What Can We Learn From Abigail?

… 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 …

I recently had an assignment from one of my church house party groups (most churches call them “small groups”) to find a woman in the Bible and find out what we can learn from her. After praying, I chose Abigail. I was excited to dive in, having always loved her story and thought her name was beautiful.


In I Samuel 25 we find Abigail’s story.

“Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings …” (I Sam 25:2-3)

The Altercation

David and his men had been running from King Saul’s army, as Saul sought to kill David. Saul knew that the prophet Samuel had anointed David to be the next king and had discovered that “the Lord was with him [David], but had departed from Saul” (I Samuel 18:12). Saul became angry and jealous of David and began a concentrated hunt to find and kill him. But God continually protected David. Finally, after Saul’s death, David’s army could stop running.

They found themselves resting where Nabal’s men were sheering his sheep. No doubt, at this point, David and his men were exhausted.

David asked Nabal to grant provisions—food and drink, refreshments—for his men, sighting the fact that his men had dealt respectfully with Nabal’s workers. Nabal refused, disrespectfully at that, and David’s fuse was lit.

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.” I Sam 25:21-22

Abigail in Action

When Abigail discovered that she and all her household were in danger, she did not hesitate to act.

Her words and actions proved that she was quite thoughtful, a prayer warrior and an encourager.

Abigail cleverly managed the household servants and men who worked for her husband to prepare provisions for David. This was leadership.

She went to great lengths to protect her family and servants.

Risking her life, she made haste to come before David as he was literally on his way to avenge himself and his men by killing all of the men of her household.

Abigail’s Advantage

The traits Abigail displayed are typical of the average woman of strength—but she had a great advantage:

Abigail was reverent and fearful of God.

A stalwart, godly and humble example of a woman, Abigail is one from whom we can learn much. We can apply the characteristics she displayed with our families and in our relationships, which will serve us well.

Abigail’s Character Revealed

Abigail was generous – She prepared a tremendous gift: “Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. (Verses 18-19)

Abigail was humble – She bowed to David: “ … fell on her face before David” and apologized for coming to David in this manner: “Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant.” (Verses 23, 28)

Abigail was sacrificialShe took the blamefor her husband: “On me let this iniquity be!” (Verse 24)

Abigail was truthful She spoke the truth to David about her husband’s character: “Let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal … folly is with him!” (Verse 25)

Abigail was clever – She protected him from bloodshed: “ … since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and avenging yourself with your own hand.” (Verses 26)

Abigail was boldShe declared favor over him and offered the provisions he had sought: “Let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.” (Verse 26-27)

Abigail was godlyShe blessed him and prayed for him: “ … 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 your days. Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, 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 offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself …” (Verses 28-31)

Abigail was wise She sought goodwill for herself and thereby her household: “ … But when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.” (Verse 31)

Abigail’s Blessing

For having such character traits, Abigail was blessed tremendously. David took her advice and realized it was a blessing from God. After hearing that her husband died, this is what he did:

“ … And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife … Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, ‘Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.’  So Abigail rose in haste …” (Verses 39, 41-42)

True to character, Abigail did not hesitate to respond, followed David’s messengers and became the wife of a king.


To Ponder: What are your thoughts on Abigail’s character or the events of her story? I want to learn from you, too.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

A Ladder, a Sword and a Challenge

If I gave you a real sword, would you store it ‘safely’ away, or would you be curious enough to actually learn how to use it?

My Dream

Scene One – A Ladder

I was trying to get back to someplace but wasn’t certain which way to go. I became more and more concerned as time went on. I had to ask several people along the way. Seems as if sometimes I was driving and other times walking. At one point I had to climb a ladder to get to another level in a building.

Scene Two – A Sword

In scene two there was a little boy, African American, kinda chubby, maybe 10 years old. He had a class or some type of camp with other little boys to join. For some reason I was responsible for him, although I don’t believe he was my child. I took him to one of the class sessions, to which we arrived late. Consequently, the class had already started. I discovered that this particular class was a lesson on how to use swords. The kicker was that they were real! As we waited to enter the class, the instructor came out of the classroom and closed the door. Only the three of us were in the waiting room, and he gave the little boy his sword. It was still sheathed, thankfully, I thought. The boy began to walk around the room with it, saying random things, just sort of bouncing around and playing by himself, as kids do. He eventually settled in a particular corner on the opposite side of the room and stayed there, haphazardly handling the sword. I just watched him, still shocked that such young kids were given real swords to practice with. He didn’t realize that what he held was a potentially dangerous thing. I was quite concerned he may hurt himself or others and began to voice my concerns to the instructor.

Scene Three – A Challenge

Some other people and I were detectives or investigators — but with unusually high intellectual levels — and were tasked to find solutions to extremely difficult problems. We were presented with problem after problem, all seemingly impossible but somehow we would figure out the solution. It seems as if this part of the dream occurred over and over, quite a few times.

An Interpretation

To discover new levels of knowledge and understanding, we must first seek — research, learn, pray, ask, study. God’s word is no different. When reading it, we need to go deeper. If we come across a difficult passage, we should keep reading, investigate cross referenced scriptures and ask questions, with spiritual antennas at attention. We must search for the right ‘ladders’ upon which to climb. In this manner, we discern what God has to say to us, how we are to live and what we are to do.

Just like the little boy in my dream who didn’t realize the power in his hands, sometimes, we see God’s word — a sword to be used by His people — as something to place on a shelf, perhaps to ‘play’ with occasionally, but only briefly, not with passionate interest or pursuit.

Do you desire to be stagnant in your work life? In your personal life goals? I’m confident that most would answer, “No.” Your spiritual life should be no different. ” … By this time you ought to be teachers …” (Hebrews 5:12). In other words, if you have been a believer for a while, your spiritual knowledge and maturity should have grown such that you are able to teach. Just as a baby grows with time and no longer needs only milk but also solid food, your spiritual life should continually improve and be effective as you overcome challenges.

A Word

If I gave you a real sword, would you store it ‘safely’ away, or would you be curious enough to actually learn how to use it?

Once we get into a rhythm of spiritual growth, of ‘climbing’ upward and forward, we learn how to deal with certain circumstances and how to use the authority God gives us in His word. How are we to use this authority? By speaking the words He’s given us, declaring them over our lives. How did God create the world we live in? By speaking. Words really do matter.

In fact, when you speak God’s word, you are actually wielding a sword.

“God’s word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.”

Hebrews 4:12 (NCV)

We should master the art of the sword, the ongoing study of God’s word, so that we are fully equipped to know how and when to use it. With our sword in hand, we can thwart the enemy’s traps and free ourselves from the miry clay (Psalm 40:2). In short, we can receive healing for our souls and consequently affect major life change for ourselves, our families, and strangers, alike.

Like the investigators in Scene Three of my dream, we can find solutions to life’s most difficult challenges, for with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37 CJB). And if we are with Him, we have the supremely beneficial gift of His word, a sharp sword, glistening with power, ready for battle and poised for victory against all enemies. We just need to pick it up — and use it. Selah.