1 Samuel 25 "The Portrait Hall": Abigail – Mom to the Rescue!

Today our series will show the incredible portrait of a heroic mother named Abigail. Remember, David has learned a lesson in safety and a lesson on allowing God to reward or avenge. This text is a lesson on being God’s compensation when being cheated. David had an agreement with a wealthy man named Nabal. Nabal felt he could accept the benefits of the agreement and not pay his bill when the time came due. This slap to David could not go unanswered, because David’s band survived on their governmental agreements of protection, it was there livelihood. Enter at stage right Abigail, the mother that protected the whole clan!

A Quick Outline of the Story:

  1. David’s Contract of Protection Explained (25:1-9)
  2. Nabal’s Breach of the Contract Explained (25:10-12)
  3. David’s Response to the Insult Explained (25:13)
  4. Abigail Informed of the Insult (25:14-17)
  5. Abigail Responded to the Peril (25:18-35)
  6. Abigail Loses Nabal (25:36-38)
  7. Abigail Marries David (25:39-44)

The Lesson to David was this: God compensated David when he was cheated, and guarded David from making terrible mistakes by revealing truth to Him! David is saying, “Praise the LORD! Nabal insulted me, but the LORD has supported me! He has kept me from doing wrong.” What an interesting statement! Recall the story line of our text. Do you remember any mention of God speaking to David? Did God in a dream, or a vision warn David against an attack on the household of Nabal? Did God send heavenly beings to David advising him against his current course of action? Did David pray to God, seeking council regarding how to deal with Nabal No, God used Abigail!

This text tells us that God revealed truth by offering us a portrait of a woman that pleased God in a miserable situation!

Key Principle: A “woman of rescue” is a godly woman that recognizes her situation and deliberately seeks ways to creatively care for those in her charge.

14 Characteristics of the “Woman of Rescue”

  1. 25:3 Intelligent (sekhel- discerning). She was a woman of substance in her character and mind. This allowed her to see clearly what was happening in her home. Are you taking advantage of ways to build your character and discernment?
  1. 25:3 beautiful in appearance (yafe b’toar – beautiful in shape and form) She looked like she had everything going for her, but the situation was not as it appeared. She was gorgeous and rich! Yet, she was trapped in a bad marriage to a man who was harsh (25:3 lit. kawsheh) and “evil in his dealings” (25:3 lit. mahal-awl underhanded practices) that was in all likeliness arranged by her parents. Are you able to see who and where you really are in life?

Note: Differences Between a Husband and Wife Don’t Mean That a Marriage Can’t Continue. (from Pastor Ricky Shrive, Tomkinsville Church of Christ, Kentucky)

”If any women ever had a good reason not to support her husband, one could make an argument for Abigail. After all, he certainly wasn’t meeting her halfway in their marriage. He wasn’t meeting her at all. There was no give and take here, only take. There was no compromise in this marriage, it was all one way, his way!

How many couples today rush blindly into a marriage only to dissolve it a few months or years later due to irreconcilable differences? Our world today is full of them! Sadly, many marriages today are dissolved due to situations far less disquieting than Abigail’s. A study of divorced couples shows that after a year of divorce, 60% of men and 73% of women feel they made a mistake and should have tried harder to make their marriage work.

Do you think Abigail had to try hard to make her marriage work? Do you think there were many days in her marriage that she had to think hard for reasons why she should stay? Let me share some statistics with you. I realize they are a bit dated; nonetheless, they will suffice in proving the enormity of this problem within our society.

I believe several myths have become prevalent mindsets in many couples who are struggling in a marriage:

Myth #1: The grass is greener outside my marriage. The conflict you are in may give that impression. That is seldom the case after the divorce. The truth: what appears so green is usually the weeds.

Myth #2: The kids will be better off. The truth: Divorce, even under the best of circumstances, has a devastating effect on children. Most kids truly want their mother and father to stay together.

Myth #3: Divorce is justified in my case because I’m not in love anymore. The truth: The same God who commanded people to love their enemies will gladly help couples who want to learn to love each other again.

Myth #4: Divorce will make me happy. The truth: Happiness is determined by a person’s attitude and security in relationship to God, not by circumstances. While some people subsequently come to experience happiness, most experience guilt, loneliness, and anxiety.

Myth #5: Divorce will set me free. The truth: There are all kinds of prisons. Divorce doesn’t really free you; it shackles you in a different way.

If anyone was ever in a situation, outside of unfaithfulness, that certainly warranted a divorce, it would have to be Abigail. I would admonish any couple who are contemplating separation to take time and study Abigail.”

