1 Samuel 25:32-34 (the message)
And David said, “Blessed be God, the God of Israel. He sent you to meet me! And blessed be your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and taking charge of looking out for me. A close call! As God lives, the God of Israel who kept me from hurting you, if you had not come as quickly as you did, stopping me in my tracks, by morning there would have been nothing left of Nabal but dead meat.”
1. Boldness of enterprise; initiative or aggressiveness.
2. Guts; spunk.
Once in a movie last week. Then in a book a couple of days ago. Now this morning as I read about Abigail. This theme of gumption lingers…sparks…speaks.
If you read the 25th chapter of 1st Samuel, you’ll find King David sending his men to a very wealthy Nabal (whose name means fool) to ask for provisions for his men. While Nabal’s shepherds had been out with the sheep near David’s men, they had been good to them, protecting them, making sure nothing was stolen and that they were safe. Now, David is asking Nabal to give what he can in the way of provisions for his men. Nabal, being as the Bible describes “brutish and mean,” turns them away with a few choice words. When David hears of Nabal’s response, he gets pretty mad! He tells his boys to strap on their swords! They are going to take Nabal and his household down!
Enter Abigail, Nabal’s wife. “Intelligent and beautiful” the Bible says.
One of Nabal’s servants runs straight to Abigail and tells her of the way David’s men were treated. He basically tells her, you better think fast or we are all finished! The Message Bible says Abigail “flew into action.” She gave orders to prepare very generous provisions and sent the servants on ahead of her to “pave the way.” As she herself later encounters David in a ravine, she immediately bows low before him and apologizes for Nabal’s foolishness. She speaks to David about the dynasty the Lord is sure to give him and how he will not want the weight of murder on his conscience. His response to her is found in the scripture above.
I read over this story several times this morning. Something about Abigail is calling me. Is it her gumption? Oh, I think that is part of it, but if you read the story for yourself a few times you realize she knows who she is and what she’s about. She is full of wisdom and humility. Wisdom and humility paint a picture of Godly strength to me. See, if she had not been full of God’s wisdom with a humble heart then her gumption, or bold initiative, could have made things much, much worse.
Abigail flew into action. You know, she could have flown in many directions. She could have flown into action directly toward foolish Nabal. Her spunk could have come out in harsh words and frustration at the position in which she now found herself. Her enterprising and guts could have involved loading all of those provisions for herself and a few maidservants and getting the heck out of there! Somehow, though we don’t get the back story, I believe Abigail was full of God-confidence and a discerning spirit. What a combination, my friends. What a combination.
Some of us have a naturally more aggressive personality so Godly wisdom and humility may mean slowing our “flight into actin” down sometimes to make sure it’s God’s plan of action. Some of us, however, are timid and unsure about who God means for us to be and so we take no action. We let doubt and a lack of clarity paralyze us. We wish we were like Abigail but, then again, she’s just a Bible character, right?
May I encourage you this morning, as I am encouraged, to let God create within you an Abigail heart? Godly gumption can be outrageously freeing and life-defining. Not just for us, but for those around us! Abigail not only saved her own household (although after she told Nabal what all had gone down he had a heart attack and died ten days later), she saved David from committing murder! God used Abigail in an amazing way to save many lives as well as David’s integrity. As she boldly brought the provisions needed to David, God was in those moments preparing her own provision. For after Nabal died, David married Abigail. See, when calamity threatened she was ready! She knew who she was and trusted in the God who made her. Abigail was full of wisdom and humility. Again, the power punch of Godly strength! Perceiving the course of action God is calling us to and a willingness to step out and follow.
Gumption, God’s way.