I would like to share a devotion with you today from my book, “but God” but first let me tell you what my book is about.
It is a bible study devotional that takes you on a unique journey thru the Old Testament as you read about the different people in the bible who experienced God’s interventions in their lives, which brought them hope and healing and exposed God’s character and how he feels towards people and what his plans are for the future. You will read about Adam/Eve, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samson, Gideon, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Jonah, Job, Elijah, The Israelites, and more. All these people experienced “but God” moments and will show you that you probably have had many yourself. This study was something I was doing with the Lord during my devotional time and as he kept showing me more and more hidden treasures in his word he kept confirming I needed to share them with others. So now you can participate in this study yourself by buying the book, watching the YouTube videos, and liking the Facebook page, or checking for updates on the website at http://www.butGodbiblestudy.com
So one of the bible stories we run into as we study the but God verses is a story about a woman named Abigail. It is but God #42 and found in 1 Samuel 25 and in my book it is entitled “but God is at work in us”
We are told Abigail is beautiful and married to a very rich but foolish man named Nabal. David (before he was recognized as king) had met Nabal’s shepherds while in the desert and had protected them and the livestock while they were there. David heard Nabal was shearing his sheep and sent to ask for food if they had some to spare. Nabal responded negatively to this request, mocking and insulting David, acting as if he did not recognize who David was or what he had done for him, and refused to share any of his bread, water, or meat (vs 11). When David heard of this he reacted angrily and said that he had protected all Nabal’s possessions in vain, repaying evil for good. So David determined to have every male in the household killed (v 21-22). David had 200 of his men stay with the supplies and then he, along with 400 men, took their swords and headed towards Nabal’s household.
Meanwhile, Abigail’s servant told her how good David had been to them while in the fields and about Nabal’s rude remarks to David’s men and their request. He advised her to consider carefully what to do as harm would probably be coming toward them (vs 17).
Abigail quickly prepared: 200 loaves of bread, 2 wineskins, 5 prepared sheep, 5 seahs of grain, 100 raisin clusters, and 200 fig cakes and sent that out first, then followed behind it.
She met David coming toward her on the hill and fell at his feet begging to be heard and acknowledged the problem. Then she asked him to accept the offering of food and asked for forgiveness. Then she praised him and acknowledged who he was and spoke encouraging words over him. She said, “but God is at work in my master, developing a rule solid and dependable. My master fights god’s battles! As long as you live no evil will stick to you…”
David was so taken by Abigail’s words he said she was a blessing and she kept him from bringing bloodshed. He told her he (1) heard her, (2) respected her, (3) he accepted her offering, and (4) to go in peace.
The next day Abigail told her husband what had happened and verse 37 says his heart died and he became like a stone. He probably had a heart attack or a stroke, then 10 days later he died. David heard of this and sent servants to Abigail to ask her if she would become David’s wife. She immediately left with her 5 maidservants to join David and married him.
There are many things to glean from this story. We can see how Abigail represents the believer, the servant represents the holy spirit, Nabal represents the foolish unbeliever, and David represents king Jesus.
Maybe you are married to an unbeliever like Nabal, someone who mocks and insults Jesus, not acknowledging him as the “anointed king”. The world certainly is full of people who are disrespectful, ungratefully, selfish, foolish, and stubborn like Nabal. They dismiss simple requests, feeling they are entitled to all they possess and hoard it for themselves in a self-serving way. They do not want to accept Jesus or have anything to do with him.
David was anointed to be the king. Much like our messiah Christ Jesus is the anointed king. David had not been recognized by all as king just yet much like Jesus has not been recognized by everyone just yet. But in Revelation 19:16 we read when Christ returns on his white horse his robe will read “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. Then there will be no doubt about who is in charge and who the anointed king is.
