1 Samuel 24-25 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible, verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
OK. Turning your Bibles, please, to the book of 1st Samuel, chapter 24. Settle in. We're going to be here for almost an hour.
I'm going to open up in a prayer in a moment. If you're visiting, you're thinking, an hour in the Bible in the Old Testament? I don't know if I can handle that. OK. If that's how you feel, understood. We want you to make that decision now, though, so that you don't get up in the middle of the Bible study and meander out. And then everybody's eyes are on you and you become the issue, the focus, the distraction.
We will pray. As our eyes are closed and heads are bowed you can move to the very back. And then if you decided to bail out in the middle of it then you don't become the issue. Fair enough? OK? Let's pray together.
Father, thank you for your word. Thank you that we get an opportunity to study it. Thank you for those who have come together to learn. Lord, I pray that you would not just increase our Bible knowledge, but that you would help us to come to know, more intimately, the author of this Bible.
And to see in the stories of these very imperfect people whom you have used, show us the hope that is in that. How you use ordinary people, what Paul referred to as the foolish things of this world, the weak things of this world.
For that we give you glory. Pray that you would open our hearts in Jesus's name. Amen.
Speaking of hearts, there's only one person in the Bible referred to as a man after God's own heart. And that is this man that we're studying, that we're looking at in this book of 1st Samuel, the latter portion. David.
He's not yet king. He was a shepherd who became a warrior. Also a poet. Who will become, also, the King of Israel. The second King, after King Saul.
A man after God's own heart. What does that mean? Well, there's another translation known as the Knox translation. Written not by John Knox, but by a Bishop Knox later on who renders it based upon his understanding of the Hebrew. A man to fulfill God's purposes.
That might help you understand that a little bit. David was a man who was out to fulfill God's purposes, God's plan. That is, he wanted what God wanted. He wanted to see God get the glory. Not always, he was imperfect. We understand that if you know David's life.
But unlike King Saul, who was not a person that wanted what God wants. He was a man who wanted what he wanted, and he wanted all the people to give him what he wanted. David, on the other hand, was a man to fulfill God's purpose. A man after God's own heart. A man who wanted, primarily, what God wanted.
We saw, back in chapter 16, how this came out of the blue. This anointing that Samuel, the prophet, came to the house of Jesse at the instruction of God in Bethlehem, to anoint the next king because God had rejected King Saul.
He lines up the boys. Elijah being the oldest, all the way down to the youngest. David was still out in the fields. His dad didn't even call him in for the lineup, thought he was too insignificant. That was the one God chose.
The foolish things of the world, the weak things of the world. The person nobody thought, of all these in that house, he would be the next king. He would be the anointed.
Now, it sounds like it would be a thrilling experience to be the anointed of God. To get a prophet to come to your house and pour oil on your head. Maybe that part wouldn't be exciting, but the idea that you would be selected for a special plan of God. It sounds exciting.
But for David, it wasn't exciting. For David, it was exhausting. Though it sounds like it would be an honor for David, it started out not as an honor, but as a horror. Because he becomes public enemy number one. He becomes a hunted individual. His entire life as he knew it was over. His whole world gets turned upside down as Saul, the King, makes him the one that he wants destroyed.
And he comes up with plan after plan. No success. And it's because he knows that his own time is up. He knows that God has chosen this young man, David. And he wants to keep the kingdom by force, not letting David take over.
Well, we left chapter 23, David fleeing from Saul. And we saw that he went to En Gedi. That's the place we left David. Verse 29 of chapter 23. Then David went up from there and dwelt in the strongholds at En Gedi. David is on the western shore of the Dead Sea, the lowest place in the world. 1,290 feet below sea level.
Anybody here ever been to Death Valley, California? That's the lowest place in the United States. Lower than that is the Dead Sea.
Death Valley is called Death Valley for a good reason, sort of like why the Dead Sea is called the Dead Sea. There's not a lot of life there. And people who want to hang out there in the summer better get used to 130 degree temperatures. Dead Sea. Death Valley. Very inhospitable place. Barren place.
That's where David goes, at En Gedi. You go, well, why would he go there? Let me show you why in this picture I took of En Gedi. That's the cue. There it is. Can you see that? That's an oasis in the middle of the desert. That's En Gedi.
As you climb up this little canyon, you get to this pool and waterfall and there are more beyond this. And so David had an oasis. He had water. It's a place with lots of caves to hide.
