Friday, April 17, 2009

Saturday Scripture Speaks - God the Avenger

Then David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the LORD 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. For indeed, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!” So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person.”

Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light. So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. Then it happened, after about ten days, that the LORD struck Nabal, and he died.

So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the LORD has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.”

And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife. When the servants of David had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying, “David sent us to you, to ask you to become his wife.” 1 Samuel 25:32-40 (NKJV)

This passage in the Old Testament really jumped out at me this week. No, it isn't because of something someone said or did in my own life. I am reading through the Bible in one year using the plan RBC Ministries includes in their daily devotional booklets (and online). I prayed about this passage, wondering if I should talk about it or another piece of Scripture. Then, while washing dishes today - I have to hand wash dishes for seven people every day, though I'm not complaining :) - I listened to Chuck Swindoll of Insight for Living. He said something that made me convinced that this is the correct topic for today.

Most people today think that it is their job to repay "evil for evil, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." They say the Bible says so. Really?

David wanted to kill Nabal because, in all reality, Nabal deserved it. But, Nabal's wife, Abigail, intervened and begged David not to do it. David relented and allowed Nabal's own wickedness be his downfall.

Now, I said Abigail intervened, but did she? Yes and no. She did so because she was led by God. David said that the Lord kept his hands from evil and that it was the Lord who struck Nabal. Nabal's wickedness was returned to him by God, not by David or by Abigail.

When we are tempted to give someone else their "just due" we need to consider David's words. He recognized that had he killed Nabal himself, he would have sinned. There are many instances in the Old Testament where the Israelites were ordered, by God, to kill someone - even to wipe out entire groups of people. But in every one of those instances, GOD commanded them to do it and He did so for very specific reasons, always because of sin. NEVER did He allow people to simply kill or harm someone out of personal revenge or anger.

When we're treated poorly by others we need to keep in mind that God will take care of them, not us. He will return their wickedness to them himself. And if the wicked repent, Hallelujah! We can praise the Lord rather than sulk because "how great is our God." He does as He pleases, but He's ALWAYS good!

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