Has something or someone ever ignited your anger? Perhaps it was something some fool said or something some fool did. You were ready to attack, yell, punch, get bloody. Maybe you women would say 'scratch her eyes out,' or 'pull out her hair.' Perhaps some fool cut you off in traffic and you caught yourself leaning up on the steering wheel and yelling through the windshield explaining to the fool exactly what a fool he or she was. Anyone??? Sure. Well, here's my question to you child of God. WHO WAS REALLY THE FOOL?
7. Who's The Fool - By Pastor Delbert Young (Sermon notes) (Listen sermon audio mp3)
1 Samuel 25:2-3; Psalms 14:1 ; 1 Samuel 25:15-16; 1 Samuel 25:4-5; 1 Samuel 25:13-14; 1 Samuel 25:22; 1 Samuel 25:30-31; 1 Samuel 25:32; Romans 12:19; 1 Samuel 25:36-38; Luke 6:31; 1 Samuel 25:39; 1 Samuel 25:39
Has something or someone ever ignited your anger? Perhaps it was something some fool said or something some fool did. You were ready to attack, yell, punch, get bloody. Maybe you women would say "scratch her eyes out," or "pull out her hair." Perhaps some fool cut you off in traffic and you caught yourself leaning up on the steering wheel and yelling through the windshield explaining to the fool exactly what a fool he or she was. Anyone??? Sure. At some point in time, we all have gone out of control. A friend of mine actually stopped his truck one time, pulled out a hammer and explained to the fool behind him the way more perfectly. On another occasion, he showed a fool messing with him in his car his pistol. Well, here's my question to you child of God. WHO WAS REALLY THE FOOL? Was it "that person," or was it you or I for reacting the way we did?
David lived in the wilderness with his now 600 mighty men and became sort of a Robin Hood. If you remember, the reason people wanted a king to begin with was to bring safety in the land. There were no police, no sheriff, no State Patrol, or National Guard. Saul, the king, did nothing to change the lawlessness. Actually, he made it worse. David, with his men, actually did what the people needed – protecting the people from the gangs stealing from the people, killing, and terrorizing. The wealthy with large amounts of livestock benefited the most from David's protection. One such wealthy man was a man named Nabal.
1 Samuel 25:2-3 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, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings.
Nabal was not only well off. He was very wealthy. The word surly is qasheh in the Hebrew meaning severe. He was severely mean in his dealings with people. Nabal is from the Hebrew root nabel meaning stupid; wicked especially impious, fool, vile person. A fool in the scriptures is not a simpleminded person.
Psalms 14:1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile…
That was Nabal. He is very wealthy, mean to people, underhanded in his dealings, and lived his life as if there is no God.
The scriptures immediately contrast Nabal with his wife Abigail. She was intelligent and beautiful. She was lovely within and without – brains and beauty contrasted with mean and fool.
Nabal was one of the people David protected from the terrorist gangs. Here is what one of Nabal's shepherd servants said about David and his men.
1 Samuel 25:15-16 Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them.
David and his men did a great job protecting Nabal's herds and workers. They were a protective wall, but as we will see, Nabal the fool, did not appreciate what God through David provided for him.
1 Samuel 25:4-5 While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, "Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name.
Once or twice a year the owners sheared sheep. It was a huge party event. Nabal had three thousand sheep, so – gigantic party. All the servants received bonuses. All the neighbors were invited. Come one, come all! It was show off time of Nabal's wealth and success. Everyone around was invited, so David assumed he was welcome. David sent a few men expecting Nabal to be pleased that David and those who protected Nabal's servants and livestock wanted to celebrate Nabal's fortune. David said, I won't intrude with all these men, so please, just send us "whatever you can find" (v.8).
1 Samuel 25:10-11 Nabal answered David's servants, "Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take MY bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for MY shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?"
Notice Nabal is all about Nabal – I, my, mine. Nabal's world revolved around one person – Nabal. Nabal is not thinking. David = 600 warriors. Did Nabal really want to humiliate David? Nabal possessed great people skills, right? Nabal must have learned how to deal with people at the zoo. You have met some Nabals, right? Have you ever been a Nabal? I have.
