The danger of little insults
1 Samuel 25: Blessed be your good sense!
The encounter between David and Saul at En Gedi results in a sort of peace between the two. David isn’t ready to return home, but Saul isn’t pursuing him for the time being. Under the cease-fire David is thinking about more pressing needs, like food! In the vicinity there’s a successful farmer who’s shearing his sheep. This is more than just a farm chore. It’s a big feast, a celebration of the success of the farm. David sends a few men to humbly ask the farmer to make a donation to his troops. The result is insult and denial. This infuriates David. There have been many times when he could have just taken some of Nabal’s sheep. Instead, his men have treated his shepherds with respect and kept their hands off of Nabal’s property. In his anger, David is on his way to raid Nabal’s farm and take revenge by taking his life. Meanwhile, Nabal’s wife, Abigail, hears what’s happened. She leaps to action by gathering a huge load of supplies and hurries out to meet David and his men. She humbly greets David and then presents a three-part argument as to why David shouldn’t do what he intends to do. First, she’s giving him a gift of many supplies. Second, her husband is a fool who’s not worth his effort. (By the way, what kind of a parent names his son, “Fool” anyway? No doubt, Nabal is in great need of counseling!) Third and most importantly, she tells David that taking revenge is beneath him as a man of God. Isn’t it interesting that David wouldn’t kill Saul who was seeking his life, but now, because he’s insulted he’s about to kill the fool, Nabal. Which is worse, having a powerful person try to put a spear through you or having a stupid person say a stupid thing to you? The trouble is that we’re often like David here. The things that get us off track aren’t when we deal with some major, obvious issue. When that happens we turn to God for his help, trusting in him. However, when it’s a small thing, just an insult or a thoughtless driver who cuts us off in traffic — well, we’ll just handle that ourselves; maybe teach them a lesson or two. We need people like Abigail around who can remind us to show some good sense in those “little things” that are such a danger to us.
Take Away: In some ways little things are more dangerous to us than the big things.