It's called En Gedi, which means the spring of the wild goats because of this species of ibex, this long horned animal called the Nubian ibex. There's hundreds, thousands of them in the area, and that's where David is fleeing from Saul. In this oasis of En Gedi.
We always like to take our groups there when we go.
Verse 1, chapter 24. "Now it happened when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, a battle that he had to get engaged in, that it was told him. Saying, 'Take note. David is in the wilderness of En Gedi.' Then Saul took 3,000 men."
Now David, he had 400, now he has 600 men. "Saul takes 3,000 men, chosen men from all of Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the rocks of the wild goats.
"So he came to the sheep folds by the road where there was a cave," and there are caves all throughout that area, "and Saul went in to attend to his needs." There's different translations of this. He went in to relieve himself. He went in to use the restroom. Nature called. So we went into the cave.
Now look at what it is says in parentheses. "David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave."
So get the picture. David is outnumbered 5 to 1. 3,000 to 600. Saul brings his army to the place where David is hiding. He doesn't know David is in which cave he's in. But he tells his men, excuse me, I need to go use the restroom.
Now, that's a private matter. Even his own guard would not follow him into the restroom. So it's like, give me some privacy, I have to go relieve myself. Not knowing that there are 600 men in that restroom. Staying back in the recesses of the caves. So it's a fun scene to look at.
So he goes in. The men are in the recesses of the caves. Now, this scene of Saul in the cave, alone, this is the first time that he is vulnerable. Up until now he's been very well protected. He always has guards around him. He always has his army around him. He's always been on the offensive.
Now, for the first time, he is in darkness, in solitary. Alone. Completely open to attack. Completely vulnerable. You might look at this-- his men do --as David's golden opportunity to take vengeance.
And if you're David and in comes the man who has thrown his spear at you a few times, tried to trick you and kill you a number of different times, killed priests and family members, 385 of them Josephus says, in that town of Knob.
When you see him come in that cave, it'd be easy for your blood to boil and you to see this as, OK, I'm going to exact vengeance on this man. It'd be very easy for that to happen, and his men will encourage him to do that.
The Bible says, in the Book of Exodus, there's a law that is in Exodus 21 known as the Lex Talionis. Maybe you've heard that term before. The Lex Talionis is the law of retribution. God put it this way. You will take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a limb for a limb. You're familiar with that law.
Jesus referred to that and said, you have heard that it was said by those of old. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, love your enemies.
So David could have said, yep, he tried to take my life. I'm going to try and succeed in taking his life. Vengeance comes naturally. Forgiveness comes supernaturally.
It's very easy to see our opportunity to get even with somebody.
I'll never forget a story I heard about a maid who worked for a wealthy family and for no reason, apparently, they fired the maid. She was dependent on the job for her income. So she was very disappointed when they just kind of willy-nilly said you're gone, you're fired, you're out of here.
So she reached into her purse and took a $5 bill and called the dog and threw it at the dog. And the family said, well, what did you do that for? And she said I never forget a kind favor. That's for all the times your dog helped me wash your dishes.
Now, that probably wasn't true, but it was just an instant way to get gratification and get some sort of relief for getting let go. Well that comes naturally.
What David does only come supernaturally.
Then, verse 4. "The men of David said to him, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, behold I will deliver your enemy into your hand that you may do to him as seems good to you. And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul's robe."
You'll notice that David's men, who also were in the cave, nestled up against those dark recesses, saw this and misinterpreted this, misread the situation. They said, this has got to be the Lord doing this, allowing you, giving you the opportunity to kill the man who's killing the next King of Israel. Here's the man who's standing in the way of the will of God. This is the Lord. Kill him.
So they misread it. They misinterpreted it as a sign from God. And, you know, I've run into some Christians who look at life this way. They see everything as a sign from God. And sometimes there are signs. Sometimes they just see them when they're not there.
Their car breaks down, this is a sign that God wants me to get a new car. Maybe. Probably not. Just get the thing fixed.
Or, oh, that cute girl smiled at me. She's the one that I'm going to marry. Well, be careful. Don't see everything as a sign from the Lord. They saw this as a sign from God, delivering Saul into David's hand. Now, David is in a vulnerable position himself because he has to make a decision. Here comes Saul, his enemy. Here's his men, counseling him, saying see, this is God. You should do it. Exact vengeance on him.
So David had his own feelings, probably wanting to do it. Added to that, the pressure of people telling him to do it. So it would be very easy to give in to that kind of peer pressure and feelings that well up inside of you.
