Thursday, April 8, 2010
Abigail is my hero. Doing what you "should" can turn out pretty nice...
House full of sickies this week, and I am trying to keep my lungs INSIDE my body. Coughing never hurt so much. I keep thinking spring is right around the corner and the cold season is over, but apparently not. We haven't been this sick in a long time.
Had a great chat with a dear sister in Christ tonight (I suppose I should say "last night" as it is now 4:00 in the morning, but besides trying to expel my lungs, my body has decided sleep is overrated). As I talked with her, God reminded me just what He expects of us ladies in the marriage role, and it was a good thing to hear.
Have you heard of Abigail? Have you heard of Nabal and Abigail? Well- even if you have, humor me with a little reminiscing. Abigail was said to be "intelligent and beautiful" back in the day, during King David's younger years. Nabal was a fool. No literally- his name meant "fool", and the story says he was a "worthless man". Nice, right? I wonder how I would feel about my dear sweet Steve if I had to call him "Moron" everyday. Could I say it with a straight face? Instead of "Hey, Stevie- what do you want for lunch?" I would insert "Moron". Bahahahaha!
Anyways, total hottie married to a real winner, and along comes David. Young, vibrant, handsome, and chosen by GOD to be the true King of an entire nation. One catch- the current King Saul doesn't want to give up his post, and David honors Saul's position too much to just kill him and take the crown. So, David has been chillin' in the wilderness, playing pranks on King Saul when the opportunity arises, sharping his sword and hanging with his closest buddies. BTW- All of David's buds are serious soldiers...like totally buff. One of them killed 800 people in one battle. WOW. Another 300, and another took a lion out- just for fun on a "snowy day". And these dudes weren't even part of David's inner 3- David's Mighty Men.(Check it out in 2 Samuel 23- good stuff)
What does David's mad fighting skills have to do with marriage, and in particular, the marriage of "Pretty Lady" and "Fool", you ask? A lot. You see, Nabal was a fool, but he was also extremely rich. He had an abundance of wealth the story says, and David and his buddies spent their time protecting and being a living "wall" around all of Nabal's wealth and household. Not one little lamb went missing or got eaten by wolves while David was on watch. So along comes "shearing day". Doesn't sound too exciting to me, but back then, this was a PARTY. "Festive" day for all the people, and David sends a messenger with a nice little "Congratulations, Fool- I mean Nabal- glad things are going so well for you thanks to my protection. May I have a piece of cake and a beer?" Even in our modern minds, if your super helpful and nice neighbor, who happens to be built like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and was just elected as the next President of the United States, swings by your barbecue for a little taste of the good stuff- you wouldn't think that was too much to ask, right? Well, apparently "Fool" was never taught basic manners or self preservation skills. He pretty much spits in David's face and pretends he has no idea who he is. Ummm...not only would anyone find it hard to believe you didn't NOTICE the 600 dudes living outside your yard, but saying anyone in Israel didn't know David, the Son of Jesse, had been chosen by God to rule would be like saying you didn't know Brad Pitt is shacking up with Angelina Jolie. Dumb dumb move, Nabal.
David gets the unfriendly note, and says to his comrades "Strap on your blades, boys- we're gonna teach this boy a lesson." Actually, he says "Each of you gird on his sword...Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness...and he has returned me evil for good. May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one male" alive. Nice, right? When I read that, I can almost hear Clint Eastwood swearing an oath to his cowboys, and them mounting their gorgeous steeds and charging off- pistols brandished high to clean up the town!
Well- now it gets to my favorite part. Nabal's employee comes running to Abigail, remember the smart, pretty lady Nabal somehow married? (Gotta love arranged marriages) They have a great little dialogue about what a total idiot Nabal is, and how because of his complete stupidity- they're all gonna die. What would I do if I was her? Unfortunately, if I am honest I would probably have fallen to my knees and shouted "Hallelujah! I am free!" at the prospect of someone putting me out of my misery. Since I am not a dude, David probably won't kill me- but he WILL kill my epic failure husband and I will never have to put up with another thing from him. Too bad for all the male servants who go down in the cross fire, right? Sad, but true. I am just that selfish. This is the part that gets me every time, and I just thank God for the reminder of what happens when you "do what you should" rather than what you want. Look at it:
"Abigail lost no time. 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. Then she told her servants, "Go on ahead; I'll follow you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal." 1 Samuel 25:18-19
Amazing lady. I don't know that I wouldn't have "lost" some time going and ripping my idiot husband a new one. Or crying and whining about "Why! Why me?" Abigail didn't do that even for a second. She took action to save her husband and all the people of her household. She put her trust and her faith in God's mercy for her. Abby girl honored her husband even though he was the one who made the mess, and tried to save all their lives. Did she do this because Nabal deserved her? Did she use her wit, her beauty, her wealth to benefit her husband because he was her soul mate? I really doubt it. Nowhere is it recorded that she thought highly of him. In fact, her words of disdain for Nabal are recorded as she begs David for mercy. But how she FEELS about Nabal doesn't change how she BEHAVES. She is married to him, 'til death do they part, and she didn't wait around hoping for that day. :)She is the epitomy of a woman who "does (her husband) good and not harm all the days of her life" Proverbs 31:12. Whether he deserves it or not.