Nabal purposefully insulted David. Nabal knew who David was and who David's dad, Jesse, was. He belittled David talking about David's breaking away from his master, i.e. Saul. He purposefully demeaned David portraying David as a rebel. Be cautious whom you belittle. It's going to get back to them and, as we will see, the Lord does not like our doing that. When David heard Nabal's reply…
1 Samuel 25:13-14 David said, "Strap on your swords!" They all strapped on their swords, David and his men, and set out, four hundred of them. Two hundred stayed behind to guard the camp. MEANWHILE, one of the young shepherds told Abigail, Nabal's wife, what had happened: "David sent messengers from the backcountry to salute our master, but he tore into them with insults.
1 Samuel 25:22 May God do his worst to me if Nabal and every cur in his misbegotten brood isn't dead meat by morning!"
It's a testosterone moment. David, the man after God's own heart, lost it! David swords up four hundred of his six hundred men. Four hundred men? David, isn't that a little overkill? It's a farmer! David was out of control.
MEANWHILE, Abigail's brains and beauty went to work. She heard David was on his way.
Let's talk about handling conflict. How does a man or woman, who is after God's own heart, handle conflict when he or she has lost it and is out of control? Let's learn from David.
(1) WAIT FOR WISDOM. Most of the time, even when we are serious Christ followers, we are not wise in personal heated conflict. David, the man after God's own heart, was not wise. He didn't pray. He didn't calm down. He made irrational statements. His testosterone got the best of him.
We have all experienced moments like this especially those of us loaded, sometimes cursed, with testosterone. It's a rush that comes from inside demanding an immediate response – eyes narrow, nostrils flare, fists clinch. Thoughts and words come to mind and then from your mouth that you didn't even know were in there and later regret thinking much less saying. It frequently gets nasty and, let me tell you, it doesn't go away with age or salvation. How many of you men know the testosterone rush? Come on! Be proud you are a man. HOW MANY KNOW THE RUSH? How many have allowed it to make a fool of you?
I remember once over twenty years ago now (and, I admit, I was "saved"), when my boss' boss jumped me about something I had no control over. He was belittling me in front of my employees. My boss was standing there not defending me. Before I knew it, I gritted my teeth, squared up my body, clinched my fist, braced myself to throw a hard right, and picked the spot on the man's face to land it. He must have realized I had crossed the testosterone line. He turned and walked away. When I realized how close I came to being a "Nabal – fool," it frightened me. But, did that event stop me from ever doing it again? No. My most humiliating moment in life came years later from a testosterone rush and then, I was a pastor. I became a fool – Nabal. I HAVE LEARNED that rush is dangerous and very difficult to control even if you are a man/woman after God's own heart.
I have also been on the other side of that rush. Not long ago, Judy and I were coming home through Ringgold. We pulled up to a traffic light behind a car with an elderly man and woman in it. When I say elderly, I mean elderly. I was about 58 then and this guy looked to be in his late 70's. The light changed. He was not paying attention, talking to the woman, looking in the floor, etc. We've all done that. We sat there calmly for a good while with the light green behind this person. Finally, I lightly touched the horn. I didn't sit down on it and blast him. I just tooted it to let him know the light changed. Just a friendly honk. I've been done that way before. I was apologetic to the people behind me for my not paying attention, but my guy went bonkers. He tried to turn around in his seat and yell at me, but was too old and stiff. He began yelling and glaring at me in his mirror waving his hands all around giving me some sign language with his fingers. I just looked at him, shook my head thinking, what in the world – you fool. Finally, he pulled forward, but quickly pulled off to the side of the road still yelling, window now down, and challenging me to stop and fight. I didn't say a word, pretended I didn't see him, and kept going. Down the road, Judy asked me, when she felt I wouldn't turn around and go back, if I had seen the guy pull off and challenge me. I said sure I did, but what good would it do for me to try to reason with that "old fool." Judy said, "Thank you." She has witnessed many of my testosterone moments and, God bless her, been Abigail for me.
Get the picture. David is on his way to wipe Nabal off the planet. Temper flaring. Dust flying. Then, …a whiff of perfume in the testosterone-filled locker room. Abigail is in David's trail. "Four hundred men rein in their rides. Some gape at the food; others gawk at the female. She's good lookin' with good cookin', a combination that stops any army."
