Abigail: No Victim of Circumstances

Scripture: Proverbs 14:33, 1 Samuel 25:1-44
Date: 10/30/2010 
Lesson: 5
Abigail, wife of the foolish Nabal, demonstrates the importance of listening, not speaking rashly, and interceding for people who don't deserve it.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world. Wherever you are, we welcome you to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church right here in California on the west coast of the United States of America. If you're tuning in for the first time this morning, extra special welcome. Those of you who come and join us here in the sanctuary, welcome too.

We have a few visitors this morning. And we're going to sing favorite songs as we do every week. And the first request comes from gene and bev in Alaska, fred and emy in australia, birdie, ralph in bahamas, roger in barbados, hedy, samu, neal, amy, chuck and beth in Canada, trevor in the cayman islands, stephen, Pauline and royston in england, adanma in finland, hazel and kaseeah in florida, rosalee in germany, jenifer in Illinois, jean in italy, anthony, sherylee, ann-marie and hayan, and tamara and maxine in jamaica, fred in new zealand, ezinwa in nigeria, eleonore in Oregon, hermaneve in saudi arabia, dumisani in south africa, eben in sir lanka, oby in sweden, joanne in tennessee, richard and delores in Washington and eugenia in zimbabwe. This is a favorite. "I need the prayers of those I love.

" You'll find that on 505 in your hymnals, 505. [Music] Don't you want the prayers of those this morning? We sure can use every single prayer. So we ask that those of you who are our extended family, you'll pray for us here. We pray for you wherever you are that God knows our hearts, and he knows the longings that we each have. And I pray that we will all just hold each other up.

And one day we will all be able to meet on the sea of glass. And we can have one big prayer service and we can sing and sing for eternity. I'm looking forward to that. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it's very simple. You go to our website at saccentral.

org, and click on the "contact us" link. And you can send in your favorite hymn request. And we'll do our best to sing that for you on an upcoming Sabbath. You know actually it's time to start sending in your Christmas requests. How exciting! 'Cause it's three weeks ahead if you're watching on the television.

So this is already the end of October, beginning of November for our television viewers. So please hurry up and get in your song requests for Christmas, because we don't have that much time for you to get them in before we start singing them. So saccentral.org, Christmas requests, here we come. Okay, 212 is our next song, "it's almost time for the Lord to come." Couldn't agree with that more. This is from chris in Arizona, olga in australia, pedro in barbados, adhiambo in england, owen in finland, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, burnalyn in Georgia, ali in malawi, kathryn in Maine, joyan in netherlands, kern in New York, alao in nigeria, sandie, vern, jamie and jenny in North Carolina.

We're going to sing the 1st, 2nd and 4th stanza, 212. [Music] Father in Heaven, we know that very, very soon you will come. The signs don't lie, 'cause you have promised us in Your Word that things will happen, and they'll happen rapidly. And we see those things taking place in this world. We see wars and bloodshed, strife, hatred, and everything that you have said is going to happen before you come.

And it's happening so quickly. And father, we just pray that we will each be ready for that day, when there'll be no more time. And probation will be closed, that we will all be on the right side and we'll be ready to welcome you with open arms when you come to take us home. Please be with us this morning as we study together on your holy Sabbath. And we thank you so much for the opportunity that we have still, the freedoms that we still have in this country to do this.

And I pray that you'll just open up our hearts and minds as we open up Your Word. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by--ah! Pastor white. He is our administrative pastor here at central church. Thank you debbie, jessica and mrs.

Allred on the piano. We welcome you, glad you're all here this morning on a bright, beautiful Sabbath morning here in Sacramento. If you're joining us from wherever you are, we're glad to welcome you likewise. Everybody happy this morning? Alright. We are studying about a big gal, abigail, a big gal named abigail.

I don't know if she was a big gal, but she was a big, important gal in a very important story in the old testament, wasn't she? Lesson number 5, "no victim of circumstances." And I am told that we have a free offer this morning. Jessica gave me this information. It's number 182. And the title is "failure is not an option," "failure is not an option," number 182. All you have to do is go to www.

amazingfacts.org. And you can get that. Or call 1-866-788-3966, or 1-866-study-more if that helps you remember that. Okay. We are ready for our memory verse if you will join me in taking your quarterly.