And that's why, when you get counsel from people, you have to be careful. You ultimately make your own decision. And you can go get counsel from people but you still have to make your own decision. But be very careful how you let people's opinions or council weigh in or push you to do something.
Here's the case in point. Pontius Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. Wanted to let him go. But it says in the Gospel of Luke, but the voices of the people and of the chief priests prevailed. Their pressure, the peer pressure, moved Pilate just a little bit more. Just to get it done and get it off his plate so he didn't have to deal with it anymore.
So they said take his life. So David, instead of taking his life, instead of cutting his throat, he cut off his robe. Not his whole robe, but just a little section of it, it says in verse 4. Now, what happened afterward, as soon as David took that little-- cut that little piece off, David's heart troubled him.
You know, that's fascinating. If it said David cut his throat, while Saul was bleeding, David's heart troubled him, that would make sense. David just snipped off a little corner of his robe and David is so sensitive. Oh, man. I just cut off a piece of his clothing.
I just find that fascinating. It happened afterwards. David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe.
"And he said to his men, the Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing that he is the anointed of the Lord. So David restrained his servants with these words and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and he went his way."
So he has a tender heart. He's very sensitive. And let me say to you, that's a good thing. It's good that you have a tender conscience toward good and evil. Toward right and wrong. Paul the apostle said I always strive to have my conscience without offense before God and before men.
And why is it good to have a tender conscience? Because if you have a tender conscience, taking from the company a paperclip or a pen, taking it home. They don't need it. They got a lot of pens here, I'll just take it home. If you can rationalize that, down the road you might be able to rationalize taking $1,000, $5,000, or more, without permission. See, one thing can lead to another.
So David does have a tender conscience. And I think the key is to not have an insensitive conscience, or an oversensitive conscience, but to have a properly sensitized conscience. Sensitized by God.
Some people are insensitive. Their conscience, nothing bothers them. The Bible speaks about those whose conscience is seared with a hot iron. They're cauterized. They don't feel anymore. They see things, they do things, are exposed to things. Doesn't bother them anymore.
Other people have an overly sensitive conscience. They're worried. They want to please people because they might feel rejected, and they're not secure in who they are before the Lord. But when your conscience is in balance is a good thing. A conscience, as Paul said, without offense before God and before men.
So, verse 8. "David also arose afterward, went out of the cave,".
See, Saul went in, used the facilities, so to speak. Left, not knowing David cut off a piece of his robe.
"So David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to the King. Saying 'My Lord, the King.' And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the Earth and bowed down."
First of all, notice the respect. He's called the King, who wants to kill him, The Lord's anointed. Then he says, "My Lord". Not "You creep". And then he bows down instead of giving him out a rotten hand gesture or something like that. He bows down in reverence. He's respecting Saul.
Why? Why respect the man who's living apart from the will of God and wants to kill you? Why would David do this?
I'm going to say something that's going to sound glib. I don't think David liked Saul but I do know he loved Saul. I know that's a very glib thing to say, I don't like you but I love you, but this is really true here.
David understood that your will can act independent of your feelings. That a choice that you make, a choice of your will, can be very different than how you feel. What I know should be done is different than what I feel like I want to do. And that's, I think, what you're seeing here.
Remember what Jesus said. Once again, he said love your enemies. You can only do that by an act of your will. You can't love your enemies if you go by your feelings because I don't think you'll ever feel loving towards your enemies. So it has to be something you do that contradicts how you feel. So that's a choice that you make of your will.
And so David is going to be respectful.
David refused to let Saul change him.
Saul was a certain way. It'd be easy to say, well, if you're going to be that way to me then I'm going to treat you this way. No. I'm not going to let what you do change who I am.
There was a man who worked at an office building. He was on his way out and he saw a woman coming in and he opened the door for her so that she could enter the building. And she, being a modern woman, turned to him and said don't open the door just because I'm a woman. And he smiled politely and said, no, ma'am, I'm opening the door for you because I'm a gentleman.
I'm going to treat you like this because, Saul, I'm a gentleman. I'm the Lord's servant. I know what is right. I'm going to respect you, not because of what you do to me, because if I did that I'd come at you like a spider monkey, but I'm not going to do that. So he treated him very respectfully.
"David stooped with his face to the Earth and bowed down. And David said to Saul, 'Why do you listen to the words of men who say, indeed, David seeks your harm? Look. This day, your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you, today, into my hand, in the cave. And somebody urged me to kill you. But my eyes spared you and I said I will not stretch out my hand against my Lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.'"
