"Once upon a time ... in a land far, far away ... there lived a beautiful and wise young woman who was married to a brute of a man ..."
Although those words may sound like they have sprung from the pages of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale or a Disney movie, the truth is that this story is found in the Bible.
Abigail was a woman with beauty and brains, but she found herself trapped in a marriage to a scoundrel who overreacted with violence in every situation.
Nabal's name means "foolish," and he was a fool in every sense of the word; this man was harsh and evil in business and at home.
Nabal, Abigail's husband, was abundantly wealthy and owned large holdings of real estate and of livestock.
David and his band of brothers were hiding in the wilderness from Saul during the years of Abigail's marriage to Nabal. David, who had already been anointed to be king, was famous far and wide and was viewed with great respect and a little bit of healthy fear.
David was known as the Robin Hood of the ancient world, and he generously protected Nabal's shepherds and livestock while they were looking for land to graze upon. David and his mighty men protected Nabal's herdsmen from lions, tigers and the marauding bands of thieves who roamed the area.
The time for an annual celebration had arrived! Everyone who was associated with the ranch of Nabal was preparing to eat, drink and be merry! Friends, relatives and even strangers were invited from miles around in order to bask in the luxury and abundance Nabal had acquired during the successful season.
A large part of the reason Nabal had experienced such a profitable year was because of David's protection. Nabal had grown richer by the day, thanks to David.
David heard that Nabal was throwing his annual harvest feast. and so he sent word with a couple of his young men and wondered if they would be allowed to join in the day of merriment.
Nabal blew a royal gasket! He humiliated David. who had only been kind to him. Nabal nearly spit in David's handsome face with his refusal to let them join in the neighborhood party.
David said to his men, "Each of you gird on his sword." So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage (1 Sam. 25:13).
Talk about a situation escalating out of control. They had gone from talking about pumpkin pie to strapping on their swords. Can you picture it? Their nostrils were flaring, their eyes were glaring and the testosterone of David and his mighty men was about to explode.
When Abigail heard about the angry mob coming in her direction, she packed enough food to feed 600 "hangry" men.
When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, "On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant (1 Sam. 25:23-24).
What? "On me alone, my lord, be the blame."
The bully treatment by Nabal was not Abigail's fault. The refusal by Nabal to allow David and his band of brothers join in the thanksgiving feast was not Abigail's fault.
Why would a woman, who had done absolutely nothing to cause this volatile situation, take the blame for something that was out of her control?
I believe that she did it because that is what leaders do. If taking the blame will diffuse a situation—then do it.
Politicians don't know how to do this—they only point fingers at others.
The media don't know how to do this— they love to cast blame and dispersion on others.
When you find yourself in a fractious situation in life, always ask yourself the question, "What could I have done differently?"
When you find yourself a victim of the harsh and unfair treatment given by others, always internally ponder, "What can I learn from this situation?"
Abigail reflected the peace of God in a contentious situation; she spoke with grace and with humility.
If there was anything lovelier than Abigail's breathtaking beauty, it was her words and her heart.
God is looking for "Abigail leaders" today. He is looking for women who refuse to throw gasoline on the fires of strife. The Father is on a search for women who will bring peace and joy everywhere they go.
And, in case you have forgotten this incredible story, I'd like to remind you that it is true. David and Abigail well, "they lived happily ever after"!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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