Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Hi, I'm Megan Hoffer, and I want to invite you to check out another show brought to you by the Salvation Army. Heartbeat is a one-minute show about real life. Heartbeat touches on topics ranging from finances and prayer to dating and mental health.
If money is important to God, then it should be important to us. Recently, I began feeling like my life was on autopilot. The alarm goes off. Get ready for work.
Battle the morning commute. If you are looking for a short message of hope to challenge you and brighten up your day, subscribe to Heartbeat wherever you get your podcasts or visit salvationarmysoundcast.org. Welcome back to Words of Life. It's good to see you, Cheryl. Good to see you, Bernie. Man, it's the end of June already.
I cannot believe it. Time is flying by. Are you ready? Are you ready for the summer? I am ready for the summer. Good.
We hope you are too. Today, we're launching a new 12-week series with Lieutenant Colonel Helen Starrett. If the last name sounds familiar, earlier this year, her husband, Dan Starrett, did a series studying the 11 doctrines of the Salvation Army. In this series with Helen, she will be studying 12 women in the Bible whose incredible stories are perfect examples of how God uses the ordinary to do extraordinary things. In week one, we study Abigail's story.
Welcome. I'm Lieutenant Colonel Helen Starrett, and I am delighted to be able to share with you stories of ordinary women in the Bible who become extraordinary to do God's purposes. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded a song entitled, I Second That Emotion. Often, we become twisted up. Think of the times you played the game Twister in our emotions. I hope during this series, you will come to realize that God is in charge of our emotions and can help us when we feel hopeless and twisted. Over the course of these next few weeks, we will look at some extraordinary women of the Bible. These women found themselves twisted with emotions and learned life lessons that still apply to our lives today. Ordinary women become extraordinary when they allow God to use them for His will. The women we will study give us a lasting legacy of faithfulness to the Lord. Some of these women may seem very ordinary, but they are truly extraordinary. We will meet these women as if they are characters in modern day media.
Movie stars, actresses, TV stars, models. Each week, I hope to engage your imagination to help us learn God's lesson for our own life's drama. To that end, I will share the scripture reference, but you will not find a verse-to-verse explanation. In any Bible study, we must believe God's word by faith, except that it is true.
Studying and meditating on His word builds our faith and allows God to work in our lives. This week we open with the Bible's version of Beauty and the Beast. The scripture reference is 1 Samuel 25.
Once upon a time, the fairy tale begins. Right before we meet Abigail, David and his men had been chased all over the desert by Saul and his army. At one point, David and his men found Saul asleep in a cave. David's men were thrilled and his men hoped that David would kill Saul. Instead, David entered the cave and cut off a part of Saul's coat.
He realized that he could not kill Saul and ordered his men to leave the cave quietly. Outside the cave, David called to Saul to come out and showed him the piece of his coat. Saul, realizing how close he had come to death, begged David not to kill him or his descendants when David became king. David promised and then returned to the wilderness with his men.
In a sense, he became an outlaw. The men and David ended up in an area where Nabal was preparing to shear his 3,000 sheep. He and his men were hungry and desperate for provisions. David and his men had protected Nabal's shepherds and sheep, so David felt he could ask for some food from Nabal. He sent 10 of his men to Carmel to request a share of Nabal's harvest as a reward for David's service to his men. Nabal is the wicked husband.
He was insulting and demonstrates his true nature. He said he did not know who David was and sent David's men back to him, saying, No. David's reaction is anger, frustration, and mostly care for his men. His immediate reaction was, Get your sword. He takes 400 of his men and sets off to destroy Nabal and everything he has. And now the princess peacemaker enters. We meet the beauty. One of Nabal's young men, who knew disaster was about to come to Nabal's household, runs to Abigail to tell her what's happening.
Wouldn't it have been fun to hear this conversation? How stupid can Nabal be? David and his men protected us and the sheep, and all they want is some food. This is where wisdom and determined action need to partner. Abigail knew what would happen if she did not take action. She was brave, and in spite of what Nabal would say, she moves quickly and puts together provisions to take care of David's men. So, as Abigail is riding her donkey, she came over a hill, and as she was coming down on the side of the ravine, David and his men were coming toward her. They can see that she's bringing provisions.
It's a peace offering. When Abigail saw David and his men, she immediately got off her donkey and fell on her face before David and bowed down to the ground. Abigail now becomes the intercessor and mediator. She points to herself as being different than her husband. She points out that she did not see David's men.
If she had, things might have been different. She accepts full responsibility for the impending disaster. Abigail pleads with David and gives him wise counsel, convincing him that murdering Nabal is a bad idea. We see instant gratitude, first to God and then to Abigail. David recognizes the hand of God in this situation. He praises this wise woman for acting, which will stop innocent bloodshed.
Except for her intervention, the obliteration of Nabal and his household would surely be the result. She stands in the gap, protecting both parties. Her decisive action allows life to continue. David accepts the provisions from Abigail and instructs her to go home in peace.
There's nothing to fear. The debt is paid. Abigail returns home and finds Nabal throwing a huge party and discovers he's very drunk. She waits until the next day to tell him what she's done.
He has a stroke, possibly a heart attack, and in ten days is dead. When David learns that Nabal has died, he sends a messenger to Abigail to ask her to become his wife. Good for David, yes. She's rich.
Is it a good political move? In any case, she agrees, and he takes another wife. Abigail gives him his second son. Abigail was beautiful, not only in a physical sense, but more importantly because of her character and faith. She retained poise in the face of great challenges.
She soothed a raging heart and rebuked an irate drunk. She was indeed a strong woman. Her strength came from one source, her faith in God. We can all learn from Abigail and apply these thoughts carefully to our lives. Let's look at our influence and make sure it's used in ways that will bring peace, purpose, and faith to others. Abigail teaches us so much—the contagious power of kindness, the strength of a gentle heart. Her greatest lesson, however, is to take our eyes from her beauty and set them on someone else's. She lifts our thoughts from a rural trail to a Jerusalem cross.
Abigail never knew Jesus. She lived a thousand years before his sacrifice, but she understood and demonstrated that grace is extraordinary. Her story is a story of grace that Jesus gave to us. God's grace is a perfect personal gift that He has given just for us. There has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord. An angel spoke these words.
Shepherds heard them first, but what the angel said to them, God says to anyone who will listen. Jesus is the gift. He Himself is the treasure. Grace is precious because He is. Grace secures us because He will. Just as the grace Abigail displayed to David changed their lives, so the grace Jesus bestows on us changes our lives.
The gift is the giver. To discover grace is to discover God's utter devotion to you. His stubborn resolve to give you a cleansing, healing, purging love that lifts the wounded back to their feet. Does He stand on a high hill and bid you climb out of the valley?
No. He comes to us and carries us out. The story of Abigail and David is not a fairy tale. It is real and shows us that when we allow God's grace to seep into the crusty cracks of our lives, it softens hearts and changes lives. So let God's grace bubble to the surface of your heart like a spring in the Sahara in words of kindness and deeds of generosity. As you do, you will find that it changes not only others' lives, but your life as well. This week, may God show you the extraordinary in the ordinary.
God bless you. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or email us at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org.
Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life.
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