The Two-for One Deliverance Conclusion

While I was taking a boat tour of a recreational lake in Western New York years ago, my guide pointed to a magnificent home gracing the water’s shores. It dwarfed the smaller, more modest homes that had been there for years. But people lived in the smaller homes. No one lived in the big one.

“That home cost a fortune,” my guide said. “But no one can live in it. The owners can’t get a certificate of occupancy because the foundation is bad, and the house isn’t safe.” So there it stood, a silent but eloquent testimony to the biblical principle that you must build on a solid foundation if you want a dependable structure.

A fool denies God and builds his house on the sand; a wise person serves God and thus builds on the rock (Mt. 7:24–27). Abigail was no fool. She built on the rock; and her wisdom not only delivered her household, but it delivered the future king of Israel as well.

David was in dire straits, living in caves and trying to stay away from King Saul, who sought his life because he was jealous of David and feared him.

When David sent his men to Abigail’s husband, Nabal, he humbly requested, “Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David,” expecting Nabal would gratefully supply provisions because David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and flocks (1 Sam. 25:8). But Nabal, whose name means “fool,” refused:

Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from? (vv. 10–11).

Four times Nabal used the word my. In his greed, he rejected Moses’ warning not to say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.” Moses had admonished the Israelites, “Remember the Lᴏʀᴅ your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Dt. 8:17–18). Everything Nabal had came from God. But fools often bite the hands that feed them because they disdain God, from whom come wisdom and knowledge—two indispensable commodities in this life (2 Chr. 1:12; Ps. 51.6; Jas. 1:5). The Bible teaches, “The fear of the Lᴏʀᴅ is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Nabal the fool disdained the God of Israel and spurned David, His anointed king.

Abigail, on the other hand, was wise and understanding. As David prepared to avenge himself, one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail. “Now therefore,” he told her, “know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him” (v. 17). Indeed, fools “hate knowledge” (Prov. 1:22), spurn counsel (vv. 25, 30), despise instruction (15:5), and think they’re always right (12:15; 14:16). Talking sense to them is an utter waste of time (23:9).

So Abigail moved quickly without consulting Nabal, who by now was feasting and becoming drunk. She loaded hundreds of supplies onto donkeys and set out to meet David.

When she saw him, she “dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground,” falling “at his feet” (1 Sam. 25:23–24). And in a speech filled with wisdom, humility, and godliness—and one that revealed she knew exactly who David was and that the kingdom of Israel would someday be his—Abigail invoked Jehovah’s name seven times and begged David not to become guilty of shedding innocent blood:

And it shall come to pass, when the Lᴏʀᴅ has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the Lᴏʀᴅ has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant (vv. 30–31).

David, also no fool, immediately recognized that God had sent Abigail to protect him:

Blessed is the Lᴏʀᴅ God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand (vv. 32–33).

So David took the provisions and left. Ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died (v. 38). David then married Abigail; and she bore his son Daniel, also called Chileab (2 Sam. 3:3; 1 Chr. 3:1).

Through Abigail’s wisdom, God provided a two-for-one deliverance: He saved Nabal’s household from death at David’s hands, and He rescued David from shedding innocent blood. Furthermore, he delivered Abigail from her marriage to a fool.

The world today is filled with Nabals. They spurn God, ridicule faith in His anointed, walk in pride, boast of their accomplishments, and despise wisdom and instruction. Scripture says, “The Lᴏʀᴅ gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright” (Prov. 2:6–7). It also says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. 14:1). Since so many people today arrogantly reject the God of the Bible, we now have a world filled with fools.

What we desperately need are more Abigails. She exemplified Proverbs 24:3: “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.” She was humble, generous, godly, wise, and understanding because of faith in God. Scripture says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Abigail built her house on a solid foundation, and the Lord rewarded her by making her the wife of the future king.

About 300 years later, Isaiah prophesied, “Thus says the Lord Gᴏᴅ: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation’” (Isa. 28:16). Seven hundred years after that, the apostle Paul, a Jewish scholar, revealed who that foundation stone is: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ [Messiah]” (1 Cor. 3:11).

The Nabals of this world foolishly build their lives on all types of temporal supports: wealth, prestige, position. But in the end, their structures, like the beautiful house at the lake, never merit certificates of occupancy. They are unsound and will be washed away. It is far better to be wise like Abigail and build on the solid Rock, for then you will have a structure that will last forever.

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