Women's Liberation

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Thursday, January 25, 2007
1 Samuel 25:36-42 (36) And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light. (37) But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. (38) And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died. (39) And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife. (40) And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife. (41) And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord. (42) And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife. This chapter richly brims with practical and spiritual lessons so we shall focus only a few. The chapter opens (1SAM 25:1-13) with David petitioning a wealthy holder (Nabal) for some sustenance but his request is turned back by Nabal with disdain, angering David and prompting him to annihilate Nabal and all his wall-wetters (1SAM 25:34). Solomon once observed, "The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly" (PRO 18:23). Nabal's wealth had made him cocky, a common disorder of men of means. He was "...churlish and evil in all his doings..." (1SAM 25:3). Modern psycho-babble would probably lay the blame for his bad character on his parents for naming him Nabal, which means fool or dolt. Perhaps he was therefore the object of much childhood taunting and teasing which ruined his self-esteem and drove him to the dark side out of a need for emotional self-preservation, so forcing him to ever be a self-fulfilling prophecy: "...as his name is, so is he" (1SAM 25:25). Poppycock. One can only rely on a victimization defense as an excuse for bad conduct up to a point. But "...every man shall bear his own burden" (GAL 5:5) and "...every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (ROM 14:12). When one becomes a man he ought to be able to "...put away childish things" (1CO 13:11) and rise above them. And grace especially fits men so, even where sin abounded (ROM 5:20). We need not be hopelessly enslaved reactionaries to past injustices nor the immutable product of former sins. But Nabal had a wise and godly wife named Abigail (and why it is that good women go to bad men is somewhat of a mystery). Upon hearing of her household's imminent destruction she clandestinely went to David with gifts (for "...a gift in secret pacifieth anger...," PRO 21:14) and wise counsel (1SAM 25:18-31). The need to save innocent life from a clear and present danger trumped her godly responsibility to be submissive to her husband. David heeded her words, "And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand" (1SAM 25:33). David would later invent reproaches to his name by his sins but from this one he was delivered. Bless God for godly, bold women who save men from their own impulsiveness! As our text today shows, the news of all this stopped Nabal in his tracks so "...that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone" (v.37). But his death apparently got hung up in the discharge plumbing so ten days later God depressed the handle of the sorry commode which was Nabal's life and flushed that fecal spirit out (v.38). Nabal's death legally freed Abigail from the bond of marriage, for "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord" (1CO 7:39). And remarry she did without reservation or hesitation (per our text) for David was in a sense her savior from her oppressive husband and she did well to covenant to be David's wife. Now believers may learn a spiritual lesson from her good example: the Law was the Church's first husband and, like Nabal, it was oppressive for it demanded a perfection that we could never achieve by its "do and live" principle (ROM 10:5 c/w GAL 3:10-11) and "when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death" (ROM 7:5). Furthermore, its ceremony and sacrifices never liberated us from the guilt or penalty of sin (HEB 10:1-4). But the Son of David put that Law to death for us in His own body upon the cross (EPH 2:15 c/w COL 2:14). Believers thus see Him as the "...end of the law for righteousness..." (ROM 10:4). Christ arose under a New Testament which had disannulled the former. So, "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God" (ROM 7:4). Like Abigail delivered from Nabal unto David, "...now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of letter" (ROM 7:6). True converts are delivered from the Law, its condemnation, its sacrifices, its ceremony and form, its weakness through our flesh (ROM 8:3) to marry Christ the Son of David in heart, belief and duty, being by the gospel "...espoused...to one husband..." (2CO 11:2). How improper would it be for New Testament saints that have come to Christ to backslide into former bondage, either to abolished forms of worship (like new moons, sabbath days, holydays, dietary law, etc., GAL 4:9-10 c/w COL 2:14-17) or to reliance upon a "do and live" form of eternal justification, or to the sinful conduct which once defined their lives? If you can bear the thought, imagine Abigail perennially, continually mourning over Nabal while in new covenant with David. Or worse, imagine Abigail digging up Nabal's dead corpse and cuddling up to it in bed while David lies behind her. Let not the liberated Woman slight her new Husband so.

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