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. – 1Sam. 25:3 NIV
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According to the scriptures, Samuel, the priest of God had just died and was buried in Ramah when David took a decision to relocate to the desert of Paran, there was also a certain wealthy man called Nabal, from the lineage of Caleb, who lived in Maon. He was known to possess a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, based in Carmel, but in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s devotional, the bible described him as surly which means he was bad-tempered and unfriendly in addition to being mean in his dealings with people but he had a wife, an intelligent and beautiful woman named Abigail – 1Sam. 25:1-3.
His attitude and character was almost going to lead him to destroying not just himself but his entire family due to his lack of intelligence despite his confirmed wealth. All the while, when Nabal’s Servants were shearing his livestock in the wilderness and they experience several life threatening situations not only to them but also to their livestock, it was always David and his people that came to their rescue as they took up the responsibility of protecting them and ensuring that no harm befell them – 1Sam. 25: 7-8; 14-16. David probably thought he had done sufficiently to be appreciated by Nabal, so when Nabal was celebrating with his servants, David decided to send ten young men amongst his servants to Nabal with a demand to be included in the celebration activities by asking that they be given whatever Nabal would wish to give, probably in recognition of how much they have helped to protect his livestock – 1Sam. 25:4-8. However, Nabal in his reaction to the request of David questioned the personality of David, going further to describe him as someone who is a fugitive servant and wondering why he should give David what he had prepared for his shearers, a response that infuriated David when he received their report – 1Sam. 25:9-11.
In reaction to the comments of Nabal, David took the decision to kill every male in the house of Nabal – 1Sam. 25:22. Of course that would have included Nabal himself but for the quick intervention of his beautiful and more importantly, his intelligent wife, Abigail, who on been told of the events that happened, lost no time in loading food provision of different types and went seeking David. On meeting with David, she immediately bowed with her face to the ground and took complete responsibility for the whole event and describing Nabal who is her husband as wicked and a fool, which really is the meaning of his name – 1Sam. 25:23-25. This intelligent move saved her from suddenly becoming a widow and childless.
Many Christians today have suffered losses or are undergoing experiences that bother on suffering losses, that could have been prevented, if only they had applied basic intelligence. Taking the story of Nabal and his wife as a case study, the following inferences can be drawn.
- He was too bad-tempered, unfriendly and mean to know the secret of his success and so could not retain it. All he saw was the shearers coming home with safely and successful but was too unfriendly, mean and uncaring to relate with them, else he would have known about the challenges they faced and who came to their rescue. Many Christians have failed today and have attributed such failure to external enemies like hostile neighbours, witches and wizards, etcetera, but their enemy remains themselves. The one that intends to succeed in life cannot afford to be all that Nabal was, else no matter the height of success such may have achieved, it will be a question of time before such comes crashing to the ground. Avoid being surly or mean and you will retain your success height and for the one that is already a victim of such an internal enemy, resolving to turn a new leaf could just be the beginning of your restoration.
- Nabal was too foolish to be able to keep the wealth that he possessed. The popular proverb says a fool and his wealth will soon part. He could have helped himself so much by simply pleading with the Lord for basic intelligence. One basic characteristic of fools is the over-rating of their personality and ability. They are not able to assess and accept their limitations as they believe they are the beginning and end of every good thing happening around them – Lk. 12:16-21. The consequence of such thinking is that they are not able to show gratitude to man and by implication to God. The one that is ungrateful will soon incur the wrath of the Lord and the most likely repercussion will be the loss of achievements. That definitely has nothing to do with all those imagined external enemies but totally about self. Show gratitude for favours received and automatically expect to receive more (Lk. 17:11-19), rather than drinking the water from the pool of fools.
- The reputation of Nabal with even his servants was so bad that they probably chose not to let him know the secret of his success. He was simply lucky that his wife was not as surly and mean as he was else, they could as well have watched him and his family destroyed. Likewise many people lost access to critical information that could have prevented them and all around them from the calamity they found themselves in, simply because of their surly nature. Prayer does work but in helping man, God still has to use people and the one that is inaccessible because of the decision to segregate people based on human ratings and standards should know that by so doing, such may also be severed from accessing critical information that may decide their next move in life. Being successful is not sufficient reason to isolate oneself from people. Just as people are needed to climb the ladder of success, you also need people to retain that success or even go higher on the ladder of success. Basic intelligence should dictate that to everyone.
- Abigail was smart enough to know when to take charge and save her family from extinction. This was no time to seek permission from anyone before doing the needful. The end on this event will justify the means of achieving the success. Protocols need to be broken sometimes to prevent disaster but of course, it requires basic intelligence to identify disaster before one can act to prevent it. Most people are in a mess today simply because they did not act timely. To act timely most times will require the ability to identify a situation as one that requires timely intervention, knowing what to do under such circumstances and effectively executing the plan in order to prevent the impending disaster. This may sound simply and easy but it is only possible for the one who is intelligent, a virtue that is obviously not associated with the wealthy Nabal and many people in general. Learn to act timely and rightly as a right thing done at the wrong time will definitely not achieve the objective for which it was done. Same goes with taking a wrong step as the time of its implementation will not matter. It will always be wrong all day long.
- Abigail displayed love for her family by sacrificing the ego of her husband. She had done a honest assessment of her husband and this was no time to protect an image that was already bringing great destruction to her family. She was not going to defend a man at a wrong moment when such defence was going to have very dire consequences – 1Sam. 25:23-31. Most people exhibit misplaced loyalty not realising that they could have saved the one they claim to be loyal to by simply doing the needful even when it seemed it could be read as being disloyal. The point at which David was ready to destroy every male in the house of Nabal was not the time for Abigail to project him in any other light that may be different from who he really is – 1Sam. 25:21-22. Loyalty was going to have a boundary and this was it. This was not the time for ego massaging. He had to be presented in that situation as who he really is, a fool, to be saved from the danger ahead.
Christians need to understand that no matter how well positioned they may be, they should never cease to ask the Lord for basic intelligence to run their lives. There is no prayer or advise that can stop a foolish person from self-destruction. Constant plea for victory over imagined enemies will never repair the damage that lack of intelligence will cause. For as long as an individual lacks intelligence, such is not the only one in danger but everyone around such a person. It is only a question of time before the reality dawns. Never stop pleading with the Lord for all those things that you have been asking for, but make the request for basic intelligence a priority else all that will be acquired will eventually be lost due to foolishness, which is the product of the absence of basic intelligence. May God grant us all the basic intelligence to operate our lives and steer us away from the path of destruction in Jesus name. Amen.