"And so (Abigail) told (Nabal) nothing at all until the morning light."
I Samuel 25: 36, Amplified Bible
"Speaking In The Light of Day"
"Sometimes too much talk can kill a thing."
Has there been a time in my life when I spoke too soon and said too much?
What have I learned regarding the use of my speech?
"God gave you two eyes, two ears and one mouth. So you should watch and listen twice as much as you talk."
Lynne Alpern and Esther Blumenfeld
"Talking almost always smothers thinking."
In the year 1948, the Ladies' Home Journal ran an article by Marcelene Cox who asked this interesting question about "speech." "Why is it," she inquired, "that when anything goes without saying, it never does?" She's got a point. It seems to me, I often talk too much! How about you?
The reason I think her observation is quite amusing is that I have found in my own life, the old saying, "the less said, the better," has rung true most frequently. It isn't usually not saying something which gets me in trouble, instead, it's saying too much and at the wrong time.
This is why I Samuel 25: 36 is so instructional. Especially the last phrase, "And so (Abigail) told (Nabal) nothing at all until the morning light." What this passage highlights again is the discretion and wisdom implanted in the life of Abigail.
Arriving home, having saved her drunken husband and all his workers from certain death, I'm sure Abigail would have enjoyed sharing the story of her successful venture with someone. But unfortunately, all she found were a bunch of drunks, cavorting around in merriment, totally unaware of the heroism she had shown.
At this point in time, Abigail, in my opinion, had every right to blow her stack. She could have given Nabal a huge dressing down and I don't believe you would disagree at all that he would have deserved every hostile word she hurled his way.
But instead of launching a verbal attack, the Bible is clear, Abigail chose to say, "Nothing at all." Not one word. And I want to focus on this strategy for one moment, because it is critical, especially in relationships. It is usually the first word that comes out of our mouths that sets the tone for what follows.
While the Bible doesn't tell us if Abigail were mad at Nabal. As a woman, I'm going to tell you I would have been. Furious might be the word I'd use. I'll be honest, had I said even one word, it would likely have unleashed a dam of words and before you knew it, a flood of verbal assaults would have been the end result. I know this to be true because I've had this scenario happen. I've thought or intended to say just "one little thing" and before you know it, something else slips out and then you are off to the races. In fact, I had this happen to me just a few days ago. I was irritated at a situation where I didn't feel I was being treated fairly. In a moment when I was stressed and over-tired, (not a good excuse!), I said one little thing and in a second, I found myself in the quicksand of a nasty conflict with words being thrown around like poison arrows.
What would the solution have been? I contend it is found in the behavior of Abigail who chose to say, "Nothing at all."
She waited until she had cooled off. But something else happened, too. The Bible tells us Abigail said nothing until, "the light of day."
Many years ago, I was talking with my father, whose level-headed advice I miss to this very day. I was challenged by a difficult problem at work and after a long day I began to go over the details of the situation with my dad on the phone. He wisely offered this perspective, "Dorothy-girl (His nickname for me), why don't you wait until tomorrow to try and sort this out. You're tired. You've worn yourself out thinking about this situation. Remember, this problem will look different in the light of day."
Abigail waited to speak until "the light of day." This gave her time to regroup. To calm down. To think things through. And what's more, to let the drink wear off the men. Rather than interrupt the reveling, Abigail let everyone sleep-off the activities of the night before until she said one word.
King Solomon, in Proverbs 25: 11, likens the discretion of speaking words at the right time or in "due season" to apples of gold in settings of silver." He's correct! Until the light of day shown beaming rays upon the situation, Abigail kept her mouth shut! Not one word squeaked out.
You and I would be wise to follow her example. Let our speech be wisely considered and may the words out of our mouths reflect the light of heaven. As Ambrose Bierce correctly noted, "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret."
"If you are to be self-controlled in your speech you must be self-controlled in your thinking."
"O God, I know that my temper is far too quick.
I know only too well how liable I am to flare up, and to say things for which afterwards I am heartily sorry.
I know only too well that sometimes in anger I do things which in my calmer moments I would never have done…
O God, help me. Help me to think before I speak. When I feel that I am going to blaze out, help me to keep quiet just for a moment or two, until I get a grip of myself again.
Help me to remember that you are listening to everything I say, and seeing every thing I do.
O God, control me…this I ask for Your love's sake."
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.