Moreover, notice what he calls him. My Father. Now, he was his Father-in-law, but this is really a term of respect.
"Moreover, my Father, see." And he held up the little cloth that he had. "You see the corner of your robe in my hand? For in that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it."
It's noteworthy that David did confront Saul with his sin. He was respectful. He didn't take his life. He did bow down, but he could have just said, I'm going to leave well enough alone. I'm just going to let him go and move on. But he didn't do that. He didn't slink in the back of the cave.
He walked out and yelled out to the King, who was some distance away, presumably, and confronted him with, not only what he had done, but what Saul had done to him. He confronted him with his sin.
Jesus said if your brother sins against you, go and tell him. And confront him. And if he listens to you, you've gained your brother.
So he was open and he was honest. And that's important. It's important that if somebody offends you, you tell them. An enemy will stab you in the back. A friend will carefully, lovingly, stab you in the front.
Right? He'll confront you. He'll get in your grill and say let me talk to you about this. This is troublesome. This is bothersome.
Why would you say that? Because you're my friend. I'm not going to talk about behind your back. I'm not going to stab you in the back. But I'm going to stab you carefully, lovingly, in the front.
Right? Proverbs 27 says faithful are the wounds of a friend. The kisses of an enemy are deceitful. So he's not letting it ride. He is confronting him with it.
Nathan will do that to David later on. Nathan the prophet will come to King David and say you are the man when David commits adultery. Paul the apostle will do this in the New Testament with Peter. He writes to the Galatians. And he said when Peter was playing the hypocrite with the Gentiles before the Jewish brethren, I confronted him.
So love will do that. And just don't hold on to it. Get it out.
And you go, I'm just not good at doing it. I hate confrontation. Get good at it. Really. Let it be your friend. Get good.
I had a friend tell me that years ago. Let confrontation become your friend. Not that you become a confrontive person, but that you become one who loves friends enough to check them on things, to call them on things. That's healthy friendship.
Look at verse 12.
"Let the Lord judge between you and me. And let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hands shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, wickedness proceeds from the wicked. But my hand shall not be against you.
"After whom has the King of Israel come out? To whom do you pursue, a dead dog?"
That's what he's referring to himself. Why are you after me? I'm like a dead dog. Not even that, I'm like a flea. Notice the next thing. A flea. I'm a flea on the dog. My dog has fleas.
"Therefore, let the Lord judge, and judge between you and me, and see, and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand."
You'll notice in those verses that David refuses personal retaliation but he allows for providential retaliation. See what he says? I won't personally avenge you. Let the Lord judge between you and me. My hands shall not be against you. But he does say before that, let the Lord avenge me on you.
I'm going to leave this up to God. I'm not going to be the one who kills you. But if it is in the will of God to rid you from off the Earth, so be it.
You could take revenge against somebody who has hurt you, or you could let God take revenge if that's in his will to do. God has ways. And, by the way, God's way better at it than you are. He's more creative than you are.
I had a mentor, a pastor, who said if you want to defend yourself God will let you. If that's the person you want to be, you're always defending yourself and sticking up for yourself, let me explain, God will let you. But sometimes you just let it lie and leave it with God and let God be your defense.
And, in this case, David was right. I'm going to leave this with God. He has 600 men telling him get him, go for it. But David says to God, get him. Go for it if that's in your will.
"So it was when David had finished speaking these words to Saul that Saul said, 'Is this your voice, my son David?' And Saul lifted up his voice and wept."
Boy, this guy's a mess. (CRYING) Whoa, oh, David, oh. This is the King. He's addled. He's one burrito short of a combo plate. He's just not functioning. He's not seeing right.
He wants to kill David. Then David shows up and he starts crying. Goes, is that you David? I love you man. Like a drunk.
"And he said to David, 'You are more righteous than I.'" Which is true. "For you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. And you have sworn this day how you have dealt well with me, for when the Lord delivered me into your hand you did not kill me. For if a man flees his enemy, will he let him get away safely?
"Therefore, may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. And now I know, indeed, that you shall surely be King, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand."
This is the first time he makes this admission. Here's the King of Israel wanting to kill David so David can't be the King of Israel. But this King of Israel is saying, David, I know you're in the next King of Israel. God has showed it to me. He's going to establish it in your hand.
"Therefore, swear now to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me. That you will not destroy my name of my father's house. So David swore to Saul, and Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold."
Do you remember a couple of weeks ago, I think it was a couple of ago, might have been last week, I'm not sure. But I told you that the word for stronghold is the Hebrew word metsudah or Masada. And I told you about the fortress of Masada. So it's the same word here.
