his servants, but is met by Nabal's wife, Abigail. Abigail speaks these words: "Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: ..." (verse 25). Abigail knows that David will regret his actions. I encourage you to read through the entire 25th chapter of 1 Samuel to examine Abigail's intervention and David's response. Ultimately, David does not destroy Nabal and his servants because he sees that doing so isn't right.
Look closely with me at verses 32 and 33: "And David said to Abigail, 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."
One could ask the question: Why is David in this predicament in the first place? Why must the wife of a wicked rich man be used to stop David from taking vengeance which isn't his to take? Might I suggest that David was in the midst of spiritual warfare. I have no doubt that David and his mighty men could have slaughtered Nabal and his servants. It is abundantly clear that in doing so, David would have lost a significant spiritual battle. We must look at a few other chapters in 1 and 2 Samuel to gain a clear picture as to why David nearly failed.
Consider David's actions in 1 Samuel 23, verses 1 and 2: "Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors. Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? ..."
In 1 Samuel 30, verse 8, when the Amalekites had invaded Ziklag, burning it with fire and kidnapping all of the women, we read: "And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? ..."
2 Samuel 2, verse 1 reads: "And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. ... "
We see in these passages that before shedding blood, David enquired of the LORD. David could have suffered great failure, should he have taken vengeance against Nabal. We can see the wisdom in Abigail's counsel.
I was reminded what my actions should be before responding severally. Certainly I am not in a position to take life or go to war, but I do have spiritual battles each and every day. Like everyone reading this devotional, I experience challenges that cause me to react. Might my response to each challenge be predicated upon enquiring of the LORD rather than seeking satisfaction for my own selfish will.
Written by David Williamson