I had the privilege of sharing at the Women’s
Retreat – Serve Him 2014 – this past weekend.
It was a special time of fellowship with a varied group of women aged 70+ to 22. I was so blessed by the sense of unity and the desire of those of us present to grow in our understanding of what it means to serve God.
Several people told me that they were unable attend – so I thought I would share a brief summary of three of the four sessions – one each for the next three weeks.
Session 2 – Serve with All Your Heart
We started by reading the scripture from I Samuel 25:1-38. This passage tells the story of Abigail, an “intelligent and beautiful woman”. She was married to a man known for being stubborn and foolish. David has been anointed to be the next king, but Saul is putting forth an attempt to maintain the throne. David is hiding from Saul and his troops, even though it is well known that Samuel anointed David to be the next king.
David asks his servants to request supplies of food from Nabal, Abigail’s husband. The servants do as they are told, but Nabel treats them rudely and refuses to give them any supplies. David decides he will lead his men and take the supplies they need as well as teach Nabal a lesson.
But, one of Nabal’s servants tells Abigail what has happened. I Samuel 25:14-
14 One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. 15 Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. 16 Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. 17 Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”
18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
So, Abigail responds to the servant with wisdom to save the lives of her household. Abigail knew that David was God’s anointed. David recognizes the wisdom of what Abigail says –
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.
In that time and culture – women were only as important as the man they were married to. Her position as Nabal’s wife was significant.
Abigail was willing to put that secure postion aside for the more important goal of serving God.
We can learn some very important principles about serving God from Abigail’s story:
1) Abigail recognized God’s will – she was not doing something she just thought up
a.God wanted David to be king
b.She realized that Nabal’s insults put her and her family in danger
2) Abigail used her influence to save her family
a.She listened to wise counsel – v. 17 – “consider what you will do”
b.She was courageous
c.She acted quickly – “made haste”
3) Abigail bowed before David – symbol of God’s anointed – God’s will a.She submitted to God’s will
b.She used kind, wise words to ask for mercy for her husband
4) Abigail told Nabel – but waited for the RIGHT time
a. There is a right time to do the right thing
b. There is a wrong time to do the right thing
c. There is a wrong time to do the wrong thing
5) Abigail obeyed – God was responsible for the consequences
When our heart is set to serve the Lord – He will orchestrate the circumstances – and He will bring it to His desired outcome. Verse 31 – “And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then earnestly remember your handmaid.”
Abigail is an example to us of a woman who desired to honor God. God protected her and later blessed her by causing David to marry her after her husband died.
When we trust God to show us how to serve Him, we can trust God with the consequences.