So David went up to Masada. And if you know the geography of around the Dead Sea, En Gedi is not far from the fortress, Masada. So it could be that he went back up to that same fortress of Masada in fleeing from Saul after this little event. So David went to the stronghold.
Retaliation costs. Reconciliation pays huge dividends.
David refused to take vengeance. Saul momentarily-- now, it won't last long, but momentarily confesses his sin. Confesses that David is the King. So, the desire for reconciliation is paying huge dividends. Where David's enemy is at least verbally, temporarily, reaching out to reconcile the relationship.
It says in Proverbs chapter 16, when a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. It's a beautiful promise. When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Here is Saul, it won't last, as I said, but he is temporarily making peace with him. And that's what David wanted. David was trying to talk him into this reconciliation process.
If you have never read the story of Corrie ten Boom, if you've never read The Hiding Place, now it's an old book, but if you've never read the story, read it. It will bless you. It'll encourage you. It's a true story about a Dutch family who suffered in the concentration camp.
Corrie ten Boom and her sister were young and they were placed in the concentration camp because her family housed Jews during World War ll and they were caught by the Nazis. She was mistreated in the concentration camps. She was in two or three of them. And then, eventually, the war ended. She was released.
But she tells the story in her book. She tells the story about years after the war, a man coming up to her, putting his hand out, saying, will you forgive me? And she looked into his eyes and instantly recognized him as the prison guard in one of the concentration camps.
All sorts, she said, all sorts of emotions rose within me at that moment. And here's the guy with tears in his eyes, with his hand out saying, will you forgive me?
She said, mechanically, I thrust my hand out and grabbed his hand. You know, I didn't want to do it, but I did it mechanically. OK. And she grabbed him and she goes, almost instantly I was flooded, almost like with an electric shock, a warmth that engulfed me.
And she said, I have never felt in my life the love of God as powerfully as I did in that moment. She said I clutched his hand for the longest time and I stared into his eyes. Here is the former inmate and the former prison guard.
And then she said, forgiveness sets the captives free. And I discovered that I was the prisoner. I was the one that needed to be set free. He was wanting forgiveness so he could be set free. But I realize I needed to be set free. And she said the love of God overcame.
Because she said that I realized that my will can act independent of the feelings of my heart. And she said, brother, I forgive you. Called him brother. And they had a warm embrace and it's a beautiful story of forgiveness.
So that's in David's heart. And it seems like it's in Saul's heart, but again, it won't last. You'll see.
Chapter 25, verse 1.
"Then Samuel died and the Israelites gathered together and lamented for him, and buried him at his home in Rama, and David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran."
In verse 1 you have a one verse obituary for Samuel the prophet. It's very, very short. That's the only thing that came out in the papers. Today Samuel died. And we buried him in Rama where he lived. Very, very short obituary.
But it's noteworthy because Samuel was the last judge of Israel and the first prophet of Israel. He was in that shoulder season. He was that young boy, dedicated by his mother at the tabernacle, who served the Lord under Eli the high priest. And it's hard when these giants of the faith pass on.
I remember when I was younger and I remember thinking it's going to be difficult for me when three men that have influenced my life pass from the scene. And I thought of their names. My pastor, Chuck Smith. The man who led me to Christ, Dr. Billy Graham. And the governor of my state who became president of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Three giants.
I said, I know that when they pass that is going to mean the transition of an incredible era. So it was with Samuel. When Samuel passed from the scene, it was the removal of an incredible era kept, by a man of God, faithful to preach the word of God uncompromising. And now he was gone. And he is buried.
Beginning in verse 2, and we'll try to move through this rather rapidly because it's sort of a long story. This is the story of what some call the Beauty and the Beast.
Not the Disney Beauty and the Beast, but this is a man by the name of Nabal and his wife by the name of Abigail. He was the beast. Nabal was the beast, the husband. His wife, Abigail, was the beauty. She had beauty, and brains as well. And very, very different from one another.
"Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel."
Now, this Carmel is not Mount Carmel. If you've been to Israel, that's what you're thinking of right now. But there was a Carmel down south. Just south of Hebron up in the Judean foothills called Carmel. That's where they were.
And it says, "The man was very rich. He had 3,000 sheep, 1,000 goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. And the name of the man was Nabal."
Now Nabal I doubt was the name his parents gave him. Nabal, I believe, was a nickname that got attached to him and it just sort of stuck. Because the word Nabal is a Hebrew word for fool or folly.
