Stories of David's exploits in the wilderness as God taught him the lessons that he would need to be King of Israel.
Twice in these stories David has the opportunity to kill his enemy, the man who pursues him relentlessly to end his life. The 1st occurs in a cave where David and his men are hidden and Saul enters to relieve himself. The 2nd occurs as Saul sleeps, surrounded by him men and David enters the camp and takes Saul's water jug and his spear. In both instances David could have ended Saul's life but chose instead to honor God's anointed one. The Bible tells us that we should not try to overcome evil with evil but rather to overcome evil with good. Treating evil evilly will only incite more evil. David returns Saul's vindictiveness with kindness. In each instance Saul repents of his sin and swears that he will no longer pursue David, but his madness cannot be controlled and he will not keep his word.
David's words, "let the Lord judge between me and you" should serve as a guiding light for our lives. We are not appointed as judges over the rest of humanity. That right and responsibility belongs to God. We are called to love God and love our neighbor even though those tasks are extraordinarily difficult. Can they be more difficult that David's life as he flees his enemy and even spares his enemy's life rather than kill the anointed one of God.
Even in his madness, Saul has moments of lucidity. "I have played the fool" he says. How often we have done the same when we have treated one another unkindly and failed to do the good works that God has prepared for us since before the beginning of time. This life of the Christian is not for sissies. David knows that God has promised him the kingdom, but he must wait for God's perfect timing. We know that God has promised us victory, but we, too, must wait God's perfect timing.
The story of Nabal and Abigail is interesting. Nabal is like the rich farmer in Jesus parable. He has great wealth, but he has nothing at all. He refuses hospitality to David's men even though hospitality to the sojourner is commanded by God of God's people. David has provided a service in protecting Nabal's flocks and shepherds and now he asks for a kindness in return at harvest time (the time of sheep shearing would be the harvest for a sheep herder). Nabal refuses and insults David and his men.
David seeks revenge and plans to kill Nabal and all of his men. One of the servants knows that nothing good can come from what Nabal has done. He goes to Abigail, beautiful and wise, and asks her to somehow intervene. She gathers great and generous gifts and sets off in a mini-caravan to intercept David in his anger. She prostrates herself before him and begs his mercy, not for Nabal but for all of the innocents in the household. David's anger is placated, he recieves the gifts and promises not to harm Nabal or his household.
In fact David tells Abigail that he is now in her debt because she has kept him from shedding innocent blood in his anger. Seeking revenge and/or acting out of anger will almost always lead to foolish mistakes. there is a lesson to be learned in this story. From Abigail's perspective; a soft answer does often turn away wrath. Do our words inflame or soothe? We are to be a balm to those who have already been wounded by the world. We cannot offer the medicinal elixir of blood of Jesus Christ if we respond to the injustices of the world with further injustices.
God takes the life of Nabal. Abigail becomes the wife of David. Most likely all of the wife of Nabal will also end up with David. Interesting note at the end of the chapter that tells us that Saul has given David's first wife, Mical to another man. Does the make Abigail David's 2nd wife or his 2nd 1st wife. Will polygamy was not expressly forbidden by God at this time in the Bible, we never read of multiple wives without somewhere reading of discord in the family structure. That will be true of David's household as well.
Please find a few moments to enjoy this early spring weather. Breath deep of the God's goodness and be blessed as he renews the earth around us.