Abigail represents the bride of Christ, the future queen. She honored David by acknowledged that he was to be the future king. She was beautiful, wise, courageous, and had discernment. She exhibited godly behavior, and had grace and favor in her king’s eyes. She did not stand idly by while disaster fell upon her household but she took action. She chose carefully and considered what to do. She probably had much practice at this by living with Nabal and had learned to be resourceful and a peacemaker. Abigail honored her marriage to Nabal and her intervention prevented catastrophe. She was confident, yet humble, when she boldly approached David. She stood in the gap for her household and interceded on their behalf. She was fit to be a queen and definitely was noticed by David as we are noticed by Christ.
1 Corinthians 7:12-17 summarizes it by saying this, “the unbelieving spouse is sanctified through the believing spouse. You should live as a believer in the situation the lord has called you to, for you do not know whether you will save your spouse.” (please note: this is not saying to stay if the marriage is abusive). Abigail lived as the peacemaker in her home and surely saved her household that day. As believers in Christ, we too must stand in the gap for those who are in danger and help bring salvation through our prayers for them. Abigail intervened without Nabal knowing, often times that is the same for us when we bring up our loved ones in prayer without them knowing we are praying for their salvation or praying for a door of opportunity to open to share with them in hopes they would be receptive to it.
Abigail’s servant warned her of the problem at hand and advised her to carefully plan her next step. This is a job of the Holy Spirit as he helps us size up the situation and discern what we hear and see. Then he will help us determine to do.
Proverbs 15:1-2 states clearly what happened in this story. It says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” Nabal’s foolish words stirred up anger in David, but Abigail’s soft wise words displayed her knowledge and stopped David’s wrath.
One thing that stood out to me in the story i want to mention are the amount of numbers used. We read about how many sheep and goats there were, how many men there were, how many food items Abigail sent out, how many days until Nabal died, and how many maids went with Abigail when David called for her. I want to highlight two. When the bible says it was 10 days from the time Nabal’s heart turned to stone until his death, it reminds me of the 10 plagues in Egypt (but God #19-22). The pharaoh, like Nabal, was known to have a hardened heart like a stone and stubborn. It was not until the 10th plague was completed that the Israelites were released from bondage and were freed to go be with god (their king) in the wilderness, much like Abigail was then free to be with her king after Nabal’s death 10 days later. Then, when it says that Abigail left with her 5 maids, it reminds me of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25. How interesting Nabal is representative of the foolish while Abigail is representative of the wise. You read that 5 of them were wise and ready to go when the bridegroom called them. Matthew 25:13 says, “Watch therefore, for you do not know the day or hour the son of man is coming.” Abigail did not know that David would come for her after her husband died, but he did – and she was ready to leave immediately (just like the 5 maids were), just like we should be ready to leave when the trumpet souNds and Jesus comes to collect his bride. We need to be ready!
In addition to Abigail, who was released from her marriage thru the death of her husband, there was another woman who also was fit to be queen. Her name was Bathseba and her story can be found in 2 Samuel 11-12 and in but God #46. She was married, but that didn’t keep David from sinning and having an affair. The story is full of scandal, including the death of her husband. David cried out for forgiveness and God did forgive, but there were consequences to their actions. God redeemed David and Bathseba’s relationship and blessed their marriage. God chose their son to be the next king who was Solomon.
Christians make up the body of Christ. To be part of the bride, you must believe Jesus is God’s son and daily obey the word of the lord, loving him with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. You cannot have a relationship with him for just 2 hours on Sunday each week. If you were engaged to someone, surely you would spend more time than that getting to know everything about them. God knows all about you (Psalm 139:13-16 god created me in the womb and the days fashioned for me are written in his book), He created you with a purpose (Eph 2:10- we were created to do good works which Christ prepared beforehand, PS 119:73-80 he fashioned me to hope in him and live according to his law not being ashamed and delighting in him, PS 138:8 the lord will perfect that which concerns me, Col 1:16 all things were created by him and for him, Jer 29:11-i know the plans i have for you to give you a future and a hope), and wants you to belong to his Son’s bride (Romans 1:6, Rom 8:38-39- you were called to belong to Jesus and nothing could separate you from his love).
The point is this- God is constantly at work in us and we all have the potential to be queen, the question is will you accept the invitation?
Feel free to watch the video that goes with this study here on the underlined words by Pastor Dan at Water of Life Community Church