I doubt any parent would have their baby boy born and go, oh, look at that. Let's name him fool. Probably didn't happen. So I tend to lean that it was a nickname. It got attached to him. He just had that reputation. He lived up to it.
"And the name of his wife was Abigail. Notice that she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his doings, and he was of the House of Caleb."
So you couldn't have two more opposite people getting married. A bad man with big bucks, and a beautiful gal with beauty and brains.
They do say opposites attract. And I honestly have been amazed when I meet certain couples and I just go, wow. You know? That guy is just such a-- Well, we'll leave it at that. And yet his wife's so gracious, and so sweet, and so beautiful. But he's like a nerd and he's just kind of crass. How did they ever get together?
Well, opposites do attract. And when you marry somebody you really have no guarantee how that marriage is going to progress and how he or she is going to end up.
I mean, Jobe married Mrs. Jobe. And when he got sick her advice was curse God and die. I doubt she talked like that when they got married. Something had to attract her to him.
You know Socrates is interesting. Socrates, they say, had a really bad marriage. He had a contentious wife. And he said to his students, he said, by all means, marry. If you find a good wife you'll become very, very happy. If you get a bad wife you'll become a philosopher. And, of course, he was a known philosopher.
So Nabal and Abigail.
"When David," verse 4, "heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, David sent 10 young men. And David said to the young men, 'Go up to Carmel, to Nabal. Greet him by name. And you shall say to him who lives in prosperity, peace be to you. Peace to your house. Peace to all that you have."
Shalom, shalom, shalom.
"Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel."
Now, 3,000 sheep in sheep shearing times would produce lots of fleece and lots of fun. Typically a sheep shearing event was a time of festivities. It was a happy moment. It's a time of celebration.
Typically a person that had that many sheep would give some of the wool away to friends and neighbors. And in this case, protectors like David's army. David's 600 men had protected the shepherds, that's the reference here, in a previous time.
It would be a way to say, I'm thanking God for all that he has done. Please, take some of the wool for yourselves so you can make your own woolen clothes. And let's sacrifice a lamb. You can have some of the food. It was very typical to share it with friends and family, with neighbors.
Sort of like, in ancient times in our country, a barn raising event where you have neighbors that get together to build a barn, or restore a barn, for one person or one family, and raise it up together as a community. It was a community event.
David knew that and said, hey, 600 men. It's hard to keep them fed, especially out here in the wilderness. So let's kind of get our fee for protecting Nabal and his shepherds.
So verse 8, "Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore, let my young men find favor in your eyes for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand and your servants to your son David. So when David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David and waited."
And they expected to get wool and food and hugs. And just the great grace and favor of these hosts. But look at verse 10.
"Then, fool," Nabal, "answered David's servants and said 'Who is David?'"
Now, everybody knew David. Saul made sure everybody knew David. Every city that harbored him knew about David. News was all around that Saul was trying to kill David. He goes, who's David?
"And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants, nowadays, who break away each from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my meat that I have killed for my shares, and give it to the men whom I do not know where they're from?
"So David's young men turned on their heels, went back. And they came and told David all these words David said to his man. Every man girt on his sword. So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword."
About 400 men went with David. So David now has an army ready for battle, 400 of them.
"And 200 stayed with the supplies."
So David goes ballistic. It's like, OK, put your sword on. Let's kill them. And you'll see, their intention is to kill every male of Nabal. Now wait, wait, wait, wait. What just happened with King Saul?
He felt guilty cutting off-- Oh, I can't take his robe. Oh, I just cut off and, oh, I feel so bad. Kill them.
He goes nuts here. He goes ballistic. I want you to see this because David is a man after God's own heart, but sometimes David's heart was pretty dark. And I've told you before, I said it on a couple of occasions, that even the best of men are men at best. And even God's choice servants have these low, dark moments where they just kind of lose it. And here's one for David.
He's like, kill them all. This is overkill. It's like throwing a bomb in a subway to kill the rats. That's overkill. There's a lot better ways to get the rat.
So we have two beasts now in this chapter. Nabal, the hard headed man. David, the hotheaded man. One wants to kill the other.
"One of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master and he reviled them. But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them when we were in the field." Speaking of that previous incident where they were protected.
"They were a wall to us, both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep. Now, therefore, know and consider what you will do," They say to Abigail, "for harm is determined against our master, and against all his household, for he is such a scoundrel."
Now, literally, it's, "He's a son of Belial." He's the son of the devil. This is translated to scoundrel. I think that's an easy way out of the translation.