And it's found in Proverbs 14:33, new king James version. Would you read along with me? "Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known." Wow. No victim of circumstances. I have read inspired statement many times that says, "we are not to allow circumstances to shape our lives, but we, our lives, should shape our circumstances." Now that's a pretty tall order, isn't it? Because there are many things in this world that seem to shape your life. Your circumstances shape what you have to do.

Given our jobs. Many times our jobs call for certain activities to be done at certain times. So our lives are shaped by circumstances, but I believe that statement is especially applicable in a spiritual nature, in a spiritual way. Don't let circumstances shape your life spiritually-speaking. Would you probably agree with that? I think that's a very important thing.

Now this is one of those very interesting little stories in the old testament, probably could have gotten left out. But God saw fit that it got tucked in there in the book of 1 Samuel. So I'm going to start by way of introduction this morning by giving you a little quiz. Now you can't pass, or you can't fail. It's just a way of getting into the story this morning.

Question number one: abigail was married to nabal who was a just man. True or false? False. Yeah. If you've read your story you're going to answer all these very easily. Not a very good man, nabal.

In our story, David was on the run from whom? Who is he running from? King Saul, absolutely. When David met up with nabal's herdsmen, how did he treat them? Well, he was very kind to them, wasn't he? He was very helpful. He went out of his way to go the extra mile. It's a biblical principle. Going the extra mile to help these herdsmen.

And they were extremely appreciative of this help. Now nabal was very--this is another question--nabal was very appreciative of this kindness when he was asked for some provisions from David's men? True or false? False. Yeah, he wasn't very kind at all. David as always took the news with calmness. True or false? No, this wasn't one of the more shining moments momentarily for David.

His indignation was aroused because this was a personal attack upon him. After all he had done for nabal's herdsmen and the people that worked for him, this man had the audacity to treat him like that. So he was aroused. His indignation was actually anger. Abigail, another question, who was nabal's wife, heard about what happened and what David was going to do.

All she could do was pray for the best. True or false? False, she was a lady of action, wasn't she? A lady of action. That's what I really like about her. She took measures to meet this calamity. Now she could have been killed by David.

Why wasn't she? That's a more involved question. I'm sure the Lord was with her. David was a good man, so he at least heard her out. Probably heard her out because it was a strange situation. Women in those days wouldn't do things like this.

To do such a thing like this was out of the ordinary. But she probably didn't hurt anything. The Bible says she was a beautiful woman. I don't know how much that had to play in it. But at least David took the time to listen to her.

And the Spirit of God was with abigail because she definitely got through to David, appealed to his sense of justice and mercy. Another question: abigail went back home and after nabal sobered up from his drunken feast, she told him what had transpired; nabal was so thankful that he held a prayer breakfast and changed his name from "fool" to "mr. Respect"? False. Didn't do such a thing, did he? About 10 days after that, nabal died. How did he die? Would somebody read 1 Samuel 25:38? Somebody has that this morning.

Right over here in the front, front row. That will answer this question. How did nabal die? Who had--okay, it's 1 Samuel 25:38, emily. "And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote nabal, that he died." So how did he die? the Lord smote him. Some people don't like to think about God killing anybody, but that's pretty plain in this text, isn't it? God smote him.

I believe God will one day wipe out all sinners, don't you? I mean he may not be the one that comes down and actually does it, but he's definitely responsible for that to happen. Now after all of that, David and abigail, another question-- after all that David and abigail parted ways and never saw each other again. True or false? False. They actually got married. You know, as you think about this, this wasn't David's only wife by far.

God did a lot of winking in the old testament times, didn't he? This was one area he winked at it seems like a lot where men would take more than one wife. I'm glad he doesn't wink at that anymore, aren't you? One wife is enough. Ah-ha, I see a lot of the smiles out there. One wife is plenty. That's just right.

