Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Shepastor: "Lessons Learned From a Fool..."

David, Nabal and Abigail
1 Samuel 25: 28-39, NIV
28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The LORD your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the LORD’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the LORD has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the LORD your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”
32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”
35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.” 36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died. 39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the LORD, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.”

“What a fool!” This phrase is often used when we hear of someone doing something, well, foolish! When someone passes up a wonderful opportunity or makes a silly decision that has major negative consequences, this phrase may be uttered. This passage of scriptures offers lessons from a man in scripture whose name means, “Fool.”

One of the first lessons we can learn from this passage is, Do Good When it is Within Your Power to Do So. Nabal was wealthy. God had blessed he and his entire household. He was a Calebite. He was a descendant of Caleb…one of the two spies that entered the Promised Land when thousands of other Israelites perished in the wilderness. He had a lineage of greatness. But the text says that he was wicked, evil and foolish.

There are some people for whom God has done so much, given so much, blessed so much but they are selfish and wicked. They refuse to open their hands to help others. They refuse to give unless they are certain that they will get much in return. They refuse to be generous. They will see a need and will keep their hands closed and declare, “That’s not my problem…that has nothing to do with me.” They have no idea that just as God gave them all that they have, God can and will surely take away all that they have and give it to someone more deserving.

Proverbs 13:22 declares, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children; but the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the righteous man.”

When it is within your power to help others, do it. God will reward you greatly. Blessings will be heaped upon you. When you give to others, when you help others, when you see a need and do what you can to meet it, God will look upon your life with favor. Every time you open your hand to help someone in need, the Lord restores you many fold. You cannot beat God’s giving no matter how you try. You don’t have to be wealthy. All you have to be is willing and God will honor your kindness. Not only will the Lord remember you personally, God will remember your household with favor.

Now let’s look back at David. Scripture refers to David as "A man after God’s own heart." In previous chapters, David has been merciful and just spared Saul’s life when he had it within his power to kill him. Saul was sleeping in a cave, in pursuit of David’s life. David and his men happen to come upon him, sleeping unguarded by his soldiers. David’s men urge him to go in and kill Saul.

David walks up on a sleeping Saul and cuts off the edge of his garment and his heart convicted him. He was so convicted by God that he backed off and left him alone. He said, “God forbid that I should touch the Lord’s anointed! God will judge between he and I but I will do him no harm.” David trusted God to take care of his enemies.

But even David got tired of being the “good guy.” Having just spared Saul’s life and still had to remain on the run, even though Saul honored him momentarily for David sparing his life, David is almost depleted of being merciful. Like David, at times we feel depleted of merciful attitudes. It can be wearying to keep looking the other way, turning the other cheek, keeping your tongue with a bridle, withholding your own type of vengence…Sometimes like David, you’ve just had enough!

David did not make his intentions to take revenge on Nabal a secret. He let it me known that he was coming after Nabal. Nabal’s servants got busy. They knew the good that David and his men and done for them while they were among them. When they heard that David was about to come and massacre all the men in the land because of Nabal’s foolish ways, they ran quickly to his wife Abigail to tell the story and ask for help.

The text says that Abigail was a “beautiful and intelligent woman.” Abigail, understanding the danger facing her community called her servants together. She told them to pull together all of the resources possible to take David and his men. Verses 18-19 declare…

Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs[b] (60 pounds) of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

Abigail did not drag her feet. She didn’t sit back and start crying and wringing her hands. The text says “Abigail acted quickly!” When you see trouble on the horizon, when God has blessed you to hear about danger coming, you’ve got to get up and act quickly. Abigail did what she had to do to protect her family and her community.
Abigail used wisdom, humility and courage when she approached David. By bringing the resources, she used wisdom because she was giving him what he and his men deserved and needed. She used humility because she bowed before him and addressed him with honor. The Proverbs 15:1 declares, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Proverbs 25:15 declares that “a soft tongue will break a bone.” Abigail used courage because she didn’t know how David would react to her upon seeing her, but did what she could by faith. You can never know the outcome of your courageous acts. All you can do is move out by faith and trust God to move on your behalf.

Abigail appealed to David’s integrity and heart. In the midst of his frustration, in the midst of his anger, in the midst of his “Popeye,” “I’ve stood all I can stands and I can’t stands no more” demeanor, Abigail appealed to his integrity and his heart. In so many words she said, “Look David, we’ve heard about the great man that you are. We heard how you spared King Saul’s life when it was in your power to kill him. We know that God is with you…that God is for you…that God has already anointed you to be the next King of Israel. Don’t throw away your blessings, don’t get your hands dirty with blood, don’t lose the thrown of Israel over this fool! The Lord will take care of him. The Lord will fix it for you!”

And the text says that her wise words and counsel impacted David in such a way that he relented. He changed his mind and in so many words said, “You are right. Go back home, the Lord will take care of Nabal.”

The last lesson for us to hear today, The Lord will fix it for you!
Don’t allow fools to make you so angry that you take out your own vengeance. God’s Word says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord.” Don’t allow fools to cause you to lose all that God has prepared for you. Don’t allow fools to cause you to “fly off of the handle,” use your tongue to tell somebody off, walk off of your job and lose years of benefits, leave your home where you have been paying the mortgage!

Don’t allow fools to make you behave in ways that are out of your character, beneath your standards, not in line with your personality. Don’t allow fools to cause you to “lose your religion,” lose your cool, lose your integrity, lose your promises, lose your position, lose your blessings, lose your benefits…don’t allow fools to make you into a fool!

Instead, learn the lessons from the life of a fool… Let the Lord deal with your enemies. When it is within your power to do good, do good. When appealing to someone who “has had it,” speak to the integrity of their heart. Remember that soft words can turn away wrath. Don’t allow a fool to cause you to lose all the blessings that God has in store for you. Pray to walk in self-control and trust in the Lord. The Lord will vindicate your name. The Lord will repay you for your faithfulness and your enemies for their foolish ways!

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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