And it says that "One cannot speak to him." Now that is a mark of a foolish person. A foolish man will not be open to advice. You're dealing with a fool when you say, oh, I can't even approach him. I can't even talk to him. That's a foolish man who won't let people in to counsel them or talk to them.
"And Abigail made haste and took 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, 5 seahs of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, 200 cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. And she said to her servants, 'Go on before me. I'm coming after you.' But she did not tell her husband," Mr. Fool.
"So it was, as she rode on the donkey, that she went down under cover of the hill and there were David and his men coming down toward her and she met them."
Now you have two caravans. One is a caravan of retaliation. That's David. And the other is a caravan of reconciliation. That's Abigail. She brings food, she brings supplies, she's going to humble herself and try to fix the situation.
"Now David had said, 'Surely in vain, I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good. May God do so and more also to the enemies of David if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light.'
"When Abigail saw David she hastened to dismount from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed to the ground. So she fell at his feet and said 'On me, my Lord, let this iniquity be. And please let your maid servant speak in your ears and hear the words of your maid servant.'"
She comes very humbly, calling David "My Lord" seven times, referring to herself as "maid servant" 6 times.
"Please, let not my Lord regard this scoundrel, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him. But I, your maid servant, did not see the young men of my Lord whom you sent. Now therefore, my Lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek harm from my Lord be as Nabal.
"And now this present, which your maid servant has brought to my Lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my Lord. Please, forgive the trespass of your maid servant."
Now, she did nothing wrong. But she states that she is part of the problem because her job is hospitality and she didn't know anything about it.
"For the Lord will certainly make for my Lord an enduring house because my Lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout all of your days."
I know you're going to be the next King. That's a statement of affirmation.
"Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life." That's referring to Saul. "But the life of my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord, your God.
"And the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the pocket of a sling. And it shall come to pass when the Lord has done for my Lord, according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, that this will be no grief to you, nor offensive heart to my Lord, either, that you have shed blood without cause, or that my Lord has avenged himself. But when the Lord has dealt well with my Lord then remember your maid servant.
"And David said to Abigail, 'blessed be the Lord God of Israel who sent you this day to meet me. And blessed is your advice. And blessed are you because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand. For indeed, as the Lord God of Israel lives who kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hastened and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal.'
"So David received from her hand what she brought him and she said to him go up in peace to your house-- and he said to her, 'Go up in peace to your house. See I have heeded your voice and respected your person."
Now here you have a great example of the proverb that says life and death are in the power of the tongue. Her words brought life to a situation that would have ended in death for all of the males of Nabal.
"Then Abigail went to Nabal," verse 36, let's just finish this out. We can pick up a few pieces of it next week. "Abigail went to Nabal, her husband, and there he was holding a feast in his house like the feast of a King. And Nabal's heart was merry within him for he was very drunk."
This guy really is foolish. He's watching Monday night chariot races with his buddies, getting drunk. Totally oblivious to the impending doom that's coming upon him.
He's very drunk. Therefore she told him nothing little or much until morning light. You don't talk to somebody who's drunk.
(SLURRING) Hey, sweetheart. How are you?
Well let me tell you, Nabal, what just happened.
(SLURRING) Really? That's awesome.
He won't remember it.
"So it was in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal," poor guy with a hangover now, "and his wife told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone."
Apparently he had a stroke. And he'll be in a coma for 10 days. It happened, after about 10 days, that the Lord struck Nabal and he died.
Now watch this. "When David heard the Nabal was dead he said, 'blessed be the Lord,'"
Hey, did you hear? Nabal died. Praise God.
"'who has pleaded my cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal and kept his servant from evil, for the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.' And David sent and proposed to Abigail to take her as his wife."
More about that next time.
"And when the servants of David had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying 'David sent us to you to ask you to become his wife.' Then she arose, bowed her face to the Earth, and said here's your maid servant. A servant to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord.
"And Abigail rose in haste, rode on a donkey attended by five of her maidens, and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife. David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel."
So both of them were his wives. Again, I'm going to talk about that next time. We're out of time tonight.
"But Saul had given Michal." that is his previous wife, his daughter. "David's wife, to Palti, the son of Laish, who is from Gallim."
And we'll complete that story later on when we get to it later on.
Here's what I want to close with. This woman, in her advice, kept David from doing something he would regret. Don't do it, David. Don't kill my husband and all the males. Because I know you're going to be King, and when you're King you don't want to look back with regret to something that you did. You don't want this to be a blot on your record.