So this was--in our story nabal is certainly a scoundrel, and such a scoundrel that the people who worked for him said he was not even a man you could talk to. You couldn't even reason with him at all. So they appealed. They knew they couldn't appeal to nabal, so they went and appealed to his wife, 'cause they probably knew she would do something at least. Went to abigail.

And they said it wasn't the normal thing of the day. To take matters in their own hands was a far, very courageous thing to do at that time. Now too often men and women when they feel the spouse has done something--i think too often I've seen spouses rise up in indignation, do something when the situation isn't nearly as serious. And I don't think we can derive that from this lesson. I don't want men and women to get the idea if your spouse did something wrong, or he's a little rascal in something, or she's a little too much in this area that you need to rise up and do something as traumatic as abigail did.

This was a life and death situation. And she had to take actions about it. Married to a complete fool. That's what his name stood for, fool. It was within her rights to try and do something.

Now to David. How was he faring in this situation? As we already said, he wasn't taking this news very, very-- as a Christian should. He was very angry. He let anger take over and he was moving forward without-- this is the key--without any direction, without seeking the Lord. So that was his major problem.

Have you ever done that? Have you ever moved forward without seeking the Lord? Did you get yourself in trouble? Almost always I bet. Now this is where the rubber meets the road kind of thing in daily living, isn't it? Because something could happen in your life, I mean in one split second that will cause just you get so angry within yourself. Does that ever happen to you? Sure, everybody sitting here knows that something can happen just like that, and you can just become so angry, just so quick, just like David. But when we are confronted with such things, we probably should look to this story and learn some lessons. How often does it turn out to be a problem when that happens in your life? I can tell you always, always.

I can tell you that because I can tell you that from experience unfortunately. The very best thing one can do is to do not what David did. He went off with a plan without confronting the Lord. Prayer. How important is prayer when something like that happens to you? Extremely important, isn't it? But all too often I think people, when they get in a situation like this, they pray something like this.

"God, you heard what happened. You saw what happened. You, you was right there. You know what happened to me. I have been following you.

I have been serving you. I have been giving you my life. And I know you don't want your people to experience terrible things like this, so here's what I want you to do." That's not prayer, is it? That's not talking to God. That's talking at God. That's talking out your feelings in a way that you haven't really turned them over yet to the Lord.

Talking to God is, "okay, Lord, this is how I feel." Letting him know how you feel, but then seeking his help to change things a little bit. Now you're looking at someone who, as I said, has experience. You can't be a minister for 35 years and not have had some situations where you feel like retaliating. I can tell you that. But to be fair, I have had a wonderful ministry, 35 years.

I have had some of the most marvelous Christian people in all churches from Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, New York, Texas, ArKansas, all these places. And I could go back to all those churches and just love all those people as I can right here in central. But there was a couple times when you run across the cantankerous individual. And those situations 'cause you to feel like David felt for a moment if you're not careful. Now one time I can tell you there was a situation with a lady, another state, another time.

And 30 seconds I began to fight fire with fire, probably no longer than 30 seconds, but that's all it took. I blew it. And she was not the kind of person that would forgive you. So it made things kind of rough for a little while, but eventually everything worked out okay. But I just got myself in trouble in 30 seconds.

That's all. It doesn't pay to lose it for 30 seconds, does it? Nope, it doesn't pay it. But David lost it for longer than that because he was really ready to go with his men to shed blood. And abigail came on the scene. She came on, God intervened, saved a lot of agony and doing something I'm sure he probably would have highly regretted later on.

Now would David have been justified in carrying out his plans? Well you can argue that one. Would he have been able to carry out his plans? Sure, no doubt about it. But just because you are able to do something doesn't make it right to do something, right? That's right. You gotta be careful. Just because you're able doesn't make it right.

Well, let's have somebody read a couple verses. Somebody has Romans 12:19? Right over here. And somebody else has Hebrews 10:30-31. Who has that one? Okay, right next to you. While you're looking those up, camera gets on you, I'm want to read Proverbs 20:22 where it says, "do not say, 'I will recompense evil'; wait for the Lord, and he will save you.

