wise woman April 21 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Samuel 25:1-44; Psalm 14, Psalm 53

Foolishness versus Wisdom

We have all done foolish and irresponsible things. The effects of these actions are sometimes harmless and are at other times serious. Of course hind sight is always 20-20, but the following prayer would have been helpful for the Biblical characters Nabal and David, and at times it might be a good prayer for us to offer: “LORD, protect me from my own foolishness and help me to behave with wisdom and discretion.” Thank the LORD there are wise and discerning people like Nabal’s wife, Abigail, who give us an example how we may be saved from our foolishness.

Nabal was a very wealthy man, but he was also mean and surly.

While David was in the desert [fleeing from King Saul and his senseless jealousy], he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. Say to him: 'Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them,” (1Samuel 25:4- 8, NIV).

Nabal, however, was not even thankful for those who protected his assets. Nabal's name means “fool” for that is what he was. When Nabal was feasting and celebrating a good return for his investment, David came asking for a small compensation for his services and was shamefully refused. When Abigail heard how her husband, Nabal, insulted and answered David's men roughly, even though they were good to him, she knew there would be trouble. Her servants informed her that David’s men had been a wall of protection around his flocks. She knew David and his men would be insulted and kill her whole family for Nabal's foolishness. With haste, Abigail prepared much food to give to David and his men, and then she personally made a plea of forgiveness for her foolish husband. She expressed faith in David's goodness, integrity and destiny. She quickly pacified his anger and showed herself to be a very wise woman. David was very impressed.

We can learn many lessons from Abigail in handling offenses. First, handle offenses wisely and quickly. Second, we should sympathize and even empathize with the person who feels wronged. Third, we should do whatever we can for the offended party to help mitigate the offense. Fourth, we should humble ourselves and apologize. Even though we might not be directly at fault, we may be related to family members whose offense becomes our offense. Fifth, if the offended person is a Christian, we should express faith in the other person's reasonable nature and goodness and hope that he will forgive the offense. Sixth, we should seek the welfare of the one offended. Abigail sought David’s welfare, for he might be sorry later for taking hasty actions against Nabal. When mitigating an offense we might state how refraining from undesirable actions or behavior will benefit that person. Seventh, we should express our belief and confidence that the faithful person, though offended, will do the right thing.

David was quick to react to the offense of Nabal, instead of asking counsel from the LORD. Hasty decisions can lead to ruin. God is many times gracious to the righteous if they will submit to his ways of doing things. God said “vengeance is mine; I will repay,” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19). David was spared from the foolishness of avenging himself because he gave heed to the wisdom of Abigail. What do we do when someone offends us? Do we pray before we react to an offense? Do we listen to the advice of godly counsel? Sometimes there is a need for action, but other times there is a need to just let the LORD be our defense and provider.

God struck Nabal with a heart attack or stroke and David was vindicated. David was shown to be righteous and Nabal a fool. His death, however, might have left Abigail destitute. David was thankful for her wisdom and generosity while he sought refuge from Saul. Abigail was an incisive woman; she realized the struggles David was facing as he was pursued by Saul, but she also had confidence that God would help him fulfill his destiny. She was a woman of faith and believed in him. She was beautiful, wise, humble, kind, and very desirable to David. David took her to be his wife. This would have been acceptable if he had not been already married. David, however, set a bad example for his sons by marrying many wives (Deuteronomy 17:17). While we have no evidence that his wives drew him away from God, we will see that his future son, Solomon, had many troubles because of his numerous wives. We need to be careful of the example we set.

Lessons to live by:

  • A fool is someone who denies God and so lives a selfish and immoral life. We are all sinners, but God, the creator of the universe, sacrificed his own Son in our place so that we could have forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).
  • We are all foolish at one time or another. This is a good prayer for us to offer to God: “LORD, protect me from my own foolishness and help me to behave with wisdom and discretion.”
  • Lessons from Abigail in handling offenses:

    1. Handle offenses wisely and quickly.

    2. Sympathize and even empathize with the person who feels wronged.

    3. Do whatever we can for the offended party to help mitigate the offense.

    4. Humble yourself and apologize, even for a family member’s offenses.

    5. Express faith in the offended person's reasonable nature and his goodness and hope that he will forgive the offense.

    6. Seek the welfare of the one offended.

    7. Express belief and confidence that the faithful person, though offended, will do the right thing.

  • Don’t be hasty to react to an offense. Seek the LORD and godly counsel.
  • Be careful of the examples you set.

Today’s Bible memory verse: Proverbs 12:16 “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” (NIV)

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