Abigail addressed David with tremendous wisdom. Six times Abigail called herself "your maidservant." Eight times, she called David "my lord." She forced David to think about who he was. He was David, the anointed of the LORD. She made David realize killing a fool like Nabal was not who he was or in his best interest. Abigail actually took blame saying she was not there to help Nabal respond properly. Then she said…
1 Samuel 25:30-31 "When GOD completes all the goodness he has promised my master and sets you up as prince over Israel, my master will not have this dead weight in his heart, the guilt of an avenging murder. And when GOD has worked things for good for my master, remember me."
Finally, some wisdom came into the situation. CONFLICT CHANGES WHEN WISDOM IS USED. Remember who you are. Remind yourself of the consequences. There's always consequences to conflict and most times, they are not good. Realize a bad response will haunt you. WAIT FOR WISDOM.
(2) HANDLE EACH CONFLICT SEPARATELY BY SELECTING YOUR BATTLES. Yesterday, you may have had lots of patience with Saul messing in your cave, but today there is no patience to be found and you are ready to wipe Nabal off the earth. Every day is different and we don't have patience on credit, so take conflicts separately. Sometimes, I handle conflict so well that I amaze myself, but sometimes, I become a testosterone fool.
Stop and think. David, can you justify killing Nabal because he would not give you some food and excluded you from his party? Is that a battle you want to fight? That's pretty lame, David. Think David!
Isn't that the truth? Most things we get so upset about are so lame and not worth the time, effort, embarrassment, etc. If someone else responded in anger as we are doing, we would say – you fool! Calm down. This is not worth it! Think!
1 Samuel 25:32 David said to Abigail, Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, WHO HAS SENT YOU TODAY TO MEET ME.
David realized that Abigail's intervention was of God. Has something like that ever happened to you? You were about to make a dumb mistake, but God sent someone to talk some sense into you. Abigail (1) brought wisdom to the situation and (2) caused David to see this was not a battle he should fight. Who brings wisdom and perspective to you? I can't tell you the numbers of times my wife has used her beauty and brains to stand in my trail of vengeance to calm me down.
(3) WAIT AND LET GOD TAKE CARE OF IT. When in conflict, it's tough to wait on God. Your flesh/mind is yelling, "Yell louder! Punch now!" But, if you will listen to the Spirit of God in you, it is saying, "WAIT. Don't say anything. Don't do anything. Let God work here." If you will wait, the situation might not change, but you might. You will never regret waiting and God WILL bring vengeance. It's a promise.
Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
Leave room for God's what? Wrath! David did as Abigail asked and waited for God. David went back to the stronghold with food for his belly and Abigail in his head. Abigail went back to a drunken Nabal.
1 Samuel 25:36-38 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing until daybreak. Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died.
Wow! We have lots of trouble with passages like this. No matter how you look at it, the bottom line is always the same. Don't mess with God's people. Nabal was mean to people and treated them badly. If you can ever make yourself do any one thing, make yourself treat people right.
Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Nabal didn't and Nabal had a heart attack, went into a coma, and ten days after saying those insulting things about David, died! That was not a coincidence.
1 Samuel 25:39 When David heard that Nabal was dead he said, "Blessed be GOD who has stood up for me against Nabal's insults, kept me from an evil act, and let Nabal's evil boomerang back on him."
(KJV) …for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head.
Wow! What can I say? David said God took care of Nabal "FOR ME." It seemed a little severe to me. I mean, Nabal did insult David, didn't give David food, and didn't invite David to the party. Does that seem worthy of death to you? Remember, Nabal was a fool – says there is no God. Nabal was mean to people. There were many people, other than David, for which God settled the score with Nabal.
The points are, be cautious what you say and be cautious what you do concerning people. Watch your insults. Watch your words. Watch your actions. We don't think so, but these things are serious to God.
1 Samuel 25:39 …Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.
Abigail immediately loaded up her stuff, five maids, and went to marry David.
What have we learned today? A man or a woman of God after God's own heart can go out of control wanting vengeance. However, if you will (1) WAIT FOR WISDOM, (2) HANDLE EACH CONFLICT SEPARETLY BY SELECTING YOUR BATTLES, and (3) LET GOD TAKE CARE OF IT, he will and you will make wise decisions, maintain your sanity, not defile your reputation, and move a step closer to your kingdom. We will become men and women after God's own heart.