"There was a certain man in Maon who carried on his business in the region of Carmel. He was very prosperous - three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and it was sheep-shearing time in Carmel. The man's name was Nabal (Fool), a Calebite."
I Samuel 25: 1-3, The Message
"Nabal the Fool"
"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
What does the word "fool" mean to me?
How would I describe "foolish" behavior?
"There is this difference between happiness and wisdom: he that thinks himself the happiest man, really is so; but he that thinks himself the wisest is generally the greatest fool."
Charles Caleb Colton
"Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise…There is no fool so great as the knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
I find the Bible absolutely fascinating. After reading a story like the one we have just begun about David, Nabal, and Abigail, I find myself thinking that the treasures we find in the Scriptures are so much more valuable than any earthly gems. If we were to make it a daily practice to absorb God's word into our lives, we could prevent ourselves from having so much sorrow and heartache. Even more, we would keep ourselves from falling into folly's pit.
Today, in I Samuel 25, we are introduced to a man named Nabal. What I find extremely interesting is that before we are even told this person's name, we get to take a look at his financial ledger. What this tells me is that the writer of I Samuel was trying to make a point about Nabal and the life he chose to live. Nabal was considered by society a "great" and very "rich" and powerful man. He owned a great deal of livestock which at that point in time was a measure of a person's success.
Now let me ask you a question. If someone you meet for the first time were a very wealthy person, what would be your immediate assumption about this person? Do you think, right off the bat, you'd call them a fool? I doubt it. I wouldn't. I'd figure they were a hard worker and had made some wise financial decisions along the way. Or possibly, I might think they came from a wealthy family and had inherited their money. I seriously doubt the first thought out of my head after hearing about Nabal's wealth would be, "This guy is a fool!"
But interestingly enough, right after listing all the "things" that made Nabal appear successful in the eyes of others, the Bible declares he was a "fool." In fact, the word "fool" is the meaning of Nabal's name.
He may have had all the "things" in the world but something huge was lacking.
If we read down through I Samuel 25 we find those who knew Nabal best, like his wife Abigail who lived with him, called her husband, "a son of Belial." And in I Samuel 25: 3 we find this description: "But the man was curlish and evil in his doings."
I want to go to a statement written in Psalm 14: 1, (K.J.V.). This particular Psalm was penned by David and I wonder if it was his experience with Nabal which gave him heavenly insight as to what defines a person as a "fool." This is what David said, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." The Message Bible paraphrases Psalm 14: 1 this way: "Bilious and bloated, they gas, ‘God is gone.'" I want to continue with the words of Psalm 14 from The Message Bible. Speaking of ‘fools," those who say God isn't present, this is how the Bible says they talk: "Their words are poison gas, fouling the air; they poison rivers and skies…God looks around. He's looking for someone not stupid…just one God-ready woman…will evil doers never learn - those who devour my people…and who do not call on the Lord? There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous."
Somewhere along the line in his life, Nabal decided that God was "gone." He didn't need God. He had himself. He had his wealth. He had his things - and that was all he needed.
You see, a fool is a person who chooses evil over righteousness. A fool is a person who believes their knowledge makes them wise enough to figure out what to do and when to do it. But most importantly, a fool is a person who says, "I don't need God, I can do it myself." And what a dangerous mistake for any of us to make.
Unfortunately, if I am totally honest and look closely at my own life, I have to admit there have been times when I thought I could handle things just fine thank you. And that made me a fool, too. Just like Nabal who thought what he knew and what he had could get him through. He didn't need anything else but himself.
May we follow the wonderful advice of Matthew Henry, "Whatever you do, begin with God." And I'll add to this thought my own. "Begin with God, stay with God and end with God."
"He formed the stars, those heavenly flames,
He counts their numbers, calls their names;
His wisdom's vast, and knows no bound,
A deep where all our thoughts are drowned."
"My God - My Choice"
"Thou hidden love of God, whose height,
Whose depth unfathomed no man knows.
I see from far their beauteous light,
Inly I sigh for they repose;
My heart is pained, nor can it be
At rest, till it finds rest in thee.
The secret voice invites me still,
The sweetness of thy yoke to prove:
And fain I would: but though my will
Seems fixed, yet wide my passions rove;
Yet hindrances strew all the way;
I aim at thee, yet from thee stray.
‘Tis mercy all, that thou hast brought
My mind to seek her peace in thee;
Yet while I seek, but find thee not,
No peace my wandering soul shall see;
O when shall all my wanderings end,
And all my steps to thee-ward tend!...
O Love, thy sovereign aid impart,
To save me from low-thoughted care:
Chase this self-will through all my heart.
Through all its latent mazes there:
Make me thy duteous child, that I
Ceaseless may Abba, Father, cry!...
Each moment draw from earth away
My heart that lowly waits thy call:
Speak to my inmost soul, and say,
I am thy love, thy God, thy all!
To feel thy power, to hear thy voice.
To taste thy love, be all my choice."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.