Today, an amazing story of God's ability to solve an impossible problem.
We'll be right back to It's Supernatural! For the peacemaker, there's a lot to learn from this volatile scene. We're looking at 1 Samuel chapter 25.
Chuck titled his message, What to Feed an Angry Man. The sheep out in the field were working with sheep. They were involved as shepherds. And 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. 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 look at the conflict. Verse 9. When David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David's name. Then they waited. They waited for the money.
They didn't get any. Nabal answered David's servants and said, Who is David? Verse 12. David's young men retraced their way and went back, and they came and told him according to all these words. Verse 13.
Very interesting response. David said to his men, Each of you gird on his sword. Now you don't put on a sword to have a discussion.
I want to point that out right away. Each man girded on his sword. David also girded on his sword. And about 400 men went up behind David while 200 stayed with the baggage.
So he's got 400 guys coming down the hill. Verse 13. Verse 14. One of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned them. Now, therefore, know and consider what you should do.
Look at 18. Abigail hurried and took 200 loaves of bread, two jugs of wine, five sheep already prepared, five measures of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisin, 200 cakes of figs, and loaded them on the donkeys. Now just picture this. David coming down the hill. The only thing louder than the horse's hoof is his stomach rolling down the hills, stomach growling, hungry.
I want to emphasize that again. Verse 20. Came about as she was riding on her donkey, coming down by the hidden part of the mountain.
Behold, David and his men were coming down toward her, so she met them. Three things stand out in this thing, in this account of her. Number one, her tact. Number two, her faith. Number three, her loyalty.
I note each one as we kind of unroll it here. She fell on her face to the ground. Look at her tact. She says, calls herself your maidservant six times and calls David my lord eight times.
Well, she had faith. She says, David, I'm looking at the next king. Don't mark your record with a murder. You're bigger than that, David. You have been wrong, but murder isn't the answer. Wait. Wait, David. Take what I provided and turn around and go back.
When the Lord shall deal well with my lord, then remember your maidservant. Oh, what a statement. What a plea.
This is a good point to pause and bring out something that maybe is just a sidelight issue, but it stood out in my mind. When you're faced with critical decisions, sometime you've got to do something very creative. Nabal's life hung in the balance. Depending on how short David's fuse was, would be how long Nabal would live, she saw that. She decided it will take a lot of food and a pleading comment from me to turn that man's heart. And I'm sure along the way she prayed.
Speaking of creative ways to handle crisis, Jesus Makes Me Laugh is a book by David Reading, and in it he tells the story of a man named Roy Kelly. Roy was informed two years ago that he had terminal cancer. He and his wife went home to cry. To die.
Should they keep it a secret? They prayed. Now let me interject. You're going to be hearing something that will cause you not quite to know how to respond. So don't feel you've got to respond one way or another.
Just hear it. Talk about a creative way to handle a crisis. They prayed. The answer was that they should play.
P-L-A-Y. Play about it. So they decided to put on a big party. They invited all their friends.
During the festivities, Roy held up his hand to make an announcement. Hey, you may have wondered why I called all of us together. This is a cancer party. I've been told I have terminal cancer. Then my wife and I realized we're all terminal. We decided to start a new organization.
It's called MTC. Make Today Count. You're all charter members.
Since that time, the organization has grown across America. Roy has been too busy to die. Pointing out the way we Christians can handle the jaws of death, singing, loving, not losing one minute from the joy the world cannot give nor take away. If that offends you, I'm sorry. But for most of you, I think you get the point. You will be faced with crises in life, and the standard garden variety answer is to sort of tuck your tail between your legs, run into a corner, let cobwebs form on you as you sort of die. But there is a better way. As long as you have breath in your lungs, you have a purpose for living. You have a reason to exist. No matter how bad that track record might have been marked by disobedience and compromise through most of your life, tonight you're alive, tonight you're existing. And God says there's a reason. And I'm willing to do creative things through you to put you back on your feet. You can lick your wounds if that's your choice, but there's a better way. I love the way he called it.
Make today count. Now that's what this woman has done with this crisis. She just says, remember your maidservant when the tide turns in your life.
That's all I ask. Ah, David. Oh, what a guy. David said to Abigail, blessed be the Lord God of Israel who sent you this day to meet me. Tell me why God chose David as a man after his own heart. That teachable spirit to a woman he never met. He's got a sword ready to be unsheathed. And he looks at this woman and he listens and he changes his entire demeanor. Talk about a man after God's heart.
That's one of the reasons. Willing to change. May God forever keep us flexible and teachable. Someone has a word and season for a blind spot in our lives and we're the dummies if we ignore them.
