"As she (Abigail) rode on her donkey, she came down hidden by the mountain, and behold, David and his men came down opposite her, and she met them. Now David had said, ‘Surely in vain have I protected all that this fellow (Nabal) has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has repaid me evil for good. May God do so, and more also, to David if I leave of all who belong to (Nabal) one male alive by morning. When Abigail saw David, she hastened and lighted off the donkey, and fell before David on her face and did obeisance."
I Samuel 25: 20 - 23, Amplified Bible
"The Security of Humility"
"It is always the secure who are humble."
G. K. Chesterton
What does the word "humility" mean to me?
"An able yet humble (woman) is a jewel worth a kingdom."
"Swallowing of pride seldom leads to indigestion."
David was indignant. To believe he had put himself out for someone as ungrateful as Nabal made his blood boil. Rather than thinking there might be a way to bring healing between himself and Nabal, David, along with 400 soldiers rode off to defend their manhood and show Nabal who was in charge.
While Nabal was a nasty man, I don't find anything to admire in David's immediate response either. Without thinking, he flew into a huff, grabbed a sword and threatened to kill the innocent men who worked for Nabal. Men who had not been part of the insult that offended David. Innocents paying for the sins of the master. It happens all the time. What's even worse, David called on God to come after him if he didn't carry out his plan to wipe out the camp of Nabal. I imagine David didn't take time to reflect that God is the one who lets the sun rise on the evil and good alike. And that it is our heavenly Father who is not "willing that any should perish" but ALL come to Him.
Without a thought that included bringing the two men together, David road off with murder on his mind.
However, there's a bright light coming for in I Samuel 25: 23, we are told, "When Abigail saw David, she hastened and lighted off the donkey and fell before David on her face and did obeisance."
There are four specific points I want to identify from this text.
Point 1: Abigail "hastened." Once this intelligent woman "knew" and "considered" the situation, she didn't sit around twiddling her thumbs or wringing her hands. When her plan was developed, she swung into action immediately. I love this about Abigail! She understood there wasn't a moment to spare so she moved quickly. She wasn't a time-waster!
Point 2: Abigail got off or "lighted off" her donkey. As a woman, she had every right to make David come to her. Actually, tradition dictated that the man would come to her. But in a crisis, Abigail understood lives were at stake and she wasn't going to waste one second acting as though she were standing her ground. She'd make the first move. Let me tell you, when trying to bring harmony, it never hurts to make the first move to bring peace!
Point 3: Abigail "fell" before David. Some might think this was a demeaning thing for a woman to do. I don't see it that way at all. This was a brilliant move on Abigail's part. She wanted there to be no way for David to mistake what was on her mind and heart so she used her ability to bow to, as the Hebrew says, "pay homage." By her action of bowing, Abigail was showing David respect, which I might add, was not what he received from Nabal but was exactly what he wanted to receive.
Point 4: Abigail did "obeisance." This is a word which not only means respect, but also deference. Sometimes women and men alike don't like the word "deference" for it means submitting to another's wishes, desires and judgments. In a day when the call is frequently, "I am woman hear me roar," there are times when with heavenly wisdom, deference gets us a lot further down the road. But hold on men, "deference" is a two-way street, for there are times that God's sons need to learn the gift of deferring just as much as women, for this is not a quality that has a gender associated with it.
Wat Abigail did in this moment of crisis, when lives were literally hanging in the balance, was to get all the facts, consider the situation, move with haste, make known her intent, show respect, and act in deference to the one who was angry, David.
Abigail, knowing that a volcano was about to erupt, didn't worry about who had the right of way, instead she acted the right way!
What a woman and what a lesson for you and me. Augustine wrote many years ago that "The proud hilltops let the rain run off; the lowly valleys are richly watered." If you want to be a lush fertile valley, then never fear bowing low, for those who are secure enough to bow down, are those whose lives will be watered to overflowing. No wonder the Bible calls Abigail intelligent for as Jeremy Collier notes, "Humility is the hallmark of wisdom." And the life of Abigail certainly shows us this is true.
"I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other and that the taller we grew in Christian character the more easily we could reach them. I now find that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower."
F. B. Meyer
"O Father, give us the humility which
Realizes its ignorance,
Admits its mistakes
Recognizes its need,
Help us always
To praise rather than to criticize,
To sympathize rather than to condemn.
To encourage rather than to discourage,
To build rather than to destroy,
And to think of people at their best
Rather than at their worst.
This we ask for Thy name'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.