Women of the Word
Who was Abigail?
Your Life as a Woman of God
Abigail's story comes to us mostly from 1 Samuel 25. Grab your Bible and we will take some time together in God's Word.
Key scripture (Words from David to this great lady) "…blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day…blessed is your advice and blessed are you because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed (or harm) and from avenging myself with my own hand (or doing something foolish to myself)"
Questions we will ask ourselves during this reflection: How did Abigail's lifestyle and actions make a difference in someone else's life? What can we learn from her?We will look at her life and how she contrasted with other various women of scripture. As we finish, let's you and I contrast our own lives as we read about the witness of Abigail.
Esther was Loyal, Courageous, Humble, Beautiful, Set Apart, Wise, Teachable, godly, Determined Vessel, Willing to be used at all times, Prudent
Euodia was a disgruntled but basically good Christian who got admonished by brother Paul for her irritation
Syntache was a disgruntled but basically good Christian who also got admonished for her irritation
Jezebel was phony and controlling, controlling, controlling and much more. One of those YIKES women we don't relish being around or being thought as similar to in ANY way.
Deborah was considered a Quiet Leader, intelligent, courageous, strong in God, filled with spiritual insight, faithful, respected, loved the Lord and by the Lord and it showed,
And then there was Abigail: treasured, pious, principled, poised, a source of joy, humble, confident of her station, successful in trials, kind, and a great homemaker
There are two Abigails written about in Scriptures
Abigail 1 was David's half-sister. She and David had the same mom. Her father - unlike David was Zeruiah Nahash. This Abigail was the wife of Jether (Ithra) and was the mother of Amasa, a leader in David's army. We can read about this in 2 Samuel 17:25 and 1 Chronicles 2:16, 17. This Abigail's son died tragically at the hand of his cousin Joab.
Abigail 2 (Our lady of today), and whose name means "Cause of Joy" will always be remembered for her BRAINS and BEAUTY. Not only was Abigail "expressive of her sunny-gladness-bringing presence" as stated by one commentator, her occupation was like that of many of us: A Homemaker.
This Abigail was a woman who had not only a religious witness, but a good knowledge of Jewish history. She received her early training in a godly home, becoming acquainted with the teachings of the prophets in Israel early. Her character traits:, we can all admire for she was a woman of sensibility, capability, persuasiveness as a speaker, plus she had a discerning spirit.
In other words she could see beyond herself.
Quick thought: How often do we take our eyes off ourselves to get the right perspective about what is going on around us?
Abigail's plea before David, as we will read in a minute, reveals one more thing: "Her understanding of the events of her own world."Her life takes us to Nabel, a drunken husband, who was unmanageable, stubborn, ill-tempered, and sadly unbelieving. It's so difficult to say today (though it's true) that many wives and/or husbands have spouses who are unfortunately similar in character to Abigail's husband here. And yet, she stayed with him.
Abigail teaches us how a TOUGH SITUATION doesn't have to bring out the worst in us but can BRING OUT THE BEST in our character no matter what we go through.
Quick thought: Do we truly believe that?
In truth, it does NOT matter what station of life we are in, or whether or not we have a prestigious title, we are all significant. All of our lives have purpose in God.
Let's look more closely at Abigail...
1 Samuel 25:2-27 (take a few moments to read the story)
The Boys Were Just Hungry
This story starts out with how Abigail's husband decided to refuse David's request to feed his 600 hungry men who've been working hard for him. Not the best employer for the faithful under his employ.
Some may sympathize with Nabal, but the truth was, he shared no hospitality as a wealthy man who had the means to do so. He refused to assist to the needs of others, even his own, and as he was able. These were not homeless men with no interest in improving themselves. They were busily protecting Nabal's workforce and all that was making this man even prosperous. It's also important to note that David was NOT looking for a handout.
Nabal (whose name, interestingly, stood for FOOLISH) was also known by all as a drunk. So Abigail, his customarily submissive wife, had to wait until he was sober before she could tell him what she had done in a not so submissive way. Abigail knew there was a proper time to speak and an improper time.Quick Thought: Can you relate to the importance of timing in your life? Whatever we say, if we say it at an inappropriate time, many times it will not be received.