She loved him too much to let him do that. Blessed be your discernment. By the way, discernment, like the Scottish people say, is better felt than tellt. People will feel it. You don't have to tell them you've got it.
It just sort of oozes out. Blessed be you who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. Verse 35, David received from her hand what she had brought him. He said to her, go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request. Fantastic. Abigail goes back and her husband puts his arm around her and says, honey, thanks, you're a great woman.
No, I wish it said that. Some of you hurt because your experience recently has been just like Abigail's. You did what was right.
You protected a person who was in the wrong and you got shafted. See, verse 36, Abigail came to Nabal and behold, he was holding a feast in his house. Like the feast of a king. And Nabal's heart was merry within him for he was very drunk. Thanks a lot. I come home from pouring out my soul as I stand between you and death and this is the thanks I get. No, it doesn't say that. It simply says she did not tell him anything at all until the morning light.
What character. She just sort of turned in, pulled up the covers, went to sleep. I'm sure she poured out her heart to God and got things squared away between herself and the Lord realizing she may never know what it is like to have a husband that encourages her. Guys, one of our greatest ministries with our wives is the ministry of consistent encouragement. That's part of honoring her as a choice vessel. Pointing out to her the strengths of character and saying on a regular basis, thank you.
Thank you for that. She didn't have it. Next morning, verse 37, everybody else's prayer was answered. It came about in the morning when the wine had gone out of Nabal that his wife told him these things and his heart died within him. He became as a stone. He had a stroke. She told him and he listened to the story of how 401 guys were on the way to cut off his head and he just sort of went... and he got really still. His eyes got glazed and ten days later, verse 38, it happened.
The Lord struck Nabal and he died. Isn't it amazing when you do what is right without tiring of it? God takes care of the impossible things. When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. There is no impossible situation that God cannot handle.
He won't handle it necessarily your way, but he'll handle it. And seeing her faithfulness, he let her spend a night depending on him and shortly thereafter, she buried her husband. The next verse, like a fairy tale. When David heard Nabal was dead... Good old David. Blessed be the Lord! Only a man would see that in the passage, huh? Blessed be the Lord who pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, kept back his servant from evil. The Lord has returned the evil doing of Nabal on his own head. Boy, did David learn a lesson? I don't have to fight that kind of battle. That's God's job. He can zap them. He needs that on his record.
I don't need it on my record. David sent a proposal to Abigail to take her as his wife. David's okay.
My kind of guy. When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying, David sent us to you to take you as his wife. Look at her response.
Look at the romanticism in me that comes out right now. She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, behold, your servant is a maid to wash the feet of my Lord's servants. That's the kind of wife to get.
I'm just joking, you guys. 42. Abigail quickly arose. Tell me she wasn't ready for a man to love her.
She arose and rode on a donkey with five maidens who attended her, and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife. Wow. Oh, man, what a wedding that must have been. Good night.
I'm sure they called it New Wilderness of Peran, something like a miraculous marriage. Well, two things hang in my head when I close the book with you. First of all is this. Whatever you do when conflicts arise, be wise. Be wise. If you're not careful, you will handle conflicts in the flesh, and then you'll be sorry.
What do I mean by being wise? Well, first of all, I mean see the whole picture. Fight against falling into a rut and seeing only your side. Look at both sides.
If you need a counselor, get counsel on it because a counselor helps you to see both sides. There are always two sides on those conflict streets, always. Look at both sides. Another part of being wise is restrain yourself from anything hasty. If at all possible you could put on the brakes, put on the brakes.
Slow down. I've seldom made wise decisions in a hurry. By the way, I've never felt sorry for things I didn't say. Your tendency will be to say something in a hurry and you shouldn't have said it.
You wish you could reach in their heads and pull it out again. The third thing you can do in being wise is to pray. Get God's perspective.
If it takes a while, get his perspective. Be wise. Wisdom only seldom acts in a hurry, only seldom. The second thing I want to point out in this is whenever you realize that there's nothing you can do, wait. Wait.
Impossible impasses call for breaks. Don't keep going. God made it impossible to stop you so that you would wait on him. Psalm 40, I waited patiently for the Lord. He inclined unto me and heard my cry.
He lifted me up out of the muck of the mire and he put my feet on the rock and established my going. Psalm 40 never does say that David's situation changed. It says David changed.
When you wait, your situation may not change, but you will. I suppose there's no greater model of what it means to alter your lifestyle in a crisis situation than Elizabeth Elliot. One biographer writes, She was introduced to the world through an inexplicable tragedy. Her young husband, Jim, and his missionary colleagues were killed by a tribe of Alca Indians in Ecuador, a tribe to whom they had hoped to minister in the name of Christ. While the world was numb from this heartbreaking massacre, Elizabeth Elliot seized it as an opportunity for the love of God. She and her little child, a daughter, walked back into the jungle to live with these Stone Age savages who had murdered her husband and her friends. When the history of this century is written, with its unprecedented spectaculars in space and its overwhelming wars, I do not believe they will overshadow this young widow's act of faith, patience, and courage.
