She had brains and beauty; more than that, she was the embodiment of patience, common sense and vision. The lady whose story is recorded in 1 Samuel 25:1-42; 2 Samuel 3:3, is a woman of exceptional courage.
Sadly, Abigail was married to a man destitute of her finer qualities. 1 Samuel 25:3 states that “she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings.” Churlish means a bear of a man, harsh, rude and brutal. Nabal was also a drunken sot, as well as being unmanageable, stubborn and ill-tempered.
When he crossed David’s path by repaying him evil for good, David was provoked to anger, and averred that he would destroy Nabal and his family.
Abigail, who no doubt often had to make amends for the infuriated outbursts of her husband, intervened quickly. She went to David and frankly acknowledged her husband’s folly. Nabal means “a fool,” and what Abigail actually meant was, “Pay no attention to my wretched husband for he’s a fool by name and a fool by nature.” She humbly approached with a large peace offering, soothing David’s anger with her calmness and wise words, thereby saving her household.
What are the things that stand out when we look at Abigail’s life?
- She was joyful
Even in the midst of chronic misery and abuse, the first thing people noticed about Abigail was the joy she spread. Historians suggest that her name, which means “cause of joy”, was given to her by people around her who constantly felt the joy of her sunny, delight-infusing presence. And it is no wonder; you need an abundance of joy when you’re married to a man who lacks wisdom. While every wife will most likely have to restrain her husband from doing something foolish at some point or the other, a wife in such a situation will have to do it very often. This is a tasking duty, and it can be emotionally and mentally draining. Are you in similar circumstances? The joy of Jehovah is your strength. Renew it in fellowship with Him.
- She knew God
The Bible says she was sensible and beautiful, but he was callous and mean. Many godly women have ignored the Spirit’s warnings and overlooked red flags, ending up in unhappy marriages. Many others have been victims of marriages arranged by parents and spiritual leaders, finding themselves shut in the gloomy confines of miserable marital unions. We are not told how Abigail came to be trapped in marriage to such a boorish, wicked man, but from her speech and conduct it is evident that she knew God.
- She had wisdom
By her display of tact and heavenly intelligence in holding David back from committing a great evil, we see that Abigail had a lot of practice in making wise calls, and helping others do the same. If we allow Him, God always uses our seemingly unfortunate situations to build in us character traits and skills that will serve us in reaching and remaining in our place of rest and fulfillment.
- She had guts
Having to live with a man like Nabal had no doubt strengthened Abigail’s fortitude, such that in a time when women didn’t just approach men and offer them counsel, she had the moral fibre to do what she believed to be right. She gave David candid advice, and he appreciated it so much that he thanked God for sending her to him, and he blessed her. Then she returned to her wicked partner to take up her hard and bitter life again.
- She was resilient
Abigail was the wife of a drunkard. Many of us have an idea what that is like. How many snubs and insults had she received when he was drunk? What pain and distress she must have endured! If she had left her godless husband or sought a divorce, who would have blamed her? Everybody knew what Nabal was! Yet Abigail remained a loyal wife and the protector of her worthless partner. She did not grow weary of doing well; neither did she faint. She had taken him for better or for worse, and life for her was worse than the worst, yet she clung to the man to whom she had sworn to be faithful.
- Her hour of deliverance came!
God will not forget you, and your labour of love will not go unrewarded. In the midst of much suffering and disappointment, Abigail had fulfilled her marriage vows. Lo and behold, just ten days after her intercession on her husband’s behalf, he drank himself to a stupor, broke his neck, and died. And just like that, after years of indescribable anguish, the sweet, graceful Abigail was legally free of her terrible bondage. God is never a debtor to anyone; do your faithful best where you are, and he will compensate you.
- She was ready for glory
As soon as she received David’s proposal of marriage, Abigail wasted no time. “I am ready to serve” was her prompt response.
Many times we spend so long enduring the night, that when morning comes we don’t know how to embrace it. Whether you’re stuck in a depressing job or a wretched marriage, do not lose sight of what can be. When the opportunity to move forward comes knocking, be prepared to seize it. Read, study, apply, go for interviews, pray, work hard, practice, dream; do whatever it takes to keep you hopeful and ready to jump on your ship to greatness when it sails in.
Only God can give grace and poise like Abigail had. No matter what you may be going through, He can cause it to work for your good. Open yourself to Him today, and say with the songwriter, “Whatever you need to do, Lord do in me; glory of God, fill my life and I will never be the same again.”
It will end in praise.