  1. 25:14 She had a listening ear to the troubles of her household. When presented with the situation, she did not seek to block what was unflattering and become defensive. Are you slow to react and careful to seek facts before jumping to conclusions?
  1. 25:17 She was circumspect (yadah: know) and carefully observed the whole before planning a response. Are you constantly watching those in your charge and keeping things in order to help them sort out truth from error?
  2. 25:17 She saw the situation and was looking for a creative (lit. rawaw or “envision” what you shall do) way to honor the parties involved. Do you take the time to find creative ways to keep your family walking in truth?
  1. 25:17 She was trusted by those she watched over. In the extreme circumstance of the family’s impending peril, the servant could tell her even the unflattering truth. She did not seek ways to denigrate her husband, but when he broke an agreement, she could be trusted to hear it. Can people trust you with sensitive information concerning those who you love (or should love)?
  1. 25:18 She was proactive in problem solving, recognizing that it would take time to explain her moves later. Remember, she fully intended to tell her husband (cp. 25:19 to 25:37) when the time was right, and she was doing what was both morally correct and physically necessary. An example would be the wife that destroyed files on a computer that were harming her husband and arranging accountability for him before consulting him. Do you proactively seek a way to help the people in your care stay on their moral path? One Pastor wrote:

A wife’s primary role is to support her husband. Ladies, when you said, “I do” to the man to whom you are married, you at that moment accepted a role that called for you to help him, to lift him up, and to support him. Now don’t misunderstand, he has all sorts of responsibilities to you too and those are outside of the time limitations of our lesson today. But, God made woman to be, “A helper fitted for her husband” (cf. Gen. 2:18). The word “helper” comes from a Hebrew that has the connotation of a jigsaw puzzle. It’s like every man is made with pieces missing, but when the, right woman comes along, she puts in those pieces and she makes him whole. Thus, she supports that man, she makes the two of them the one flesh.” Review a few key verses in Proverbs: An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life (Prov. 31:10-12). Abigail stands as a extremely strong example for wives today. She did her husband good, although he didn’t deserve it, all the days of his life.

  1. 25:19,24,28 She took personal responsibility for her household and stepped personally in the gap when things were going wrong. Do you take responsibility (in a healthy way) for things that weren’t even your fault in the family?

“It would have been easy and even understandable for Abigail to have met David on the road and simply said, “David, I don’t agree with anything that terrible husband of mine does, please, don’t hold any of this against me. Look, I’ve brought food and supplies. Spare my life and do as you wish with him. Be my guest to put me out of my misery!”

  1. 25:23 She know how to prioritize her life, and knew her personal pride was less important than saving the family. She did the hard thing and dropped to the ground to save her family. Are you willing to take time, energy and surrender pride to deal with the struggles of your family?

To say that Abigail was in a bad situation (regarding her marriage to Nabal) is an understatement! It would have been easy for her to have become withdrawn, depressed, timid… she could have easily slipped into a “place blame somewhere” mode. I could see her perhaps blaming herself, or blaming her parents, or even blaming God. She could have allowed the circumstances of this marriage to “drag” her down such that her faith in God is diminished. She did not!

  1. 25:25 She was truthful and did not try to hide the responsibility for her home. Telling a lie would have ended in disaster. Opening honestly offered David the chance to see her heart and have compassion. Are you covering for your family and making excuses that aren’t true? Are you an enabler?
  1. 25:28 She is encouraging to David in ways that are not “apple polishing” but that acknowledge God’s work in him, and his right to be treated differently! Do you see what God is doing in the lives of others and openly share that?

I believe Abigail used her relationship with God as a means of support in helping her survive day-to-day in this awful marriage. Like Abigail, we too should lean on God, using Him to help us survive our daily struggles. Paul said, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also my be manifested in our body” (2 Cor. 4:7-10). What is Paul really saying here? Simply that, we have this treasure from God, but we are like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that the great power is from God, not from us. We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. At times, we may not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. We carry the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies.

  1. 25:29-31 She reasoned fairly for the good of all parties, not just her own! Are you so busy getting the advantage for your family that you don’t see what is good for the other guy?
  1. 25:33 She was fruitful in her labors and produced both a testimony for the Lord (33), and peace for her family (35).
  1. 25:36-37 She had a sense of timing. She knew when to tell her husband, and when not to share something!

Conclusion: Abigail stands as a strong example for the world today. Her situation in marriage, her struggles, her disappointments along with her wisdom, her faith and commitment are valuable lessons for us all – especially anyone who might be struggling today in a marriage. A “woman of rescue” is a godly woman that recognizes her situation and deliberately seeks ways to creatively care for those in her charge.