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What to Feed an Angry Man, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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June 16, 2022 7:05 am

What to Feed an Angry Man, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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June 16, 2022 7:05 am

David: A Man of Passion and Destiny

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Today, from Chuck Swindoll. Anger is a choice as well as a habit. Anger is probably a part of you that you don't like, and needless to say, neither does anyone else. It is a learned reaction to frustration in which you behave in ways that you would rather not.

You do not have to possess it, and it serves no purpose that has anything to do with being a happy, fulfilled person. When we open the Old Testament and read the ancient stories, we're quick to observe that human nature hasn't changed one bit. People are people, and our personal flaws tend to transcend generations of time. Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll invites us to observe David at one of the lowest moments in his life, when he fell into a fit of rage. Through his awkward response to conflict, we learn volumes about our own pitfalls and how to overcome them. Chuck titled today's message, What to Feed an Angry Man. Say have you ever had to deal with someone who's lost his temper? I mean, that person has really gone over the edge. Well, what do you do?

How do you handle that? In our study of David's life, we have come to 1 Samuel 25, where our friend David encounters the foolishness and the wrath of a man whose name was Nabal. Nabal, remember that name. Were it not for the cool-headed wisdom of Nabal's wife, whose name was Abigail, well, the consequences for David might have been catastrophic. I've chosen to read portions of this narrative from the message, so you may want to just listen, or if you want to follow along, I'll begin 1 Samuel 25, beginning at verse 2 from the message. There was a certain man in Mahon who carried on his business in the region of Carmel. He was very prosperous, 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats, and it was sheep-shearing time in Carmel. The man's name was Nabal, meaning fool, a Calebite, and his wife's name was Abigail.

The woman was intelligent and good-looking, the man brutish and mean. David, out in the backcountry, heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, and sent 10 of his young men off with these instructions. Go to Carmel and approach Nabal. Greet him in my name. Peace. Life and peace to you. Peace to your household. Peace to everyone here. I heard that it's sheep-shearing time. Here's the point. When your shepherds were camped near us, we didn't take advantage of them.

They didn't lose a thing all the time they were with us in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they'll tell you. What I am asking is that you be generous with my men. Share the feast. Give whatever your heart tells you to your servants and to me, David your son. David's young men went and delivered his message word for word to Nabal.

Nabal tore into them. Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? The country is full of runaway servants these days. Do you think I'm going to take good bread and wine and meat, freshly butchered for my sheep-shearers, and give it to men I've never laid eyes on?

Who knows where they've come from? David's men got out of there and went back and told David what he had said. David said, Strap on your swords. They all strapped on their swords, David and his men, and set out, 400 of them.

200 stayed behind to guard the camp. Meanwhile, one of the young shepherds told Abigail, Nabal's wife, what had happened. David sent messengers from the backcountry to salute our master, but he tore into them with insults. Yet these men treated us very well. They took nothing from us and didn't take advantage of us all the time we were in the fields. They formed a wall around us, protecting us day and night, all the time we were out tending the sheep. Do something quickly, because big trouble is ahead for our master and all of us. Nobody can talk to him.

He's impossible, a real brute. Abigail flew into action. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed out and ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes, and she had it all loaded on some donkeys. Then she said to her young servants, Go ahead and pave the way for me.

I'm right behind you. But she said nothing to her husband Nabal. As she was riding her donkey, descending into a ravine, David and his men were descending from the other end, so they met there on the road. David had just said, That sure was a waste guarding everything this man had out in the wild, so that nothing he had was lost, and now he rewards me with insults, a real slap in the face. May God do his worst to me if Nabal and every cur in his misbegotten brood aren't dead meat by morning.

As soon as Abigail saw David, she got off her donkey and fell on her knees at his feet, her face to the ground in homage, saying, My master, let me take the blame. Let me speak to you. Listen to what I have to say. Don't dwell on what that brute Nabal did. He acts out the meaning of his name.

