David, while on the run from King Saul, protected Nabal’s flocks and shepherds. In doing so, he and his men ran short on supplies. They ask Nabal if he would please provide food and water. Unfortunately, Nabal is in the middle of a hardy sheering party (probably drunk) and instead of extending aid to David and his men, he insults his future king. David is furious. He straps on his sword and rides out to teach that ungracious Nabal a lesson he’ll never forget.
But Abigail finds out about what her husband has done and executes a preemptive strike, so to speak. She intercedes for her ungrateful husband by pleading before David, on her face, for the lives of not only Nabal, but his entire household.
And then she has one last request of the future king:
…remember your servant.
32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”
35 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.” 1st Samuel 25:32-35 niv 2011
David heard her heart, and she saved the lives of her entire household. And, beloved, God hears our hearts. Here’s just a little proof. Look at Acts 10:
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Acts 10:1-4 niv 2011
Before God? Cornelius’ prayers have not gone unnoticed. For a glimpse of what before God looks like, read the entire chapter of Revelation 4. Here, I’ll cut and paste right here for you so you don’t have to fumble with your Bible:
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” Revelation 4 niv 2011
This is what before God looks like. The Throne room in heaven is a busy, awesome place – and there our prayers and offerings come before God. He hears and He answers.
What an awesome visual for us, this similarity between David listening to Abigail, and our Lord, Jesus Christ listening to our hearts.
36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died. 1st Samuel 25:36-38 niv 2011
Nabal gets drunk, again, so Abigail waits until he is sober, and then she tells him what has transpired during his latest and greatest partying episode. And this is conjecture on my part, but I think that when Nabal found out how close he’d come to being slaughtered because of his foolish actions, his ole ticker just couldn’t take it. He couldn’t move—perhaps paralyzed with the realization of what his big, stupid mouth had nearly brought upon them. And then God just finishes him off, as if to say, “I won’t be tolerating anymore of your foolishness—and neither will your wife.”
39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.”
Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. 40 His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.”
41 She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife. 1st Samuel 25:39-42 niv 2011
Like the thief on the cross next to Christ, Abigail had asked David to remember her…and he did.
Nabal was a hard man to live with. He took risks that endangered his household, but his wife was not going to let that danger run roughshod over her home. She didn’t panic, fret, stew, or gossip. Instead, she dealt with the situation like a woman after God’s own heart; with understanding, wisdom, prudence, knowledge, sense and discretion.
Here’s the thing: danger is always going to be there, whether you’re alone or you have a husband letting them in the door, but you don’t have to let it have the run of the house! We have a King with a Name that makes the demons bristle, chill, tremble, shudder. (James 2:19) We need to use our King’s Name, out loud, every day that we live. That Name is Jesus Christ, and in that Name there’s power: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth… Philippians 2:10 niv 1984
If you want to make demons cower at your doorstep, hesitant and afraid to step inside, do what Abigail did. She met with catastrophe before it even came near her home. More than that, she met her king—on her face. She made her requests, and she was heard by him.
How much more will our heavenly King listen and hear us?
James, the half-brother of our Lord Jesus, said that the “prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” And he would know. Church tradition claims that James’ nickname was “Old Camel Knees” because of the thick callouses he carried on his knees, due to all of the time he spent on them! I think that’s awesome. James knew the enemy well. Satan had convinced his family that Jesus was “out of His mind” and was in need of intervention (Mark 3:20-34). They gossiped about their brother’s assumed mental deficiencies, rendering His ministry nearly powerless in His own hometown (Mark 6:1-6).
They should have been on their knees for Christ and His ministry then, but they were against Him until they saw Him raised from the dead.
James would later write: Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:13-16 niv 1984
The power of prayer, and not just any prayer—the “prayer of a righteous man/woman.” The prayers of those of us who believe in Jesus Christ and His salvation.
We’re all sinners and we do terrible things. BUT, there’s a God who loves us so much He sent His son to us in order that we would believe in Him and be saved from the enemy. That enemy seeks to win us over so that he might bring havoc and destruction to God’s beloved creation—as he attempted within Christ’s own family. And then Jesus’ brother, James, up and becomes a Church leader! Praise our holy God! That’s a display of power that we could see on a regular basis if we prayed for one another.
Like the Italian Partisans (discussed in Part 1), who stood their ground against indescribable odds and emerged to declare themselves “powerful warriors,” we can and we must stand against the enemy of our Creator.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2nd Corinthians 10:3-4 niv 1984
This is where a woman of God must be. This is what we do. This is who we are in the Lord, and what we were created to be. We are not simpering cowards. We are powerful in mind and spirit—a veritable force to be reckoned with within the spiritual realm.
When we get on our face and call heaven’s glory into our midst, we will emerge as powerful warriors—warriors for our Lord and Savior, powerful for use within the realm of His kingdom, and will ride with Him when He returns to rule the earth (Revelation 19).
May we all be powerful warriors!
Join us next week for Part 1 of A Warrior Is Kind—The Story of a Righteous Bully. We’ll study the character and actions of Moses’ wife, Zipporah.
© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom
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