Abigail and the Least of These


I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay Area.

A couple of years ago, the divorced mother of a young girl I was studying with for baptism called me. Her daughter had a piano recital that Sunday afternoon and her father was going to be a no-show, as usual. The mother shared that it would mean a lot if I could be there. I dropped what I was doing and ran to the recital. Sure, the daughter was happy to see me, but when a daddy rejects his little girl, it leaves a hole in her heart that an entire village will never fill. There are private wounds that a million public accomplishments will never heal. 

I can’t read David’s heart, but if he was anything like the rest of us, I’m sure he had a private wound in his heart. The prophet Samuel came to the house to anoint someone in David’s family as king, and Jesse, the father, invited everyone but David. You can read about it in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. Wow! David’s dad invites everyone but him. Talk about rejection. When Samuel passes over the other brothers and asks Jesse if there are anymore, look at the father’s response. 

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” 1 Samuel 16:11 NLT 

That “but” might as well have been a “never mind. He is out in the fields watching the sheep and goats. That’s all he’s good for. That’s why I didn’t bother inviting him.” Its not like someone else could not have watched the sheep for the family so David could have been invited to meet the prophet with his family. Rejection. Rejection by your own dad and brothers. Yes, Samuel calls for him and anoints him as king. God did not reject David and neither did the prophet. To a little girl at a piano recital, smiling while the crowd cheers, the clapping sounds hollow as she listens for her daddy’s missing applause. Just so, David had a prophet who believed in him, and he would one day hear the crowds singing, “David has slain his tens of thousands!” But that would never drown out the screams of REJECTION! My own father and brothers did not even include me in the family meeting. I’m just a worthless shepherd boy to them. 

Maybe the private hurt and rejection explains why David wanted to  react with such bitter revenge against Nabal’s rejection. While running from Saul, David hears the news of Samuel’s death. Samuel believed in David even when his own family did not, Now Samuel is gone.  Saul the king is out to kill David. His own family rejected him. Samuel, the one person who believed in David is gone now. David could be struggling with insecurities right now. Yes he stood tall and strong before Goliath. I am not saying David lost faith. What I am saying is, that while we all stand strong as we do our duties for God, there can still be a hole in our heart that no one can fill, except for the loved one who never filled it. That one single hole in the heart of a mighty conqueror makes him no stranger to rejection and insecurities. And while all of this is going on, David sends his men to ask Nabal for some food, and this was Nabal’s response,

“Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.  Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?” 1 Samuel 25:10 -11NLT 

Samuel, the one who believed in David is gone, and Nabal slaps David in the face with rejections and insecurities. “Who is this David?” He’s a nobody! Just like his father suggested when he told Samuel he was not invited to the family meeting because all he was good for was watching sheep. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is?” Sounds like David’s brothers in 1 Samuel 17:28. When David was ready to fight Goliath, they told him to go back and watch those few sheep. Who do you think you are? You’re not even that great of a shepherd, which is why we only left you a few sheep to watch. Go back to where you came from. You are not wanted here. Uninvited. Uninvited to family meetings. Uninvited to the battle. Uninvited to anything that matters! And Nabal confirms all those rejections and insecurities haunting David’s heart. David is once again uninvited! This time to Nabal’s home. 

So when David declares he is gong to kill all of Nabal’s men, it wasn’t just one rejection that set David off like that. It was probably a life time of rejections all adding up until he just couldn’t take it any more. I know I am showing you the side of a mighty warrior you may have never seen before. David stood like a man before Goliath, but speaking for all men, I know there are times we feel like a little boy inside, no matter how tall we stand before the rest of the world. Why would it be any different with David? Elijah stood tall before the Baal worshipers and then ran away from the queen like a little boy. I have been a boy and now I am a man, and I can tell you, there is a man inside every little boy and there is a little boy inside every man. And when David meets with Nabal’s condescending rejection, I believe it was the voice of a very hurt little boy that said, 

May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!” 1 Samuel 25:22 NLT 

David and Nabal’s egos are both flaring out of control. How is God going to solve this when both men are mad beyond reason? Enter Abigail, Nabal’s wife, God’s perfect solution. You see, Abigail is a woman. Later when Haman’s ego was out of control and countless Jews were about to be destroyed, God sent a woman to save the day.Esther, a  woman with no ego, whom God brought in for such a time as this, to save the Jewish race by putting her ego aside and saying, “If I perish I perish.” Now, right here in 1 Samuel 25, God is using a woman to save the day as well as lives! Just like in Esther’s day, Abigail uses the same humility as Esther to diffuse two egos that are about to explode. 

Look how Abigail heals David’s ego. 

When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. 1 Samuel 25:23 NLT

Abigail showed respect. She didn’t treat David like some outlaw bandit as Nabal suggested. She respected him as the new king of Israel. 

She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. 1 Samuel 25:24 NLT 

Abigail forsook her ego and took all the blame on herself so she could be  a peacemaker. By looking like the fool in the situation, which she wasn’t, she saved David from making himself into a fool. She also saved the lives or her husband and his men. By making herself look like an idiot she was the hero! 

The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life. 1 Samuel 25:28 NLT

Abigail confirms the dynasty of David’s kingdom. He is not a runaway shepherd boy as Nabal and his brothers and even father insinuated. He is a king. Samuel is not the only one who believes in him. 

Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! 1 Samuel 25:29 NLT 

I love this woman! She knows all the right things to say. David is running from Saul, and while Saul’s attacks and Nabal’s rejection makes him feel insecure, Abigail tells him his kingdom is secure! He is established!  I love her reference to the stones and sling. She is reminding David of his great victories. In the story she feeds David some food. He is invited! But more than feeding his stomach food, she feeds his insecure heart with confidence! 

Abigail will hear the words, from Jesus, “When I was hungry you fed me.” She will hear Jesus say, “When you did it for one of the least of these,” (and at that point David probably felt like the least of all his brothers), “you have done it for me.” 

But as I said at the beginning. There are  private wounds that a million public accomplishments will never heal. A little girl playing the piano for a pleased crowd would rather be playing alone for her daddy instead. A shepherd boy whom everyone hails as a king, except his own daddy who thinks the only thing you can do is watch a few sheep, is hurting. Public accomplishments will never heal those wounds, but God will! I know God will because David himself said, 

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3 NLT 

Abigail ministered to a man who felt rejected like a dog, and was the least of these in his family and possibly even nation. Turned out she was ministering to a king, and that is how she saw him. When we reach out to the least of these around us let’s do so as if we were ministering for a king. If we do, we will one day be thanked by the King of Kings. 

You may study this week’s lesson here. ssnet.org

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