Nabal, fool. Foolishness oozes from him. And now verse 30. When God completes all the goodness he has promised my master and sets you up as prince over Israel, my master will not have this dead weight in his heart, the guilt of an avenging murder. And when God has worked things for good for my master, remember me. And David said, Blessed be God, the God of Israel. He sent you to meet me, and blessed be your good sense. Bless you for keeping me from murder and taking charge of looking out for me, a close call. As God lives, the God of Israel who kept me from hurting you, if you had not come as quickly as you did, stopping me in my tracks, by morning there would have been nothing left of Nabal but dead meat.

Then David accepted the gift she brought him and said, Return home in peace. I've heard what you've said, and I'll do what you've asked. This is Insight for Living.

For resources designed to help you dig deeper into today's topic, go to And now Chuck Swindoll's message titled, What to Feed an Angry Man. One of the most debilitating problems that we wrestle with is the problem of anger. Part of the reason it is debilitating, paralyzing, is that it is so unpredictable. Almost happens before we know it. And when it does happen, it comes out in so many different faces. Sometimes it's just an irritation and it's a blurting out of a statement or a word you wish you hadn't said later on. Occasionally it comes out in such force that hostile actions are done. Sometimes settled with simply thoughts of severe plans to hurt someone.

Occasionally even the swing of a fist as we've seen lately in some of the professional world of athletics. Just a sudden burst and two hours later the fellow wishes like crazy he hadn't done it. Another reason it's debilitating is that it's so public. Anger before long goes public. It's on display. You just cannot hide it.

It's there for everybody to see. Of course the answer is self-control. But it's one thing to say it and it's another thing entirely to do it. Perhaps you've justified your anger by saying things like, well it's only human. Or if I don't express it then I'll store it up and have an ulcer. Listen, anger is probably a part of you that you don't like and needless to say neither does anyone else. Anger is not quote only human unquote.

You do not have to possess it and it serves no purpose that has anything to do with being a happy fulfilled person. Anger is a choice as well as a habit. It is a learned reaction to frustration in which you behave in ways that you would rather not. In fact severe anger is a form of insanity. You are insane when you are out of control of your behavior.

Therefore when you are angry and out of control you are temporarily insane. Now that doesn't sound like a biblical character, but you may be surprised to know that that describes the great man quoted more often in the New Testament than any other Old Testament character. The man whose biography is the longest of any Old Testament biography. His name is David. Remarkable man who has modeled patience for years under the spear of some Saul, who in 1 Samuel chapter 25 blows it and loses control and frankly for a period of time is temporarily insane. If it were not for a woman whom he had probably never met David would have been guilty of murder in the first degree.

Premeditated type. Look at the passage with me will you and let's get some background because you wouldn't grasp the problem if you didn't know how things worked in those days. Those days they didn't work in machine shops and electronic equipment places. Most people that were working out in the field were working with sheep. They were involved as shepherds.

They kept the flocks of sheep and the herds of goats that were owned by rich sheep and goat owners. In fact you will discover in this passage that the basic problem was one of labor. You'll discover that the basic conflict had to do with an employer-employee relationship. You'll find in this passage David the employee doesn't go on strike but he makes plans to kill his boss. Basically that's what happens.

Now let me lay it on you. The background of it is like this. David has just come out of a cave in chapter 22 called the Cave of Adullam. He has trained 600 men to be guerrilla fighters. The official fighting of Israel was done by the Israeli soldiers under Saul.

They fought the Philistines in full regalia, the full battle array, but David was behind the scenes fighting the wild tribes in the wilderness of Paran. He protected these shepherds from the attack of wild tribes. It was a common custom at the time that the sheep were sheared. The owner of the sheep would pull out a portion of the money, the profit that he made, and he would give it to the one who had protected his shepherds during the long period of time in which the shepherds were in the field needing protection. Now it's kind of like tipping a waitress. There is no written law saying you've got to do it, but if you're a grateful person after a good meal you tip the waitress.