And it is good advice. Make choices now that you will not live to regret. If you go according to your feelings, if you move out hastily, so often you live to regret it. And you want to be able to look back at your life with no regrets. You've done everything you could, humanly speaking, before the Lord so that you don't live with these regrets.
And I'll tell you this. If you live for God completely, you'll never regret it. If you give your life to Jesus Christ, and turn to him in repentance, you'll never forget it. And you'll never regret it. You'll never live to regret that.
You won't die on your death going, I feel so bad that I gave my life to Christ and all my sins are forgiven and I'm about to enter heaven. Man, I really regret that. You'll never say that. But you will say that if you don't give your life to Christ and follow the Lord authentically, wholeheartedly.
If you're here, possibly you've never done that. Or you need to turn back to him. I'm going to give you that opportunity now as we pray. Let's pray together.
Father our lives, our heads, our hearts are bowed before you. We are your servants. We are imperfect servants. We have chosen to be here. We have made choices that our lives would be used by you, for you, poured out for your glory.
But Lord, perhaps some have not surrendered their lives fully to Christ. They're not living with forgiven sin. They're living in sin. They've never had their lives washed clean. They've never been liberated from that bondage of self and sin. And they know it.
Lord, I pray that you will release those shackles. I pray that they would make a decision tonight that they will never regret. A decision to walk into eternity forgiven, cleansed, a child, a son, or a daughter of the living God.
We know it comes by faith. We know that salvation is a free gift of God. All we have to do is receive it as many have received Jesus, your word says. To them, God gave the power, the right, to become children of God. To those that believe in his name.
I pray for anyone who might be here, or watching, or listening on radio, or watching on their devices, who've never given their life to Christ or need to turn back to you. I pray they would do it right now.
If you are in this auditorium and you've never done it, or if you're outside in the amphitheater and you've never done it, or you need to come back to the Lord, I want you to raise your hand right now. Raise it up in the air so I can just acknowledge you.
As you raised your hand you're saying, Skip, pray for me. God bless you. Anyone else?
Just raise your hand if you're saying, I'm giving my life to Christ tonight. Or, I'm coming back to the Lord tonight. God bless you, toward the back.
Anybody else in the auditorium. If you're outside raise your hand. Please, there is a pastor out there as well. Raise your hand up.
Father, we pray that you will do a great work of salvation, of forgiveness, restoring that person's life and heart back to you. In relationship in Jesus's name. Amen.
Let's all stand to our feet.
Now, we're going to sing a song. And as we sing the song I'm going to ask you to do something boldly. I saw a few hands go up. I'm going to ask you to get up from where you're standing, and those of you outside as well, if you raised your hand, I want you to get up and join the ones who are coming forward in this auditorium.
So if you raised your hand, as we sing, would you please step forward? I'm going to lead you publicly in a prayer to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
We do this to encourage you, not to embarrass you. You raised your hand, get up and come. Let's seal the deal. Make it your own, make it real. Make your decision tonight. God bless you.
Come on. Come on down.
Yes, God bless you. Come and stand right here.
If you're outside you get up and come as well. Raise your hand and let the pastor out there walk you in.
(SINGING) Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, there is freedom.
That's right. That's right.
(SINGING) Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, there is freedom. Come out of the dark, just as you are, into the fullness of His love. Oh, the Spirit is here, let there be freedom.
We're going to give it just a little bit more time. I know how this works, sometimes we're a little bit skittish. But let these who have come forward encourage you, as you saw them come.
Some of you know that you need to be up here. You need to get your life right with God. It hasn't been. Haven't been walking in His will and you are sensing the tug of the Spirit. Get up and come.
Again, if you're outside let a pastor walk you right into these doors.
(SINGING) With the spirit of the Lord there is freedom, there is freedom. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, there is freedom.
God bless you.
Just as you are, into the fullness of His love. Oh, the Spirit is here, let there be freedom.
Just want to say to those of you who have come forward, don't be ashamed. You're about to be forgiven by a gracious God who loves you more than words can express, who poured out his life blood on a cross for you, and he welcomes you with open arms, as do we, into his family. So I'm going to lead you in a prayer.
If you came forward, would you say this prayer out loud after me? Mean these words from your heart.
Say Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe he died on a cross. I believe he shed his blood for me. I believe he rose from the grave. I turn from my sin. I repent of my past. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to follow him as my Lord. Help me. In Jesus's name. Amen.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church.
Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series Expound.