" Okay, Romans 12:19. "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, 'vengeance is mine, I will repay,' saith the Lord." Okay, thank you very much. Hebrews 10:30-31. "For we know him that hath said, 'vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense,' saith the Lord. And again, 'the Lord shall judge his people.

' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Amen. It is a fearful thing, isn't it? Yeah. Peter, Peter, you remember, pulled out his sword, chopped a man's ear off. Well, what's wrong with that? He was trying to defend his Lord. He was trying to defend truth.

But he was doing it in the wrong way, wasn't he? God is not going to use swords or guns or any kind of weapon to save his people. We don't need to be involved in that either. It's kind of an amazing little story that's tucked in the Scripture too when you think about pulling out a sword, chopping off the ear, Jesus picking up the ear, putting it back on the man's head as if nothing happened. You think they would have gotten a whole book about that story, wouldn't you? That's a pretty amazing thing. Jesus didn't commend Peter.

In fact he told him, "put that sword away." God wants us to defend truth, but not with actions of revenge or malice or anger or anything along those lines. I know we call it righteous indignation. Yeah, that! "Well, I was just filled with righteous indignation." I've used that a time or two when it wasn't true. It's plain and simple anger, not good, I know. I hear it's a fair bet, if you were a betting person, which I know you aren't.

I hope you aren't. But it is a fair bet that if you are angry and you're not truly turning your life over to God 100%, then you are most likely intent on doing something that's going to be wrong and something's that's going to bring you trouble. Do you agree to that? Almost 100%. Now you can thank God and should if an abigail comes into your life with a message. When you're at the peak of your frustration or whatever it is, if God sends somebody, maybe it's a spouse, maybe it's a child, maybe it's a friend at work, maybe it's somebody, whoever it is, if God sends an abigail into your life at that time, you should rejoice and thank God.

Now on Monday's lesson it makes a statement that talk may be cheap, but our actions confirm or contradict our speech. I've often heard little stories like this. Pastor preaches a wonderful sermon on the good samaritan. I mean he has the people just at a wonderful inspired pitch as they leave the congregation. Pastor jumps in his car, he drives home, and he drives right by this person that's panhandling and wants money.

And somebody sees that and say, "boy, pastor is such a hypocrite. He preached on being a good samaritan and just drove right by somebody in need." Now I know that is an area where causes you to have questions. What is a right thing to do. I'm not sure, personally, that just handing out money to somebody that's asking for it on the street is the right thing to really help that person. Or you know as I know they may take that and go buy another bottle of wine or something.

So I don't think we should be judgmental in situations like that. But our actions do speak very loud. Don't they not? When we are confronted by situations, we need to weigh them all out. People telling a story point out the so-called hypocrisy of such things. Sometimes we say we should do things for people just because we should do things for people, not because we got some kind of hook in them, hook in it, to draw them into the church.

Now I understand what people are saying. We should do good things for people whether they're going to respond to the Gospel or not. But I believed Jesus called us to be fishers of men, did he not? And I don't know that I've ever seen a fisherman go out with just a pole and a string and taping a worm to the end of the string. You got to have some kind of hook, don't ya? What's the purpose of fishing if you don't bring in the fish? So I think yes, everything we should do should be to help people, yes, even if they don't respond yes to the Gospel. But we should be out there with the idea we want to bring them in, not just to make them healthier, wealthier people, sinners, healthier, wealthier sinners, but to make them in love with Jesus Christ, Christians, right? Ready to meet Jesus in the last days when he comes again.

That's--that's my Gospel according to king harold this morning I guess, or pastor harold, instead of king James. But I believe that's very true. We should have some kind of hook in all that we do to help people become Christian people. Now when you consider every Bible story should have in it something that should reflect something about Jesus, what is there in this story that really jumps out at you that does that? Well, to me it was abigail's intercession. Jesus is our intercessor.

Isn't he? Is he interceding for you today? Praise God he is. So intercession, her intercession. What does interceding mean if it doesn't include talking? Jesus doesn't sit up at the right hand of The Father in Heaven quiet; he talks. He talks to The Father on behalf of us. That's what interceding is.