At least you should. And in those days the owner would provide a remuneration to the one who protected his shepherds. In this case the man didn't do it. Now so much for David and his men. The situation with the sheep has to do with the fact that now they have come to sheep shearing time. See verse 4? David heard in the wilderness that Nabal, that's the boss, was shearing his sheep. So it's payday. It stands to reason that after David has done a faithful job that his men be provided with a remuneration for doing their work.

The problem is Nabal is a stingy man and he won't pay up. Let's get acquainted with him for a few minutes. Let me meet the main characters with you. It's kind of like a one-act play that unfolds in several scenes.

First the main characters. See in verse 2? There was a man in Mahon whose business was in Carmel. Right away that tells you he's probably got some bucks. In fact it says a little later the man was very rich. The Hebrew word is heavy, which means loaded. Nabal had a lot of money. He had a lot of sheep. He had a lot of goats. In fact it says he has 3,000 sheep and a thousand goats. He's a man of affluence.

He's got it made. Furthermore verse 3 tells us his name was Nabal. By the way it means fool.

How would you like to have that name? Fool. Now fool wasn't a person who was silly and mischievous. A fool was a person who said there is no God. He lived his life as though there were no God. Furthermore verse 3 tells us that the man was harsh.

See the last part of the verse? The man was harsh. The word means hard, stubborn, belligerent. Furthermore it says he was evil in his dealings. That means he was dishonest. He was demanding, deceptive, unfair. Now you might think that this fellow had a wife just like himself, but as a matter of fact he had just the opposite kind of a woman.

By the way that is occasionally the way it is. For some reason opposites attract. And that was never more true than in the case of this man. Look at his wife. You'll fall in love with her before we're through with the story. She's a remarkable gal. Verse 3 says that his wife's name was Abigail and it says that she had two characteristics that stood out. Number one, she was intelligent. Literally it means she had good understanding. She was wise.

Her decisions made good sense. She was governed not by her emotions but by good logical thinking. She was a keen thinking intelligent woman. Furthermore she was beautiful in appearance. Literally it says she had a beautiful form. She had a nice shape. She wasn't painful to look at. She was good looking and she was intelligent. It's a neat rare blend I might add. A marvelous woman who had both intelligence and beauty. Don't come to any conclusions.

I'm just telling you it's a rare blend. Furthermore there's a third character by the name of David. He's mentioned in verse 4. He's the guy that's been training his men to do this sort of self-appointed voluntary police work in the fields of Peran out there in the wilderness near Carmel. Okay in case you wonder if David's men were really doing a job, look at verse 15. This is a report that ultimately came back to the wife of this foolish man.

We'll get to it a little later but I want you to see right now. The men were very good to us. The men is a reference to David's men in the field. They were good to us. We were not insulted nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them so they weren't thieves. They didn't take what wasn't theirs while we were in the fields. They were a wall to us by night and by day. So they were faithful men. They had set up a regular regiment so they would be on the job morning, noon, night, 24 hours a day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep. That's quite a report. Cracker Jack troops who had done their job faithfully just like you at the office or just like you in the shop or wherever you're employed. This might very well fit your situation.

You're doing your job as best you can but unfortunately you might have an employer something like Nabal. Now let's notice how this thing began to unfold. There are some natural conflicts. The first conflict is implied in verse 3. It's a husband-wife conflict. The man's name was Nabal.

His wife's name was Abigail. We looked at them a moment ago. They are different in temperament. They are different in style of life. They are different in behavior. They are different in attitude.

They are different in philosophy. Two more different people ever got married. Now listen, in those days they didn't choose their husbands and wives. Mom and Dad did the choosing.

Sounds like a drag, doesn't it? Sometime it worked out beautifully as in the case of Isaac's wife, Rebecca. But sometime it backfired, humanly speaking. And Nabal and Abigail were declared husband and wife. And you better believe there were conflicts. Now what I want you to hear tonight is what the passage says not what you want to hear or what I want to tell you. I want you to notice how this woman handled that conflict with a belligerent, stubborn, hard, deceptive, dishonest husband because she was in a dilemma at a very unique moment in her life and she could have gone one way or another. It's interesting how she chose to go.

