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wise woman April 21 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Samuel 25

Foolishness versus Wisdom

We have all done foolish and irresponsible things. The effects of these actions are sometimes harmless and are at other times serious. Of course hind sight is always 20-20, but the following prayer would have been helpful for the Biblical characters Nabal and David, and at times it might be a good prayer for us to offer: “LORD, protect me from my own foolishness and help me to behave with wisdom and discretion.” Thank the LORD there are wise and discerning people like Nabal’s wife, Abigail, who give us an example how we may be saved from our foolishness.

In today's Bible reading we are continuing the story of David.

While David was in the desert [fleeing from King Saul and his senseless jealousy], he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. Say to him: 'Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them,” (1Samuel 25:4- 8, NIV).

Nabal, however, is mean and ungracious, not even thankful for those who protect his assets. Nabal's name means “fool” for that is what he is. While Nabal is feasting and celebrating a good return for his investment, David sends a few of his men to ask for a small compensation for their services, and they are shamefully refused.

When Abigail hears how her husband, Nabal, insults and answers David's men roughly, even though they were good to him, she knows there will be trouble. Her servants inform her that David’s men have been a wall of protection around Nabal's flocks. She knows they will be offended and cause trouble for her family for his foolishness. With haste, Abigail prepares a feast to give to David and his men, and then she makes a personal plea for forgiveness for her husband. She expresses faith in David's goodness, integrity, and his future. She quickly pacifies his anger and shows herself to be a wise woman. David is impressed!

We can learn many lessons from Abigail in handling offenses.

1. Handle them wisely and quickly.

2. Sympathize and empathize with the person who feels wronged.

3. Mitigate the offense if possible.

4. Humble yourselves and apologize. Even though you might not be directly at fault, you may be related to someone whose offense becomes your offense.

5. If the offended person is a Christian, express faith in the other person's reasonable nature and goodness, and then hope that he will forgive the offense.

6. Seek the welfare of the one who is treated unfairly. Abigail sought David’s welfare, for he might be sorry later for taking hasty actions against Nabal. When mitigating an offense you might state how refraining from undesirable actions or behavior will benefit that person.

7. Express your belief and confidence that the faithful person, although offended, will do the right thing.

David was quick to react to the insult of Nabal, instead of asking counsel from the LORD. Hasty decisions can lead to ruin. God is gracious to the righteous if they will submit to his ways of doing things. The LORD said “vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19).

David is spared from the foolishness of avenging himself because he gives heed to the wisdom of Abigail. What do we do when someone injures us? Do we pray before we react? Do we listen to the advice of godly counsel? Sometimes there is a need for action, but other times there is a need to just let the LORD be our defense and provider.

God strikes Nabal with a heart attack or stroke and he dies. David is vindicated. David is shown to be righteous and Nabal a fool. His death, however, could leave Abigail destitute. David is thankful for her wisdom and generosity; Abigail is an incisive woman; she realizes the struggles David is facing as he is being pursued, but she has confidence God will help him fulfill his destiny. She is a woman of faith and believes in him. She is wise, humble, kind, and desirable to David. He takes her to become his wife.

This would have been acceptable if he had not been already married. David, however, sets a bad example for his sons by marrying many wives (Deuteronomy 17:17). While we have no evidence that they drew him away from the LORD, we will see that his future son, Solomon, has many troubles because of his numerous marriages. We need to be careful of the examples we set.

Lessons to Live By

  • A fool is someone who denies the LORD and lives a selfish and immoral life. We are all sinners, but God, the creator of the universe, sacrificed his own Son in our place so that we could have forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).
  • We are all foolish at one time or another. This is a good prayer for us to offer to God: “LORD, protect me from my own foolishness and help me to behave with wisdom and discretion.”
  • Lessons from Abigail in handling offenses:

    1. Handle them wisely and quickly.

    2. Sympathize and even empathize with the person who feels wronged.

    3. Do whatever you can for the offended party to help mitigate the injury.

    4. At times you may need to humble yourself and apologize, even for someone who might be related to you.

    5. Express faith in the offended person's reasonable nature and his goodness, and hope that he will forgive the foolishness.

    6. Seek the welfare of the one offended.

    7. Express belief and confidence that the faithful person, although offended, will do the right thing.

  • Don’t be hasty to react. Seek the LORD and godly counsel.
  • Be careful of the examples you set.

Focus Verse

Proverbs 12:16 (NIV) “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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A Look Ahead: In our Next Lesson David feels Trapped by Saul. What does he do about it? What can we do about it if we feel the same way?

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