There is a time to talk, as the lesson points out. Abigail knew that without intercession some really bad things were going to be happening. Would some really bad things happen in your life if Jesus wasn't interceding for you? That's right. Will there be some bad things happen that might not if we don't intercede for other people in prayer? Some people don't like that idea, but I believe it's true. I don't understand all the depths of understanding there is to be had in intercessory prayer, it's a deep subject, but I believe it works.

I have seen it work. You've seen it work. So yes I believe if we're not interceding for people we love and come in contact with, we're missing out on a very important part of the Christian life. There is a time to talk. There is a time to talk to God about situations and about other people and their lives, that they may have the Spirit of God come into their lives.

But beyond that, mountains I believe, I have been moved because of intercessory prayer. In the case of our story, a lot of blood was not shed because of intercession on the part of abigail. Now the one striking thing about abigail is that she intercedes for her husband, not just for herself. As undeserving as he was, she interceded for him. But as you stop and think about it, if you begin--enter into intercessory prayer for anybody, you are entering into intercessory prayer for undeserving people, because we're all undeserving, aren't we? So he was just really, really undeserving where some people may not be quite so undeserving.

But as we involve ourselves in intercessory prayer, it's always for undeserving people. Now getting back for a moment to something we just mentioned for taking a step farther, will there be people lost because of God's people not interceding as we should? That question came up one time in a camp meeting a long time--long time ago when I was just beginning ministry. There was a couple young men on the camp meeting circuit. They were just inspirational. They were filled with the Spirit of God.

They were giving wonderful messages. They'd go from camp meeting to camp meeting, had tremendous testimonies. But this question came up. At the camp meeting that I was, and they were with the youth, and I was a minister there with the youth, and that question came up. And these young men did not believe anybody would be lost if we failed to live up to our responsibilities.

Well there several of us pastors that didn't agree with that. We tried to point out some text, some inspirational writings. But it didn't matter. They didn't accept it. It wasn't long after that I heard that they left the camp meeting circuit and left the church all together.

I believe we have a heavy responsibility, don't you? People will be lost if we fail in our responsibility. Do you remember reading "Patriarchs and Prophets"? It said about lot's wife probably would have escaped from the city if lot had lived up to what he knew to be right in the beginning. That's just an example. Blood--their blood will be our hands. Doesn't Ezekiel say something like that? So yes, people must ultimately take the responsibility themselves for being lost.

But what if we forsake intercessory prayer for somebody that the Spirit of God would touch their hearts and change their lives. I think it's very important that we realize there is a time to talk, a time to talk to God about other people we love. Now if that wasn't true, why pray anyway? Why pray for anybody ever? Why ever have an evangelistic meeting? Why ever give a Bible study? Because you want that person to come to Jesus, right? So if it wasn't true, then why even do that? If God's going to save whomever anyway regardless of what we do, then we don't--we could just close the church today and everybody's going to be saved or lost because God's doing it. I don't buy that, do you? I believe we're here for a purpose. We have heavy, heavy responsibilities.

Now the reason the work isn't finished yet is because probably too many of us are not talking to God enough maybe? I don't know. But there was a little point on Tuesday's lesson that talked about how abigail addressed David as "my Lord," treating him as if he was king already. And the lesson made this statement: "perhaps this in itself serves as a reminder to David that he should behave as would befit God's anointed king, and not as a leader of a marauding band." Now there's a great lesson in this I think. It reminded me of an experience I've had recently. I have had nothing but trouble with my internet server.

It's alright now finally, 'cause I moved. But for weeks and months I would be--get up and try to get on the computer and I wouldn't have any internet. So I'd call the company where my server, and you know how it is with these companies. It takes you 5 to 10 minutes to finally get to some live voice, some live human being. And so by the time you get there, you're so frustrated, especially after this happens to you about the 10th time, the 11th time, the 12th time.

Way back when I first signed up, they asked me a question. You know, the kind of question that you'll remember so that they know that you're the one that's really talking to them. Well they asked me who my childhood hero was. And way back then I said Jesus. It's a good thing I did, because every time they finally--i got to the live voice, and they finally asked my--that question, instead of being highly frustrated, I said, "Jesus.