There is a suitable time for confrontation. Abigail knew she had taken a risky step of faith. And reporting it to her husband was another risky step of faith.Quick Thought: Confrontation can bring mixed feelings when we are dealing with a touchy subject. Timing in any situation is of the utmost importance. How important it is to pray before we speak.
1 Samuel 25:27-35 (Take a few minutes to read on)
Abigail was One of God's Masterpieces
In this section we find Abigail speaking again. What do we learn about her here? That she was a woman of good understanding, of beautiful countenance, with the brains and beauty I mentioned earlier. But her outer beauty was enhanced mostly by her inner attractiveness that God saw -- that masterpiece that He could use as a vessel for Him.
Abigail, the devout homemaker
· Knew God well
· Though she lived an unhappy home life, remained a saint
· Was wise, principled, and poised
· Became a joy to others
· Was able to live in very trying circumstances regardless of what they were and yet with spiritual success
· Had the ornament of that meek and quiet spirit we learn about in scripture
Abigail, with her faithful forward witness in the situation involving David and his men, risked her husband's displeasure (remember she was restricted by Hebrew customs to give counsel only in emergency and when time dictated the greatest need). She could not gauge the effect of her words and actions from Nabal, but she knew she was doing right.
Abigail intervened in the nick of time. Why do we know this? She not only saved David from bloodshed, she also could have been killed.Quick Thought: When you or I have wisdom to share and pass on our faith or our offer to help another, we need to follow through and do so. God shows us through the witness of Abigail not to waver when it comes to taking risks when it becomes a step of obedience. Faith always goes beyond the worry of fear.
While we learn of the drunken Nabal that he always brought about nothing but trouble Abigail was still able to be the woman God called her to be. We also learn that David's argumentativeness was softened by Abigail's wise and kind words. The vengeance that was on David's heart, by the way, was totally out of character for him. Yet that is what can happen to any of us who become weakened by thinking we can take care of things on our own.
Thankfully, Abigail came along. Perhaps if she had not intervened, and David had not been softened by her counsel, David would have carried out his purpose and Nabal's entire house which included Abigail would have been destroyed.
There's something to be said, for any woman who shows heavenly intelligence, self-control, common sense, and vision. This was Abigail.
1 Samuel 25:36-42 (Take a moment to read on)
A Fairy Tale Come to Life
Abigail's story is at times like a fairy tale - how after what happens between her and David and her and Nabal's response.
· She still returns to him, though he's godless.
· She continues to live a bitter life.
· But she remains loyal to her husband, for better or for worse, regardless of what she might have had to live through with him.
· She was faithful
· She even had to often make amends for her husband's outbursts.
So how did God remedy Abigail's situation? Nabal ends up with a stroke and dies. Then when Nabal died, Abigail fulfilled her marriage vows freeing her up to remarry. David remembers Abigail's great counsel and takes her to wife. Abigail ends up with a happy life, she becomes married to a King, and she receives divine vindication.
What do we learn from her story?
When we let God take care of things,
He works it out so much better than we could possibly do it ourselves.
GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE THAT WAIT
Another lesson learned from Abigail and her life?
· We see the heartache that can happen when a Christian man OR woman marries an unbeliever
· We see how an unequal yoke does not promote true and abiding happiness
Then why would Abigail with her character even choose to marry Nabal?
· She was stuck with custom and culture and time
· She had no choice in the matter
· He was wealthy so the family had arranged it
Quick Thought: Abigail's life shows us the importance of seeing character over possessions especially when it comes to our relationships with one another. Abigail's life shows us how we can be an influence on someone else.
Look once more at what David said to her.
How about you?
1. What do others say about you?2. What would you expect to hear from someone who came into your life,in reference to your witness or testimony in front of her or him?
3. Do you show God and your loved ones and those you meet that you are a woman who walks in Joy and Humility? How?
4. How do you see your life making a difference in the life of someone else?
5. How would you really describe yourself as a woman of God?
Look back again at the lives of the following women we referred to at the beginning of this lesson.
What traits of character do you possess that are different or similar?
EUODIAS AND SYNTACHE___________________________________________
Our Lifestyles and our Actions do make a difference.
Shirley Kiger Connolly
(for sources: click on Bible Study Resources)
(for sources: click on Bible Study Resources)