Now the next conflict is the employer employee. Beginning at verse 5, when it was sheep shearing time, David sent ten young men. David said to the young men, go up to Carmel. Visit Nabal and greet him in my name. Thus you shall say, have a long life. Peace be to you, peace be to your house, peace be to all that you have. Shalom, shalom, shalom. It's a greeting of greatness. Great hearted David says, shalom Nabal. May your tribe, may your flocks, may your profit increase.

Enjoy the goodness of life. A very gracious greeting from this guy out in the field. So they were told what to say. Verse 7, now I have heard that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us.

We have not insulted them nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, they'll tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes for we have come on a festive day.

Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David. Sort of like when the bell boy takes your baggage up to the tenth floor and you stand with the door and he opens it and sets it in and he does this. He's saying if you accept my services, I'd like a tip and he won't leave.

You'll slam the door in his hand before he'll leave. He'll wait until you give him a tip, some kind. It was an ordinary gracious custom for the boss to remunerate in some way the services.

Nothing written as to how much but it was a gracious act. It's interesting David didn't go. He didn't intimidate. He didn't pull rank.

He didn't presume on Nabal. He just sent 10 men and said gather up what he brings. Maybe it'll be a load of lambs. Maybe it'll be money.

Whatever. We'll take what he sends. We've only begun to hear this remarkable story about David's offer to Nabal.

As the story unfolds we'll see that David's good intentions backfired. You're listening to Insight for Living. Chuck Swindoll titled today's message, What to Feed an Angry Man. Please stick around because we'll hear a closing comment from Chuck in just a moment.

To learn more about this ministry, be sure to visit us online at Let me remind you that Chuck wrote a biography on the life of King David. It's called David, a Man of Passion and Destiny. In the early days David was known for his integrity and courage but later in life David made some regrettable mistakes. Even so God maintained his affection for David. It's a beautiful story of forgiveness and redemption. And woven throughout David's remarkable life are timeless lessons useful for anyone who's willing to apply them. This is the overarching theme that's woven throughout Chuck's biography on David.

It's a great choice for summertime reading. To purchase a copy of Chuck's biography on David give us a call. If you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888 or go online to slash offer. Here's Chuck. Thanks Bill. Perhaps it goes without saying that we're living in chaotic times. The headlines are filled with alarming news about inflation rates, innocent families threatened by rogue nations, and the unsettling aftermath of a global pandemic. Amidst these distractions my hope and my prayer is that Insight for Living has become a calming oasis for you and for many others. By design this is a place that dispenses the life-changing truth of the Bible. Our daily focus is vertical not horizontal. We look upward for our answers not outward. This is a place where God's wisdom not human wisdom reigns supreme. And it's all made possible because people just like you give voluntary donations.

That's the truth. People just like you make it happen. On June the 30th Insight for Living Ministries will close the accounting books on another financial year. The goal we need to reach for June is enormous but we know that our God is great. He will supply our every need and he will do that through his people who give generously.

People again just like you. So please as we give our contact information take a note and then give us a call or perhaps you wish to go online or even address a letter. As someone who gives to Insight for Living Ministries you personally play a major role in providing a calming oasis in chaotic times. So ahead of time even before your gift comes I want to say thank you so much. Thanks Chuck and here's how to respond. You can give online at slash donate or if you prefer give us a call. If you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888.

That's 800-772-8888. Rest assured that your gift no matter what the size truly makes a difference. You can be encouraged by this brief note from a grateful listener who said I was headed in the wrong direction before following Jesus arrested twice and participating in all the vices. But thanks to Insight for Living I changed my family tree for at least this generation and the next. Thank you for all you've done for millions around the world.

Isn't that beautiful? It's your contributions that make comments like this possible. Once again just give us a call. If you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888 or you can give online at slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his message called What to Feed an Angry Man. That's Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message What to Feed an Angry Man was copyrighted in 1978, 1988, 1997 and 2009 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R Swindoll Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-04 15:24:48 / 2023-04-04 15:34:08 / 9

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