" Wouldn't it be hypocrisy to be so angry and say, "well my hero is--" be angry and take really the name of the Lord in vain at that point, wouldn't it be? So I thought to myself, whoa, if we could have that kind of a thing, a situation in all of our lives. Well, we do, don't we? Practice the presence of Jesus. Practice the presence of Jesus. Jesus is always with us, always there for us, always there with us. Never can we go any place without Jesus, can we? We can go places without him, but he can't be--if we want him, he'll always be there for us.

So when we take, or have the time to talk, it's certainly important not only what we say, but how we say what we say. Do you think so? I heard a pastor commenting recently. And he just said this kind of off the cuff in giving a little message I guess it was or something. He says, "there are some people, when I look on my caller id on my cell phone, I see who it is, I just dread answering the phone because they always just talk about nothing. And they talk on and on and on.

" And I thought to myself, "boy, wouldn't you hate to be a person that was thought of like that?" I would hate to have a-- I would hate to have the idea that people say, "oh, it's pastor white again. All he does is call me, talk about nothing, talk on and on and on." I would hate that, wouldn't you? Yeah. So it's important what we say. It's important how we say. And important all the way around.

I believe there's another important aspect when it comes to intercessory prayer. Somebody has Daniel 9:3-5, who has that one? "And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, o Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments." Thank you very much. Daniel, you don't read anything in the Bible where Daniel went astray. You just see no mistakes in the Bible where he sinned. But what does he say in his prayer? "We have sinned.

" I believe intercessory prayer creates in our minds the idea of our unworthiness ourselves. We sin. How can I pray for somebody else, Lord, when I'm such a sinner? If you don't have that feeling, I'm not sure you're really interceding in prayer in a right way. Because I believe if you're really approaching the throne of God, it will create that feeling in your mind. So where do you go? Well, one of my favorite texts in all the Bibles found in James 5, it has to do with the anointing service.

If you are sick, any among you are sick, call for an elder and let them anoint you with oil. And there is a text in that passage that says, James 5:16, the last part of that text says, "the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Now that sentence is a sermon in itself. That sentence is a theme. There's three sections in there and they're right for a preacher ready to preach. You always want something good to happen if you're praying.

You want much to avail. That's the theme. Section number one, for our prayer to be that way it must be effective or effectual. You must--and that's a whole section about how important it is to pray without regarding inequity and all that. Then it must be fervent, not tame, lifeless, formal prayer.

It must be from the heart, really earnest, praying for what you need and what you would like to see avail much. And then it comes to that part that says, third, "a righteous man." And we go to the Bible, and we find that there are none righteous, no not one. So how can we claim that promise that our prayers are going to avail much because it's coming from the lips of this unrighteous person. Well, this unrighteous person can put on the robe of Christ's righteousness, and then it's not I that is praying anymore, but Jesus is in me praying and presenting my prayer to The Father. That's how we pray a righteous prayer.

That's how we intercede for people, in the name of Jesus. It's very important to pray in the name, in his name, in reality. Now I was thinking about that. I believe that you can take-- you can violate another of the commandments where it says, "thou shall not taketh the name of the Lord thy God in vain." You can do that without being angry or cursing, using cursing language. You can do that while you even pray.

If you're not praying in the name of Jesus, if you are not praying following these three sections in this verse for example, especially if you are regarding inequity in your heart, if you pray in the name of Jesus and use His Words in that prayer, you're really taking the name of the Lord in vain, aren't you? If you're regarding inequity within you? You can sanctimoniously end the prayer like we all do, which is a good thing to do, "in the name of Jesus I pray," and you could be taking his name in vain. That's pretty serious, isn't it? Pretty serious information. So here, yes, Tuesday lesson points out a time to talk. But we can easily conclude there is a way to talk or we would be guilty of vain repetition or babbling. Moving quickly to Wednesday's entitled what abigail won't do.

Now this should be a very delicate area. For the lesson brings out abigail was not afraid to point out her husband's faults even referring to his name and how he lived up to that name, which means "a fool." Somebody read for us--somebody has 1 Samuel 25:25-26, who has that verse? Right over here, okay. Dr. Derose has that verse. 1 Samuel 25:25-26.

