"Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling."1 Samuel 25:29
"Remember your leaders (like David), who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." (Heb. 13:7) As we read and study the lives of men and women in Scripture we are to look for their examples of faith in the same living God we serve today. Think of faith as belief in and obedience to God. Saving faith is a faith that grows in obedience. Though their customs and cultures were different the same human needs and struggles were in their lives that are in ours today.
Samuel's death – though Samuel's death and funeral gets only one verse, his life of faith and obedience speak volumes to us today. He wrote portions of this book himself and is mentioned in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. 1 Sam.12:1-5 is a great epitaph of his integrity before the Lord and before the people he served.
David, a man of great faith, shows in this passage that he, like us, has clay feet when he walks in the flesh -independent from God. The flesh is neither removed or improved as Paul wrote. And since he also knew the power of the flesh (Rom. 7) he urges us to "be filled with (under the control of) the Spirit" so we can obey the Lord.
David who had just demonstrated great self-control in not killing Saul (1 Sam. 24) now plans to murder Nabal and all the males in his household for insulting him. Wow! What was going on here?
A little background: It was customary in those days for "outlaws" or wild tribes to steal livestock and assault small villages. Some "good guys" would voluntarily come along and protect these shepherds and their flocks and in return receive a share of the profits at shearing time. It was sort of an informal working agreement. David and his men had protected Nabal's men and sheep (and he had a lot of them – a very wealthy man and obviously a very proud man) and expected some compensation. Hence Nabal's insulting comments and refusal to pay up enraged David. David wanted justice but it turned into taking revenge into his own hands. He had the power (600 men) and in his fleshly thinking, the justification to murder Nabal and many innocent men. In my flesh dwells no good thing, Scripture reminds us. (Rom 7:18)
Ken Boa's thoughts on this are helpful: "Why am I tempted to seek revenge? Because I want justice. [This may be as trivial as someone cutting me off in traffic or as deep-seated as the unforgiving spirit (and bitterness) of harboring a resentment against another person for years.] But God did not give me justice (what I deserve); He treated me with mercy (not giving me what I deserve) and grace (giving me better than I deserve). Because I have been forgiven, I will forgive others and treat them with mercy and grace (Colossians 3:12-15). [The better I understand God's mercy and grace in my life, the more I will be willing and ready to forgive others when they sin against me.] I will walk by the Spirit and not carry out the desire of the flesh (Galatians 5:16) and submit myself to God and His Word: "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. . . . If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge" (Romans 12:17-19).
But thanks be to God for Abigail's intervention and for David's humility and teachability that this murderous act was not carried out. She was "beautiful and intelligent" (v. 3). With the emphasis in our culture on the outward beauty of women we might overlook Abigail's greatest quality – godliness and godly wisdom, a great example of faith and obedience to God. She was loyal to Nabal (I doubt he was the greatest of husbands) and saved his life. She speaks of the Lord and His power and love (v. 29 above) and sees God's hand on David to make him king. (vv.23-31)
David modeled a teachable, responsive, humble, and obedient spirit – "Those who finish well maintain an ongoing learning posture through the seasons of their lives. A smug, self-satisfied attitude causes people to plateau or decline on the learning curve, and this is inimical to spiritual vitality. In our youth, we have a problem with foolishness and lack of focus; in our middle years, we struggle with double-mindedness and entanglement; when we reach our later years, our great challenge is teachability. Humility and responsive obedience is the key to maintaining a teachable spirit. Humility is the disposition in which the soul realizes that all of life is about trust in God and obedience to Him and that "from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." (Rom. 11:36 – From "Conformed to His Image" by Ken Boa)
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
"Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling." 1 Samuel 25:29 This Scripture speaks of God's omnipotence (He is in total control) and His loving care and protection (from enemies) of our lives. What are some things we do when we don't truly believe this? (Hint – David in this chapter.) How deeply do you believe it?
Most of our battles are not as dramatic as David's giants and evil kings, etc. But like David, we too are wronged and want justice and can even seek a form of revenge (verbal attacks, angry withdrawals) in our marriages, friendships, at work, church etc. Share a situation where you were (or are) tempted to take revenge and not heed God's Word.
Women are praised in our culture for outward beauty more than godliness and men are praised for success in our careers more than for godliness. How can we get set free from the praise of man? See John 5:44. How do you seek God's praise?
Do you consider yourself a H.O.T.F.A.T. man? (Hungry, open, transparent, faithful, available and teachable) Why or why not?
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:22-25) It is in doing God's Word, not in just hearing it, that we are blessed. What action will you take to apply these truths to your life?
Scripture memory verse: "Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling." 1 SAmuel 25:29