The Defiant Wife

She was beautiful, smart, married to a tycoon, and scared to death. Her husband had stupidly insulted their future king—and a war hero to boot. The lives of their household and workers were now in dire jeopardy.

A piercing reminder that she was married to a fool! Pigheaded with a thunderclap temper! What he had done this time was critical. Someone had to do something and fast.

She didn’t have time to track down Nabal and try to talk sense into him. Even if she did, he wouldn’t listen to reason from anyone, especially a woman—least of all her—Abigail—his wife.

What she had in mind would be defying her husband, but he was dead wrong. He had put many innocent lives in impending danger. At that very moment David and his men were arming themselves to retaliate, vowing that there would be no man or boy alive in Nabal’s domain by daybreak.

Abigail would take a risk for the greater good. Knowing there was no time to lose, she barely thanked the shepherd who had rushed to her with the heads-up. Spinning on her heel, she shot out orders to her house servants. David would get his request.

Food was fair payment for David’s band of men, who without fail had guarded Nabal’s flocks from marauders. Hadn’t their protection increased his prosperity? And it wasn’t as if her husband didn’t have plenty of food on hand today for the shearing festival!

As soon as humanly possible, Abigail sent ahead to David’s camp donkeys laden with wine-filled goatskins, cooked sheep and trimmings, two hundred loaves of bread, and fig cakes galore. Riding last in the caravan, she clung to the hope that the advancing food would soften David’s vengeful heart. But what should she say to him? Would her words carry enough weight to make a difference?

“It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them” (1 Samuel 25:20 NASB). So soon?

Like a flash, Abigail dismounted, fell down down at David’s feet, and took the blame for her husband. “Please,” she implored, “forgive the transgression of your maidservant” (1 Samuel 25:28 NASB).

She hastened to speak of possible future regrets: “And when the Lord does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself” (1 Samuel 25:30-31 NASB).

“David then said to Abigail, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand’” (1 Samuel 25:32-33 NASB).

Abigail did not submit to her husband and is universally praised for her kindness, courage, and wisdom. Some describe her as shrewd.

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To Regret Or Not To Regret

No more Mr. Nice Guy! He’d been pushed too far. Who did that tycoon think he was? Not an ounce of appreciation. No show of hospitality or even common courtesy. What a selfish ingrate!

How many times had he ordered his men to protect that ungrateful magnate’s shepherds and flocks from roaming bandits? Too many, apparently. Any time at the snap of his finger, his own motley band of malcontents and discontents would have plundered them. Why, if it hadn’t been for his kindness and skillful leadership, there would be nothing for that imbecile to party about–or with–at Carmel!

Did that arrogant aristocrat think, because he was running for his life, he was hobbled? No way. He’d been on the run for almost a decade, and the king hadn’t killed him yet. He knew how to survive. Besides, God was on his side.

It wasn’t like he was asking permission for them to attend the annual whoop-de-do but merely a fair share of the feast. The gall of that bloated ego to laugh at his young envoys’ request with “Who is David, the son of Jesse?” How dare the rascal insult him like that! The cheat knew he was the David who had eaten regularly at the king’s table! Maybe this scumbag thought the king’s son-in-law wasn’t the same valiant warrior he once was when his name had been cheered and sung at victory parades. He’d show him–the dirty dog!

“Suit up!” David ordered his ragtag army. “You’ll get to wield your swords and spears soon. I free you from all restraint. You are no longer wall-to-wall protection for Nabal’s shepherds. That fool will get what’s coming to him for denying us our due. He’s going to pay, all right. No male–man or boy–in that household will be alive at daybreak.”

David slapped on his sword and led his four hundred men down the mountain pass. Beginning the descent, he was surprised by a train of donkeys laden with bread, wine, ready-to-eat sheep, roasted grain, and hundreds of raisin and fig cakes.

Ha! So the scoundrel changed his mind. Well, he’s a day late and a dollar short. I’ve drawn my battle lines.

David waved his arm for his men to keep pace. Turning in the bend, his eyes locked with those of a breathtakingly beautiful woman.

Who’s that? She’s too well dressed to be another servant, and she possesses a regal bearing. I must have scared her. She can’t wait to dismount from that donkey. Why is she falling down at my feet? She doesn’t even lift her head to look at me and talks like this is all her fault. She’s asking me to let her bear the blame.

Oh, I get it. She’s that nincompoop’s wife. This catered meal is her idea. She’s shrewd–very shrewd. She thought her ploy would soften me and get me to change my mind, but I’m smarter than–hold on. I’d better listen to this. She’s starting to make sense.

When the LORD does for my lord all the good He promised and appoints you ruler over Israel, there will not be remorse or a troubled conscience for my lord because of needless bloodshed or my lord’s revenge. And when the LORD does good things for my lord, may you remember me your servant.
(1 Samuel 25:30-31 HCSB)

She’s got a point. I hadn’t thought about it like that. I’ve been anointed the next king, and one day I will sit on the throne. If I take this revenge, will I live to regret it? Will it become a dark cloud on my future monarchy? Will I look back and think it was beneath me? That I had lost faith in God? This woman has made me stop and think and remember that vengeance belongs to the Almighty.

Then David said to Abigail, “Praise to the LORD God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! Your discernment is blessed, and you are blessed. Today you kept me from participating in bloodshed and avenging myself by my own hand.
(1 Samuel 25:32-33 HCSB)

Three Things Come Not Back

Remember, three things come not back:
The arrow sent upon its track —
It will not swerve, it will not stay
Its speed; it flies to wound or slay.

The spoken word, so soon forgot
By thee; but it has perished not.
In other hearts ’tis living still
And doing work for good or ill.

And the lost opportunity
That cometh back no more to thee.
In vain thou weepest, in vain dost yearn.
Those three will nevermore return.
(an Arabic saying)

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