Anyways, she's cruising up on her donkey (I soooo wish God had said she galloped up on her 16 hand, jet black Friesian stallion- bare back with hair blowing in the wind, head proud and eyes blazing. But it doesn't. It says "donkey".) and as she crests the hill and sees the valley- there is David...and his FOUR HUNDRED soldiers. Ummm, yeah. It says she jumps off her donkey (MAN! Why couldn't it say HORSE!) and bows low to the ground at David's feet, but I bet she pretty much fell off trembling in fear. I would. Little chit chat, she lays the guilt trip on thick and reminds David that NO WAY would a man of his stature, position and integrity seek personal vengance because the Creator of the Universe will fight on his behalf...she just knows it. Nice, right? More bees with honey and all that. David is wooed by her words, he tells her she's the bomb and says she can go home in peace, he's heard her and will do what she asks. SWEEET! Abigail saves the day, oh yeah, woot woot! Talk about relief! I so wish I could see her and her servants faces as they ride away...on their DONKEYS. How long did they wait before they were out of sight to jump up and down, whooping for joy? How long could she hold back the tears of relief and happiness, and thankfulness to the God Who saves? I can't imagine how that felt at that moment.
Abby goes home, praising God, and guess what Nabal's up to? He's having a party. A drunken, loser fest for himself- a party fit for a king. NOW Abby goes off on him, right? Nope. No frying pan to the side of his head, no swear words or evil looks. It says "...Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk so she did not tell him anything at all until the morning light". Does this girl amaze you like she does me? If not- you must not be married. Because I REALLLLY doubt there are many ladies out there who would respond after the stress and emotions of a day like hers with politeness to her husband's drunken orgy. I freak out when I just feel the stress of not being able to clean the house AND go for a walk. I can't imagine being married to this winner and not killing him myself.
Abigail waits until morning, and then she tells him the adventure from yesterday. Doesn't say she lays into him, yells, freaks out. It just says she "told him these things" and guess what? He has a stroke. Seriously. It says Nabal has a stroke. (I will pretend I am not jumping up and down for joy right now.) Paralyzed for 10 days, but then finally he dies. SERIOUSLY.
Sweet justice. Please don't take this to mean God wants you to pray for your husband to die. But in this story, the Lord's justice does feel appropriate, doesn't it?
The story ends with David hearing about Nabal's death, and he asks Abigail to marry him because she is so rockin' awesome. She must have made quite an impression. Do you think David would have wanted her if she had spent her marriage harboring bitterness, anger, or unkindness towards Nabal? When David gave her props, he didn't praise her external beauty. He blessed her for being discerning and wise in her pleading. THAT was what got his attention, her personality.
She, of course "quickly arose...and...became his wife." She rode out on her donkey once again, to marry the King. And he was probably a hunk. With lots of power and prestige, not to mention that he LOVED the Lord. The romantic part of me can hear the orchestra playing, the sun setting in the back ground as we see them ride off, happily ever after, with love and faithfulness in their eyes. The rest of me knows that she is his second wife, and history tells us David is going to screw up royally in a few years- lots of strife and struggle, exile, rotten step kids and stress for my poor sweet Abby. But you know what? With wisdom, love and faith like hers...I bet she handled it all just fine. I bet she was a shining example to every single one of David's wives, and a blessing to her husband all the days of her life. And I bet she had a whole lot of fun, laughs, and good times because her attitude was one of service and loyalty.
REALLLLLY long way to say, after talking to my dear friend, I am praying that she decides to take the high road. I think she will. I am praying that someday my own sweet daughter will read this and choose to do things God's way when hard times come. I am praying that I remember Abigail, and fight like her. That I would fight for my "household" with everything I have. That I would bless my husband, even when maybe he doesn't deserve it. That I would have his back every single day, like I would like him to have mine.
Everyone knows marriage is hard, it's never going to be like a romantic movie all the time. But it will be so worth it. Do it well, and you just might see a miracle happen in your life. Either your frog turns into a prince, God gives you a new heart and and grows you into an INCREDIBLE lady...or your husband has a massive heart attack. Either way- when you live the way God designed a woman to, you win. :)
God be with you, friend. May He make you brave, may He make you wise, and may He give you the strength and HEART to do what doesn't come naturally.
(Check this story out for yourself, it's way better told the way it is suppose to be. :) I just let my imagination get the better of me. It's in the Bible- 1 Samuel chapter 25. I hope you love it as much as I do. But do change all the words "donkey" to "horse". It is sooo much better that way. I don't think God will get mad. hehehe)