The story of Abigail appears in 1 Samuel 25. The prophet Samuel had just died and David, who was on the run from King Saul, moved with his band of men to the Wilderness of Paran. The Wilderness of Paran was near a place called Carmel and in Carmel was a very rich man named Nabel. He had three thousand sheep and one thousand goats to feed, take care of, and keep safe. Even though they were far from home and without their families, David and his men did not steal any of Nabal’s animals. Instead they protected them.
When shearing time came, David wanted Nabal to recognize the hard work that he and his men had done and include them in the feasts and celebrations. But Nabal, which means fool, lived right up to his name and turned away David’s men. In anger, David ordered his men to strap on their swords and they started on their way to kill every man in Nabal’s household for the way he had treated them.
As soon as Nabal’s servants heard what David intended to do, they did not rush and warn Nabal; instead, they went and told his wife – Abigail. Abigail was the exact opposite of her husband. She is described as ‘a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance.’ The servants knew she would know how to remedy her husband’s unkindness and pacify David’s anger. Here are five lessons we can learn from Abigail.
1. Abigail was smart and intelligent. As soon as she was informed as to what David planned to do, she immediately began working on a plan to save her husband’s life and the lives of all the men in her household. She did not sit and fret over her husband’s foolishness. She did not try to rebuke Nabal for giving David a stupid, heartless answer. She simply saw the predicament they were in and acted decisively to get them out of it.
Girls, in a world of foolishness, we cannot afford to be unwise. When a problem arises, we should be ready and have the smarts to solve it.
2. Abigail could be trusted. The fact that the servants turned to Abigail shows they trusted her. They had confidence that she could make things right. And when Abigail told them to ‘get this food,’ or ‘pack this wine,’ and ‘load the donkeys,’ they obeyed without question.
In life, it is very important to have a trustworthy reputation among family, friends, and even strangers. People should know us to be girls of our word. They should be able to count on us to lead them in making good decisions.
3. Abigail was brave. She did not have to go out and meet David and his armed men. She could have done nothing. She could have sat at home in fear. She could have just packed up her things and fled the house, leaving Nabal and the servants to fend for themselves. But Abigail was no coward. She faced David fearlessly.
We may face many difficult, scary moments in life but there is never a reason to wimp out. No matter what the end result may be, we must always move forward with courage, grit, and determination. 2 Timothy 1:7 says: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
4. Abigail was submissive. Even though Nabal was a foolish man, she still respected him as her husband. After she had taken care of David and his men, she later told Nabal what she had done. Because she had listened to God and obeyed Him, rather than man, God looked out for her and made sure that she was not hurt. He later punished Nabal for his mean, cruel life.
Even if we know more than those who are in authority over us, God still wants us to show them the proper deference and honor. We are still to be obedient.
5. Abigail was confidently humble. When Abigail approached David, she was not unsure. She was not haughty. Even though he was planning to do something very evil to her household, she did not have a negative attitude toward him. She remained sweet and beautiful. In the end, it was not the great abundance of gifts that Abigail brought that caused David to change his mind, it was her compassionate character and graceful wisdom. As Proverbs 15:1 tells us, Abigail’s soft words turned away David’s wrath.