"Let not my Lord, I pray thee, regard this man of belial, even nabal: for as his name is, so is he; nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my Lord, whom thou didst send. Now therefore, my Lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my Lord, be as nabal." Alright, thank you. The Bible says in various places and various ways, we should call no man a fool. Jesus says it in Matthew 5:22 for example. Here she's calling her husband a fool.

She does it very discretely. She says, "for as his name is, so is he." But the circumstances depend on her doing that. Not very often do we find ourselves in this deep of circumstances as she did. As I said this was life and death. And so she had to put the cards on the table as they were.

And she had to let David know what kind of a man he was dealing with and what kind of a man she had to put up with all of her life, or all of her married life. So seldom do we find issues this paramount in people's day to day relationships. Yet I have often had individuals carry on about their spouses for examples if it were this big a catastrophe. Now an example where this can be applicable was brought out in the lesson. It has to do with abusive relationships.

When a person is being abused, very often I've seen it-- I've seen it happen many times. The abused begin to take on guilt as if the abuse that was happening to them was their fault. Now in every relationship, nobody lives a perfect life. We fall short in every relationship. But when you are abused, or when somebody has been unfaithful to you in a marriage relationship, it's not your fault.

I don't care how imperfect you were. There is no excuse on earth for abuse. Do you believe that? There is no excuse on earth for being unfaithful to your partner either. So don't ever beat your head over the head with guilt in those situations. But I've seen it way, way too many times.

Nabal was just that huge of a leap beyond all ordinary circumstances. He was mean, he was abusive, he could not be reasoned with. And thus it gave abigail every right to lay all the cards on the table. This is an exception to the normal stories that many of us face. Now another remarkable thing was how abigail appealed to David's sense of justice and mercy.

The lesson points out David, about his position in the world, that his connection with God, he didn't need to do anything to save face. Right? That's what we usually are worried about when something, somebody does something to us, we want to save face. Did Jesus ever worry about saving face? No, never. No one has ever been so mistreated as badly as Christ. And he didn't waste any time or energy in attempting to make things right in order to save face.

Now revenge is a very negative thing, brings about very negative results. I am not into car racing, but I lived in Indianapolis for a while and I went to the motor speedway on the trials there. I didn't go to the big race, but I went to the trials. It was free. You go and watch 'em, listen to 'em.

The noise of just one car going around was just deafening. It was amazing. I've not been into racing, but I read a story one time about a race, richard-- what was his name? Richard petty I think, yeah, richard petty. He won a race after not having won a race for about 43 or 45 times. And it was an unlikely race that he won.

He was in third place, one lap to go. But he wasn't like just behind the first two cars. He was 30 seconds back. Now in race cars as they're traveling 200 miles an hour, 30 seconds back is a long, long way back in the pack. So he had no--he had no idea, no hopes whatsoever basically of winning this race.

But as they were starting the last lap, the number two car tried to pass the number one car and nudged him and he went into the infield grass a little bit, lost his momentum. And so the number two guy took over the number one. But it made the number one guy, that was number one mad, and he sped up, he caught up with the number one guy now and he bumped into him and bumped him into the wall, and they both came to this screeching halt, got out and started fighting, while richard petty cruised on in to a win. Revenge only ends up in bad things, right? You lose the race. You lose the race here and now and you lose the race forevermore if we just keep-- I have had people that I've known that still harbor revenge on something that happened 30 years ago.

I'm thinking you're not going to get into heaven if you keep that revenge because you're going to lose the race for eternal life. Now to David's credit, he took the admonition. So often people will not yield to any kind of admonition when they are caught up in taking revenge on someone else. That's what Thursday's lesson is about, David taking constructive criticism. You like constructive criticism? Sounds good, doesn't it? Sometimes it's meant to be constructive but it seems and sounds like it's criticism, that's all.

Now I've mentioned this before. We've received constructive criticism, people who write in, call in, whatever. And we appreciate people doing that. Once in a great while, it's not so constructive. And it's some people that's got a burden about something like feast days or you know, things like that.

