November 26, 2010

Biblical Femininity II: A Godly Woman's Intuition

You have been informed that 400 armed warriors are about to descend on your husband to kill him and all of his servants, what do you do? Scream? Run? Warn him? Warn him and then fight by his side? Tell him to run and then run with him? Chances are you will be caught in the process and raped and killed or you will be kidnapped along with your children and either subjugated or sold into slavery. What to do, what to do?!?!

Nabal had it coming to him and fully deserved his impending punishment. But what of his wife Abigail? Why did she just capitulate and beg for her life in front of David? Perhaps she saw through this into the providence of God? She knew that if she survived this ordeal she would get out from under the onerous yoke and oppression of being in Nabal's house, being his wife. Consider the Bible's description of Nabal and his house:

"A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite." 1 Samuel 25:2-3

A wealthy and wicked man. Not the kind of guy you want as a husband ladies. The kind of guy most good parents would steer their daughter away from if possible. This is in contrast to the description of his wife: An intelligent and beautiful woman. And all the honorable, loyal and good wives and women of God said ...___*AMEN*____?

Nabal was obnoxious, a drunkard, a fool. The name Nabal actually meant "dolt" or "fool". Realizing that her husband had created a catastrophe she does just the opposite of her apathetic and pathetic husband, she launches into action. By initiating the actions that she did she showed her faith that God would deliver her from her lousy predicament. Instead of dwelling on things she knew she could not change she aggressively pursued the things she knew she could. She knew she could affect a change in her life by doing certain things...and she did them intuitively and driven by faith in God.

"When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. And now, my lord, as surely as the LORD your God lives and as you live, since the LORD has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you. ~1 Samuel 25:23-27

Abigail succeeds because her actions are immediate, forthright and honest. Her actions were done in good faith towards David. The things she gave to David took time to prepare. It shows she was thought-out, organized and was a good wife/woman at her core. She kept/keeps her house well. How many people do you know that can whip up 200 loaves of bread and five dressed sheep (prepared) on little or no notice? Her pattern of behavior to have been able to manage such a meticulous and tidy home is reflected in the diligence with which she reacts to Nabal's buffoonery to correct the problem. It is easy to see that the reason Nabal's home was in such good order had nothing to do with him but rather Abigail. Great wife, dopey husband.

"Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys." 1 Samuel 25:18

David's reaction is concise and virtuous based on Abigail's plea.

"David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” 1 Samuel 25:32-34

We see a combination of two other things that worked in Abigail's favor.

"Abigail acted quickly..." She had her priorities right. She knew exactly what she needed to do and she needed to do it fast. She knew how to channel her energies to get it done. She wasn't worried about primping and preening but rather practicality and purpose. She wasn't worried about the superficial and fleeting but the meaningful and enduring.

"...she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground" (1 Sam 25:23) She was humble. She wasn't defiant. Again she shows humbleness in David's proposal to her in marriage. "She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife." ~1 Samuel 25:41-42

Six times in her plea to David she refers to herself as a handmaid. The acts of humility and grace under fire are what most men would find appealing in a strong woman. Meek NOT weak, just as the people of God are descibed in the Sermon on The Mount..."Blessed are the meek". Men generally want companions that are their equal intellectually and maturity wise not their inferior (I do, thank you God for my wife). Emotionally solid women are appealing to men because of the fact they become the true helper and "other half" that God intended, not another dependant that acts more as an emotional ballast to flight rather than an assistance in life. David recognized Abigail's immense value and did what any intelligent man would do...he proposed to her and tried to claim her before anyone else got wise to her value. Nabal on the other hand showed just how stupid and true to his name he was by ignoring and neglecting his wife.

Last but not least be must mention how Abigail's behavior honored God and her future husband. Seven times she says the word LORD when referring directly to God in her talks with David. She uses the honoring title of lord to David twelve (12) times. These totals vary depending on the version you read but the point is clearly made in Abigail's actions and speech. She reveres God's order/Law and she reveres God Himself. She gives the honor due to God and she is one of the first people to honor God's anointed (David) in the proper manner. We must not forget that David was God's anointed king and he had not been recognized by many people as such up until this point. Not only was Abigail, Godly, quick on her feet, humble and organized...she was also perceptive and astute.

God bless all righteous, smart, humble and God-fearing wives (and women) out there. Amen!

God bless you Sharon. You are wise counsel and my best friend.

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