Godly Obedience: Abigail
Read 1 Samuel 25
How do we respond to Obedience/Submission? To obeying a request or even an order?
Let’s look at 3 ways we can respond to obedience:
Nabal was an arrogant man. He was disrespectful, rich, mean, and crude in all of his dealings.
Nabal insulted David as a person “ who is David?” his family name “who is this son of Jesse?”, and even accused him of being an outlaw “many servants these days are breaking away from their masters.”
Nabal was selfish and did not want to share with others. “why should I take my bread and water and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to them to these men whose origin I do not know?
David was obedient in following the “protocol” to address Nabal. He sent messengers to greeted Nabal in a respectful manner, he talked about his respect for Nabal and his shepherds, he mentioned that they did not rob or steal from him when the shepherds were tending their sheep. David asks him nicely to offer any supplies they (David and his men) might need.
David behaved nicely and kind until met with insults from Nabal. Then he became hot-tempered and decided to do what he wanted to do, and his anger even made him want to kill everyone in Nabal’s household.
David set out with his armed men to kill all of Nabel’s household. He was still grumbling and complaining against Nabal.
v.21”a lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning.”
3. Like Abigail:
Abigail heard what the servant Abigail wasted no time. She quickly went to David. She bowed before him. She took all the responsibility of her husband’s actions and words. She asked to be heard. She spoke truth about the situation. She told David he did not deserve the treatment he received and she even asked God to curse anyone who tried to harm him or be his enemy. She asks David to forgive her for any offenses. She acknowledges David was fighting God’s battle. She even says how he has never done anything wrong in his entire life. She honours him with declaring God’s promises over his life. She asks him not to take vengeance so that his future would not have a blemish. She asks him to remember her once the Lord had accomplished all these promises in his life.
There is a purpose in Obedience:
In Ecclesiastes 8:2-7 we see that obedience is purposeful for those that are wise and practice godly submission:
2” Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would. 3 Don’t try to avoid doing your duty, and don’t stand with those who plot evil, for the king can do whatever he wants. 4 His command is backed by great power. No one can resist or question it. 5 Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, 6 for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble.”
So today, who do you see yourself as in terms of your obedience to God?
Are you a Nabal? A David? Or an Abigail?
Let’s take a look at each of these individuals and curses and blessings of disobedience and obedience.
Disobedience has consequences. Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall” Both David and Nabal experienced this in their lives.
Disobedience in the bible is defined as lack of regard for authority or rulership. Not doing what we are supposed to do when we know it’s the right thing to do.
“Sin twisted this relationship-not because it brought headship and submission in existence-but because it twisted man’s humble, loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others…sin didn’t create headship and submission, it twisted them and distorted them and made them ugly and destructive” (John Piper)
Submission is the willingly obeying God and it is a matter of our ATTITUDE!
Nabal was arrogant, mean, selfish, mocker, and it led to his fall and death.
Disobedience is caused by pride. It is the primary cause of rebellion, and contentiousness against God.
David was prideful and was nearly destroyed by his thoughts and actions. Obedience is a matter of our ACTIONS!
Obedience (submission) is the highest level of Faith.
Therefore Godly obedience is a matter of our attitude and actions aligning with God’s!
Obedience has consequences. Abigail’s obedience stopped David from making the biggest mistake of his life!
Abigail laid down her life for another. She risked everything to obey what she knew was the right thing to do. She could have been fearful for taking-action in the way she did, but her obedience to God was truly extraordinary!
Godly obedience is manifested in our submission to God. Most women tend to cringe when they hear the word “submit” and most men tend to think they are the “headship/leader” and don’t think that submission is applied to them. Children do not like to submit either and tend to have “meltdowns” when they have to submit to their parents rules and teachings. Those that are captives or slaves tend to think that because they are “bound” already that they don’t have a choice in submission. The ideas surrounding submission can be never ending but there is purpose in submission.
How do we gain godly obedience?
1.We must Listen/Hear. God says “Listen, to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
“ Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:8
“ Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say ‘this is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21
Abigail heard and listened to the servant’s message. We also have the opportunity to listen to God, to wise and godly counsel.
2.We must become humble. Philippians 2:3-7 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.”
Abigail is foreshadowing Jesus. She did not consider herself equal with David, she bowed down to him, honoured him, respected him. She made herself a servant, and even offered to wash the feet of David’s servants.
Abigail’s obedience was a perfect example of humility. She demonstrated the obedience that Peter talks about in 1 Peter 5:5 “and all of you dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He lift you up in honour”.
This is exactly what God did for Abigail. She humbled herself before God and David. She did this by…. And God lifter her up (by saving her and her whole household) and He honoured her (by giving her a husband).
3.We must make sure our attitude is like Christ’s; having godly attitudes (joyful, peaceful, loving, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and having self-control)
“Proverbs 3:6 “in all of your ways submit to Him”.
The bible says in Ephesians 5:21 that “we should all submit to one another out of reverence for God”.
James 4:7 “submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee.”
The beauty of godly obedience, which is submission, is perfectly described in the person of Abigail.
“submission to God is entrusting your totality to God no matter what comes your way. As long as you hold on to Godly principles, you are in God’s hands. It is easy to be obedient and submissive when things are rosy. However, the greatest determinant of the highest level of submission is lack.” (Elijah Ofosu)
4.We must be quick to obey.
Psalm 119:60 “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands”.
Deuteronomy 30:16 says “ For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase (be honoured and lifted up), and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.”
Abigail was smart, she ‘heard’ and acted fast to do what was right, was submissive to God, David, and Nabal. Acted on behalf of her family to protect them from Nabal’s foolish actions and decisions.
We can also obey God like Abigail did. At every moment and every day we have the opportunity to obey God. It’s not just in spiritual matters but also in our daily lives. We can see each situation and each circumstance as a way of obeying God. As we obey Him our faith is made stronger and it becomes unshakeable. We will obey Him more quickly and set our heart, mind, and soul to do what pleases Him in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.
Blessings for Obedience: Deuteronomy 28:1-14 NLT
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. 2 You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:
3 Your towns and your fields
will be blessed.
4 Your children and your crops
will be blessed.
The offspring of your herds and flocks
will be blessed.
5 Your fruit baskets and breadboards
will be blessed.
6 Wherever you go and whatever you do,
you will be blessed.
7 “The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!
8 “The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
9 “If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. 10 Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.
11 “The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops.12 The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. 13 If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. 14 You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them.
Pastor Julie English