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News for Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sunday School Lesson — Bible Studies for Life
Nov. 10: Step In
By Rick Stevens

Focal Passage: I Samuel 25:14-17, 23-28, 32-35

The Bible contains many lesser known stories that reveal a great deal about the characters and about the Lord. One of those stories is taken from our text this week. This fifth lesson in the series “When Relationships Collide,” is a story written about the period of time just prior to David’s rise to the role of King of Israel. He is really in a form of exile at this time with King Saul still very much jealous of David. David was moving from place to place to avoid Saul and arrived in an area where a rich man named Nabal was having his servants graze a great number of sheep. David sent word ahead to ask for permission for him and his men to join in a meal that was being prepared for Nabal’s sheep shearers and crew. Hospitality of David’s day did not make this unusual. However, Nabal rejected the request and pronounced insults on David. His rude attitude and words caused David to instruct his men to attack Nabal and wipe out his people. Then we meet Abigail.

Make the problem known to others — I Samuel 25:14-17. An unnamed servant came to Nabal’s wife and reported the way that Nabal had treated David’s men. He told her the actions of David’s men and the way they had been protective and respectful of Nabal’s people before being rejected. He let Abigail know of the risk that Nabal’s actions had put on the family and people of Nabal. He pointed out the foolishness of Nabal’s selfishness, greed, and disrespect. This servant was taking action to try to see if conflict could be avoided. In all people’s lives there are times when preemptive action could prevent further trouble. This servant told someone, Abigail, who could possibly help mitigate the coming disaster.

Take quick, intelligent, and decisive action — I Samuel 25:23-28. Abigail gathered food together and rode out to meet David on a donkey. When she got close, she dismounted and humbly bowed before David. She offered a gracious and wise apology for her husband’s foolish actions. She respectfully attempts to mediate the sure judgment that David’s forces would have dealt to Nabal’s family and servants. Abigail was risking a great deal, but she would not allow danger to come to her people without trying to make peace. She is a model of peacemaking as it is mentioned in Matthew 5. Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Abigail actively seeks to be a peacemaker. She offered food and an opportunity for gracious peace. She was wise and courageous.

Praise God for peace and peacemakers — I Samuel 25:32-35. Abigail was dealing with the future King. She was also dealing with her future husband, as the story goes beyond this passage. She felt that Nabal had acted foolishly and really not given David and his men what would be appropriate for the protection they had provided and the request made. David shows a change of heart and he also becomes a peacemaker as he responds with blessing to Abigail. There was peacemaking on both parts in this story. We are to strive to live in peace with others. God was at work in the larger picture of this story. David’s change of heart is a great reminder of God’s offer of grace to all who come humbly in repentance to the Lord. Even when life is tense, God has a way of blessing peacemakers. Jesus offers to be a peacemaker for us when we are at odds with the one who made us.

Are you willing to be courageous in peacemaking in your life? Are we willing to step in and step up when and where we can? God can do amazing things when we follow His model.

 — Stevens is director of missions, Cumberland Baptist Association, based in Clarksville.

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