Bible Society of South Africa

Grace: Abigail: A wife’s grace – 9 November 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

26She speaks with a gentle wisdom.

27She is always busy and looks after her family's needs.

Proverbs 31:26-27GNBOpen in Bible reader

Suffering is often a catalyst for grace to grow in a person as they surrender to God in challenging times, and rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction. Saint Augustine said, “What grace is meant to do is to help good people, not to escape their sufferings, but to bear them with a stout heart, with a fortitude that finds its strength in faith.”

This courage was evident in the life of Abigail, the wife of Nabal, who later became King David’s wife. A wife often fulfils a complex, complementary role in the home, working hard to keep it on an even keel, happy when she succeeds, but is seldom satisfied that her job is done.

Abigail’s courage, resilience and faith in God produced much grace in her life which had developed during her marriage to the arrogant, mean-spirited Nabal, whose servants regarded as, “such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.” (1 Samuel 25:17) His behaviour almost brought destruction upon his entire household one day, through his rude ingratitude towards David, before he was king.

David, who had been camping on Nabal’s land, had helped him by protecting his shepherds and sheep and now, at the feasting time, was requesting food for his men. Nabal refused to acknowledge his help, insulted him as an unknown, one of “many servants breaking away from their masters” (1 Samuel 25:10) and, in spite of his great wealth, refused to give David anything.

David’s response was just as arrogant and rash as Nabal’s. His angry answer, in retaliation for Nabal’s reported insult, was to gather together four hundred armed men and ride off to kill him, and every male in his household, without stopping to consider the implications of murdering a household because of an insult.

When the servants told Abigail what her husband had done, and confirmed that David’s men, “did not mistreat (them) and the whole time (they) were out in the fields near them nothing was missing” (1 Samuel 25:15-16) she acted quickly with understanding and wisdom using her God-given gifts to save the situation.

She didn’t tell her husband, but quickly and generously provided a sumptuous feast for David and his men and rode off on her donkey to meet them. “She fell at his feet and said: ‘Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.’” (1 Samuel 25:24) We can only imagine the impression her humility made on him as he responded with: “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me … May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day … Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.” (1 Samuel 25:32-33,35)

God’s grace and wisdom to Abigail enabled her to humbly diffuse the tense situation; her gracious words delicately dissuaded David from his mission of destruction upon Nabal, and reminded David of God’s call on his life, and his duty to honour Him.

In Philippians Paul writes, “Let your gentleness be evident to all … Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:5-6)

Prayer: Father, May your grace and peace “which transcends all understanding … guard (our) hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.8
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