It was not simply an act of courtesy. She stayed until the months became years, and those savages became her kinsmen. She was not the stereotype of the presumptuous missionary, but actually bending susceptible minds to her beliefs and culture. She became one of them. She learned to respect them for the virtues they possessed, but we only profess. I get this last line.
The convert she made, she said, may have been herself. You will be amazed when you wait. You may discover that the reason for waiting was all for your benefit, because you're the one that maybe needed the change. Let's bow. Let's bow together.
Oh, this is tough stuff. I know that as we close our eyes and talk to God about what we've heard, a lot of you are feeling, oh, you can only know my situation. Well, friend, I don't think I'd change a thing regardless of what your situation is, because I know it's biblical to be wise, and it's always biblical when we get to impossible places to wait.
Just wait. The waiting itself is wise. For some of you, it might mean finding Jesus Christ, receiving him by faith as your personal Savior.
Did you get the analogy in the story? Like Abigail, Jesus Christ met the God of wrath at Calvary. With the feast of his own blood and body, he became our mediator, and God accepted the gift and therefore will accept the sinner who believes. God is satisfied with that offering Christ made. If you've never met Jesus Christ, this is your moment to open your heart to him, receive him like you would receive a gift from a father as a child.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. Now, for some, it's more a matter of applying the Christian virtues that you've heard about tonight. Patience, teachability, gentleness, self-control, all of that sort of comes to bear this new week, as you might face a situation much like this. We read in your word, our Father, that we are the clay and you are the potter. There are a number of times in our life when we would like to change roles with you. We would wish that you were the clay and we are the potter. But then we would build a monster and we would give vent to all kinds of carnal and stupid and ugly decisions based on the flesh and our own humanity rather than trusting you, the potter, to pull it off your way. I simply ask you to have your way, just have your way, Lord.
We're available and we're waiting on you to do that. We ask for Jesus' sake. Amen. As you listen today, maybe you identified with Abigail who was trying to diffuse a man's rage. Or perhaps you saw yourself in David whose anger was out of control. Whatever the case, there's relevant application for us all. Chuck Swindoll titled today's message, What to Feed an Angry Man.
And there's another illustration coming up in just a moment, so please stay with us. You're listening to Insight for Living. To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. Even though the people we meet in the Bible were imperfect and flawed, just as we are, their stories of redemption give us hope.
Along those lines, we received an encouraging note from one of your fellow listeners who spent her entire career in the criminal court system. Even though she faithfully attended church as a girl, this woman said, I had become complacent in my faith. And then, after some significant events in her life, she added, I discovered Insight for Living on the internet as a guide to help me understand the relevancy of the Bible. Chuck, you make me understand God's word better than I have in my life.
Thank you. Well, this is the very reason this ministry exists. It's our mission to help people discover the meaning and relevance of the Bible. Because we can't overcome our daily struggles without God's help.
And you can take advantage of the vast assortment of Bible study tools, just as this woman did, by going to insight.org. Here's Chuck. Thanks, Bill. Okay, for a moment, picture this. Imagine walking on a pair of crutches down an open sidewalk. All of a sudden, someone kicks your crutches, making you fall to the ground. Somewhat miffed, you look back at the perpetrator, and to your surprise, it's none other than God. Alright, alright.
I realize that's an unpleasant picture. Nevertheless, that's really how God works at times. All of us rely on crutches.
We are leaners by design. But in reality, only one crutch can give us the true support we need. So, why does God remove our crutches? Well, David gives us a clue, remember? One by one, God kicked his crutches away.
Good position? Gone. His wife? Gone. Homeland? Gone. His friend, Jonathan?
Gone. Here's the point. David needed to feel the pain of leaning on anything other than God. So he could then feel the stability of leaning on nothing other than God.
It saddens me that so many of us lean on shaky crutches. And for that reason, day after day, Insight for a Living invites our global audience to take God's hand and lean wholly on Him. So, as we approach the end of another ministry year, will you join me in helping others depend on the stabilizing support of Jesus Christ alone? The Lord has been generous to us this year, and we believe He will continue to bless our efforts through the generosity of people just like you.
So, let me hear from you today, okay? Together, let's help others lean on Jesus. He's all sufficient. Jesus Christ is all we need. I'm Bill Meyer.
Join us when Chuck Swindoll describes what he calls, Cloudy Days, Dark Nights, Tuesday 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.
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