Today’s reading in 1 Samuel 24 and 25 gives us two stories of David’s life while he waited for God to fulfill His promise to make him king over Israel. In chapter 24 we read how the Lord placed king Saul into David’s hand in a cave near En Gedi. David’s men encourage him to take vengeance on Saul while they have him in the cave, but David choses to only cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Even that act was enough to stir David’s conscious and keep him from harming the king and preventing his men from doing the same. After Saul left the cave, David bravely went out to prove to Saul that he had no intent to harm Saul but chose to let the Lord judge between him and Saul.

But in chapter 25, we see a different side of David. When his men are mistreated by the wealthy but foolish Nabal, David rashly makes a vow to kill every male in the house of Nabal. When the man’s wife Abigail hears what her husband has done and what David is planning to do, she intercedes on behalf of her husband, saving him and his household and also keeping David, God’s anointed, from shedding innocent blood.

In the first story David acts wisely, not giving in to the impulsive wishes of his men. He spares the life of his king, leaving his own future in God’s hands. But in the second story, David acts impulsively, making a rash vow that could have led to murder. He needed the wisdom of Abigail, his enemy’s wife, to prevent him from making a terrible mistake.  

King Saul responded to David’s kindness by recognizing that the Lord would make David king after him. (1 Sam. 24:20) Abigail too, recognized that the Lord would make David king after Saul, and also wisely saw that the course of action David had sworn to was not fitting for the future king of Israel. (1 Sam 25:30, 31)

I am grateful that David didn’t listen to his friends when they encouraged him to act against king Saul, but even more grateful that he chose to listen to the wise words of his enemy’s wife, Abigail. Abigail preserved the house of her husband, but more importantly, she preserved the character of David, the man after God’s own heart!

by Paul Schmidt, Elder

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