David and Nabal - by Richard Neufeld
1 Samuel 25-27 begins with the death of Samuel, followed by David and his men in Paran who come by a man named Nabal during a feast day and ask him for provisions so David’s followers can participate. Nabal says no and causes David great offence. David is about to rush up and kill the whole lot of them when Nabals wife, Abigail, slips away with a generous offering for David and pleads with him not to kill Nabal. David thanks her for saving him from bloodguilt. When Nabal heard of the actions of his wife, his heart died within him. The Lord struck him down around ten days later. Abigail follows David with her household and becomes David’s wife.
Saul is then after David in the wilderness yet again, and David, having another opportunity to take Saul’s life, refrains from doing so. Instead, in the dead of night, he takes the spear that is thrust into the ground by Saul’s head as well as his water jug that is nearby. Later David confronts Saul with these two items and shows how he could have killed him, but showed mercy. Saul blesses David, thanks him, and returns to his house.
After this, David senses that Saul will keep coming after him no matter how David shows mercy and flees to the land of the Philistines with 600 of his men. He settles in one of the towns there and conducts many raids against the Geshurites, Girzites, and the Amalekites, who were natives of the Philistine land. This would have made him an enemy of the Philistines, however David was a shrewd man and instead said that he had been raiding the different tribes of Israel. Achish falls for the ruse, not seeing that David is raiding Philistine settlements, and trusts David all the more.
David was a devout, spiritual, zealous, kind man and no doubt displayed many good qualities – but the important thing to note here is that no matter who the person may be, our standard for good and holy conduct is Jesus Christ. Full stop. Nabal snubbed David’s kindness and generosity and gave him grave insult by refusing to give him nourishment for the festival of that day, and no doubt David, with his ancient Near Eastern chieftain mindset saw that his honor must be avenged. The Lord, in his Fatherly way, showed David the way of mercy. David was instantly aware in this that not only had he had tried to work salvation with his own hand but that he would have incurred bloodguilt by doing so.
One book over in 2 Samuel we see David’s dependence on God’s mercy after his conduct with Bathsheba and Uriah. The Lord Jesus orders us to turn the other cheek and to repay evil with good. Romans 12:19 says “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.” David learned the benefit of letting the Lord right the wrongs, and it’s time we did too. Heaven knows there are enough of them in each of our lives. Let us be aware of our attitude towards those who hurt and wrong us and leave room for the God of Justice and Mercy to work.
We’ve been treated poorly by those who should have loved us most, we’ve faced physical and emotional and spiritual harm, too, from all spheres of our lives. To seek reconciliation and forgiveness and healing in these areas is one thing, but to avenge ourselves is another. We have a perfect example in Jesus Christ, and if anyone is wondering how their life fits in with the truth of His words, consider the Gospels and take time to sense how the Holy Spirit may be convicting you. We are in the hands of God who does our fighting for us. Our directive is clear – to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Do we trust our Lord enough to give our pain to Him?
Application question –
How did Jesus treat those who persecuted Him? Take a look at the crucifixion of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke; how does Jesus’ example there teach about loving others?
Father God, it is far too easy for us to react out of wounded pride, to try and work salvation with our own hands. Please forgive us these misdeeds and shine your light in the dark parts of our lives that we might bring the light of Christ to even the most difficult situations and people. We trust you with our successes and failures, our loves and our hurts, and we surrender any and all bitterness of spirit that could lead us to mistreat others. Amen.
Song: O Come to the Altar - Elevation Worship
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.