Well Abigail wasn’t a warrior princess, but she was certainly a hero saving many lives with her bold, insightful action. In 1 Sam. 25 we see she could read a situation, act with authority, and take responsibility.
She knew when a situation called for immediate action, but she measured her response. In fact, unlike hot-headed David and arrogant Nabal, she was in command of herself the whole time. That’s partly what made her an able leader. It’s also what enabled her to offer herself fully to serve the best outcome. If we feel forced into a corner or submit out of panic, then we are not really serving effectively. The effective servant chooses to serve.
From this position she confidently guided David through the mess he was about to make and out to safety.
All of us find ourselves in positions of leadership from time to time – whether with our children, our work, with friends or strangers. Look up 1 Samuel 25 and read the story. What can you learn from Abigail?
Thinking about King Saul and David. Such a shame they couldn’t join forces! Rivalry or partnership? It’s a choice we need to make too sometimes-do we see our colleagues, family, co-workers as rivals or partners?
The trick is to embrace these three: your own calling, those who have been given to work with you and the Holy Spirit who makes his home in hearts of love.
The story of how God chooses David as king over Israel is filled with important insights. Look at Eliab, David’s eldest brother, with all his attributes: tall, handsome and strong; yet Samuel was led to choose David, the youngest and least regarded among his siblings.
We tend to give precedence to outward appearances, rank, affluence, anything vain or indeed whatever is easy on the eyes. We turn our nose up at people we deem inferior to us. God, however, looks beyond that. He looks for a good heart, character and attributes that engender the fear of Him, respect, humility, care, peace, love and unity among his people.
Is there a situation that you are considering at the moment? A judgement you have to make or a decision you have to take? What factors are influencing you? Are you also listening, as Samuel was, to the Spirit of God?
What kind of Messiah do we really need? It’s certainly not a re-run of David, Solomon, or any from the past. Jesus, who they called Son of David”, redefined what that Messiah would look like.
He came from God – he was God’s provision, not man’s idea. He took on human flesh – raising us up – rather than bringing our hopes down with the inevitability of human corruption. He was totally secure in who he was, where he came from, why he was here – rather than anxiously clinging onto to a failing power. He was the perfect servant of humanity and his mission was unsullied by human desire for supremacy. He came to give of himself rather than take for himself. He included the marginalised rather than seeking popularity. He came for you; he came for me. His Kingdom began before time and would stretch beyond time.
This is the King God has given us – not in response to our braying demands but from the fullness of his undying love. Here is the Prince of Peace; here is the Saviour of the World. He is here now, risen from death, alive! And today he offers himself: will you accept me as your King? Will you trust me? Will you receive me? Do it today while there is still time: Open your heart and say, “Yes Lord, I receive you. You are the King of my heart and my life.” Amen.
So is that it? Just one long sorry tale? Well not quite. Because there’s another Old Testament story – which surfaces through the history books and bubbles up through the crowning of kings and taking of land but isn’t really the subject of them.
It’s the story of faith kindled and sustained in the lives of individual people. It’s the story of moments and responses. It’s the cry of Hagar the outsider. It’s the bravery of life-saving midwives named Shiprah and Puah. It’s the steadiness of an unimportant woman called Ruth.
It’s the perseverance of Samuel in searching for the right person to anoint as king. It’s the wisdom of a humble leader called Abigail. It’s the courage of Nathan to confront David. It’s the repentance of David and the prayer of Solomon, even though these were just moments in time, long forgotten, it seems, just a few years later. It’s the spirit of Elijah, the passion of Amos, the tenderness of Hosea, the tears of Jeremiah, the insight of Isaiah, the vision of Nehemiah.
This is the thin line running through the Hebrew Bible – the story of faith. And this is the line of which we are inheritors – we who continue to live by faith today. Numerous as grains of sand on the seashore.