Four Keys to God's Intervention in a Difficult Marriage

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ENCOURAGE YOURSELF Abigail had a personal relationship with God. Because she knew Him for herself, eventually, she would become a good complement for David, who became her husband after Nabal's death.

Scripture tells us in 1 Samuel 30:6 that when David was overcome with grief over losing his wives and the city of Ziklag, "he encouraged himself in the Lord his God." Evidently, Abigail had learned to do the same. And so can you. Spend more time in God's Word, and remember who you are. You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14) in His image and after His likeness (see Gen. 1:26). You are special to Him.

If Abigail is the heroine of this story, the hero has to be David—the warrior poet, the Lord's beloved, the gifted hymnist and worship leader of Scripture. David was the greatest king in the history of Israel. He was a flawed man, but "a man after [God's] own heart" (Acts 13:22).

When David and Abigail met, he was a renowned warrior and soldier of fortune with a band of 600 crack fighting men. He was considered an outlaw and a traitor to King Saul. Although the prophet Samuel had anointed him as the next king, David had been betrayed by Saul, then forced to flee into the wilderness and run for his life for almost 20 years before he claims his kingdom.

When David and his men came upon Nabal's extensive land and herds, they discovered thousands of sheep and cattle grazing for the winter, spread out across hundreds of acres. But David and his men are not the only bands of men in the mountains. Nomads, bandits and caravans were all passing through Carmel.

David appointed himself protector of the defenseless shepherds and herdsmen spread out in the pastures. He does this throughout the entire fall and winter seasons, but in the springtime, when the fattened herds are brought down for calving and shearing David asked for food and provisions for his men before they moved on.

He sent his emissary to Nabal, informing him that he had been the defacto protector of all that Nabal had on the range, and that his men had not taken anything—nor had they allowed anyone else to do so for months and months (see 1 Sam. 25:4-8).

Nabal's answer was typical of his nature and his name. His answer was brash, ill thought out, inconsiderate and selfish, endangering his whole household. David's response to this rebuff was to arm 400 of his men and swear to destroy all of Nabal's possessions and kill every man and boy on his land before sunup (see vv. 9-13).

But one of Nabal's men had the foresight to tell Abigail what was about to happen. What can a wise woman do to preserve her family despite the shortcomings of her husband? Abigail went into action. She did not waste time berating Nabal for his failure. She did not hope he would catch the vision and make the prudent decision. She knew her man. She knew his limitations, and she did what she had probably been doing all along: She got the job done.

Abigail took huge loads of bread, fruits, wine and meat and sent them ahead to David. Then she courageously mounted her own donkey and raced out to intercept him and plead for her family. This powerful role of intercession is one women have had to fulfill since time immemorial (see1 Sam. 25:18-19).

INTERCEDE FOR OTHERS Just as Abigail prostrated herself before David to plead for a change in her husband's fate, women everywhere should follow her example and fall prostrate before the Lord on behalf of the deliverance of the "Nabals" in their lives.

Like Abigail, we can plead our case before the King for our husbands, children, communities and those we love who are threatened by negative circumstances. David is moved by Abigail's passion, beauty and the wisdom of her plea. She speaks prophetically over his life, and tells him that God will bless him to be a great king, therefore, he should not have the blood of vengeful murder on his anointed hands (see 1 Sam. 25:28-32).

Abigail models for us a woman who is spiritually wise and discerning. She is a passionate intercessor, able to give others godly counsel. But her recipe for wringing the best out of a negative life situation also calls for women to invest themselves in becoming all they can be with God's help. She demonstrates the value of cultivating practical and intellectual skills, maintaining a great attitude and positive self-esteem, based on your worth in God.

This portion of Abigail's story ends with her becoming David's wife and queen after the death of Nabal. Most of us will not experience such a dramatic turnaround in our circumstances. However, God has made great promises to us for every stage and season of our lives (see Jer. 29:11).

Abigail represents every woman who must persevere through a strained marriage and other destructive life issues. But she stays spiritually connected to her God because she knows this is vital for living with joy, courage and dignity.

Don't be discouraged today. Our God is not a respecter of person. Abigail's story is here for our edification. What she was able to do, by the grace of a generous and caring God, we can do also.

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