“And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall. So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person” (1 Samuel 25:32-35).
Instead of rejecting what a mere woman said, David accepted and agreed with Abigail’s wise advice. “Wise and good men will hear reason, and let that rule them, though it come from those that are every way their inferiors” (Matthew Henry). He even praised God for her boldness in trying to put him on the path of righteousness. Sometimes the Lord uses the unlikeliest of people to reveal our sin and shortcomings. Unfortunately few of us are as welcoming as David when it comes to receiving rebuke and correction.
David thanks God for Abigail intervening before he went ahead and carried through his intention to kill Nabal’s household. “As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear” (Proverbs 25:12) … “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head” (Psalm 141:5).
He praised God that this woman had such wisdom. This was not flattery, but instead is an acknowledgement that she had greater understanding than he did. He allowed his temper to get the better of him, but she quietly and calmly dealt with the issue. David thanked God that he had been held back from committing a terrible injustice in the land. How many of us ignore God’s intervention in our own lives? How many times have we heard a timely sermon that spoke of our sin, but went ahead and did it anyway? How many times have we made plans to do something or go somewhere, only to find the weather is against us, or friends call, or sickness comes, yet we try to carry out our plan? “It is a mark of sincere and genuine godliness to be not less thankful for being kept from sinning than from being rescued from suffering” (William G. Blaikie) … “Whoever meet us with counsel, direction, comfort, caution, or seasonable reproof, we must see God sending them” (Matthew Henry). He recognised that Abigail both prevented him from the sin and the consequences (the sorrow and grief) of it, for his reign would have been tarnished by it.
We catch something of the Gospel message in this story, for in it we can see the way that God deals with sinners.
a) Condemnation. Abigail in a very real sense reveals to David that his intentions were sinful. He believed that he was justified, but she made him see that the exact opposite was true. “All unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17). Some believe that it is being offensive and negative if we condemn sin in individuals or the nation, but it is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ expects us to do. In preaching the truth we have no choice but to denounce sin. “Sin no more” (John 5:14) … “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3) … “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). In doing this we have to be careful not to overstep our responsibility and go on to condemn the sinner. That level of judgement lies totally with God.
b) Conviction. Abigail was not simply calling David to change his mind about killing Nabal, but wanted him to feel the remorse for his intended sin in his heart. Many know they are sinners but do not feel a deep sense of conviction. What good is it to condemn the sinner if we do not convict them of their sin? “The publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
c) Conversion. David was brought to the place where he saw his sin and his need to get right with God. Condemnation and conviction are the tools God uses to bring the sinner to conversion. “When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8) … “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).
David accepted Abigail’s advice and petition. He promised not to do as he planned but to leave the whole situation in the hands of God. “At all events, it was the means of opening his eyes to the moral character of the course on which he had been impetuously rushing” (John Wesley). Both he and Abigail knew that the Lord would deal with Nabal in His own way and timing. “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue” (Proverbs 28:23).