So we probably don't bother to answer those, 'cause it wouldn't make any difference anyway. But constructive criticism, honest dialogue, is a good thing. David was quick and able to see that abigail was really up to a good work. He didn't take it wrong. And that's the way we should move forward.

I have to readily admit that one of the most disappointing aspects of ministry, since I've been a minister, is when you try to talk with people and you try to give them what you believe to be good, Godly, biblical counsel and advice, and it is as if they didn't hear a word you said, or if they heard it, they had no intentions of doing anything you said. And I've honestly felt like sometimes what is the use? Why even try? But then somebody comes along and says, "wow, pastor!" I had this happen to my wife not too long ago. "Wow, mrs. White! You gave me some advice and at first it really stung. You said it nicely, but it stung.

It really hurt me. But as I thought about it, and I put it into practice, it was the very best thing that I could have been told by anybody. And I actually put it into practice and it changed my whole life around." So that's why you keep doing it, because you hope and pray somebody will listen to Godly advice, Godly, biblical advice. And that's what David did. He listened to Godly-- it was biblical, wasn't it? Yeah, advice.

Being slighted by nabal, he started to take a wrong turn momentarily, but with Godly counsel from abigail, he got back on track. Now there's a huge difference between David and someone who has clearly set his feet on doing evil. So often there is no room or opportunity for reasoning with such individuals. For example, I mentioned this a little earlier, I'll mention it again, if a man or a woman gets caught up in an illegitimate affair, and they're really involved with that other person, it's like sound, good, logical reasoning has gone out the window long before. And no matter what you say makes any impact whatsoever.

In fact, it's been so amazing to me individuals like this, they get to the point where they rationalize that they still have a good relationship with God. Sound reasoning just goes out the window. But that wasn't the case with David. He got off track momentarily like all of us can. But the Spirit of God brought the right person to him and he listened.

And he obeyed. That's that beautiful song, right? "Listen, trust and obey." So that's what he did. This could have been one of those pivotal points in David's life had he not accepted the appeal from abigail, who knows the outcome or the future for him. It's interesting to point out what the lesson brought out that there's not much more ever told about abigail. She did have a son named Daniel.

Her life wouldn't have been one of bliss though. Think about it. David was on the run most of his life. And there were other wives. That couldn't have been pleasant.

So even though she was married to a king, it was no bed of roses. There's no bed of roses promised to any of us in this life here just because you accept Jesus. Now things will be better for you had you not accepted Jesus. But you still may have some hard, hard times, just like she probably did. In fact some of the scholars believe she and her son probably died, maybe even violently died.

We don't know, have no way of knowing. But her story serves as a wonderful lesson to be sure. I would expect to see abigail in the Kingdom. I don't know, but I hope to see her there. It's a short story that could have been left out of the Bible, but God chose to have it included so that we could all learn some valuable lessons.

As you reflect on this lesson this week, I hope you have taken time, or you will take time yet, to consider just what there is in this story that you could glean for your own life. Don't think about it in terms about how it can apply to other people. Don't think in terms about, "well, I learned some more biblical facts. I know something more about what the Bible says, so I can be more readily able to share it with somebody else." No, think about this story in the light of, "what does it have to say for my life, year 2010, as we come to the end of the year 2010 almost, how is this story speaking to me?" Only then, only then does this story find its true purpose for us today. Would you agree to that? Yeah, it's a very interesting story to read.

It's fun to read. It's inspiring and all that. But unless it touches our life somehow, it's missed it's real purpose. Now I am here to remind you that of the free offer is number 182, "failure is not an option." That's a good title, isn't it? "Failure is not an option." I don't want that to be an option in my life, especially spiritually speaking when it comes to eternal life. I don't want it to even be considered an option.

Just go to--call 1-866-study-more, or amazingfacts.org, www.amazingfacts.org. Well, that's our story for the day. Thank you for coming here and joining with us in our class here at Sacramento. And thank you everybody who has joined us from wherever you have joined us from, and join us again next week for another inspiring lessons from "the background characters in the old testament." Thank you and God bless.

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