On his best day, a husband is a night in shining armor. He sweeps you off your feet with flowers, dinner, and sweet talk about how you complete him. You end the night cuddling by candle light, so glad you married such a dear.
Then there are the not-so-good days. Like that time he gave you tips on loading the dishwasher–the one he loads twice a month while complaining. Or that time he played an extra nine holes when two of the kids had the flu and you were up to your eyeballs in tissues and snot. And then there was the time he built a deck with his buddy when he promised to take you to dinner.
Sometimes you are married to Romeo and sometimes you are married to Bozo. Abigail, the next brush stroke in our Portrait of a Godly Wife, was married to a full-time Bozo.
Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite. 1 Samuel 25:3
I do love a good name study. This one does not disappoint. Nabal’s name means “fool.” What mother names her kid “fool,” for goodness sake? Abigail must have had a happy childhood; her name means “my father is joy.” It is said that women marry men like their fathers. It seems as though the matchmaker missed the mark with this union!
The beauty and the beast make an appearance in David’s story during his time on the run from King Saul. Nabal is very wealthy. David and his men provide protection for Nabal’s property and, in return request food. Nabal’s foolish response:
Who is David? Shall I take my bread and my water, and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where? 1 Samuel 25:10-11.
David’s response is retaliation. He grabs his sword and is prepared to kill Nabal (1 Samuel 25:12-13).
This is the point at which Abigail saves the day. One of Nabal’s servants, perhaps fearful for his life tells Abigail what her foolish husband has done. She gives us a practical application of the Proverbs 31 wife: “Abigail lost no time”. She prepared a feast, loaded it on donkeys, and headed toward David and his men (1 Samuel 25:14-19).
She did all of this without telling Nabal what she was doing. Scripture does not advocate dishonesty or deceit (Jeremiah 9:5, Leviticus 6:2, Psalm 101:7). However, if your husband leads contrary to God’s word, you do not follow. We are to be his helper without being co-dependent. Wives cannot support or encourage sin in a husband’s life.
Abigail serves as Nabal’s intercessor. She demonstrates the chayil of Proverbs 31:10, a wife of noble character. Abigail places the blame on herself, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt,” while speaking to Nabal’s fault, “Nabal is his name, and folly is with him” (1 Samuel 25:24-25). Abigail reasons with David, helping him to see that the Lord has protected him from both being murdered and committing murder. God plans for David to become king without this blood guilt on his hands.
David’s heart is turned. He gives the glory to God for sending Abigail. He acknowledges that, without her intervention, he would have ended the day with blood on his hands. Abigail plays a vital role in sparing her foolish husband of death and sparing a quick-tempered warrior from vengeance.
Just like a good book, the plot thickens. Abigail returns home to her foolish husband. While Abigail has been out doing the work of the Lord, Nabal is home “holding a banquet like that of a king,” a.k.a. a keg party. He has just denied the future king a meal, while indulging himself, one so unworthy of the honor. Has your husband ever kicked back to relax while you work your fingers to the bone? Let us not dwell on that thought too long; we don’t want bitterness to take root! But, I do want us to identify with Abigail’s situation.
Abigail wisely waits until Nabal is sober to tell him what she did while he partied like a king. Timing is everything when communicating with our husbands. Pray before you go to him. Wait for the Lord’s timing to bring an issue or conflict before him. Just as Esther waited 3 days, it is often best for us to pray and wait at least 3 days. If you do it too early, you risk being overly emotional and speaking in the flesh. When you pray for your own attitude and your husband’s heart, you invite the Spirit to be a part of your conversation.
The goal must be his reconciliation to God, not justice for you. Humility is the opposite of harsh judgment and criticism. Bring his sin before him, according to Galatians 6:1-2, keeping the attitude of humility and gentleness. Trust God to do the work in his heart.
There are some things that can be overlooked (Proverbs 19:11). Not every mistake needs to be corrected. These kinds of confrontations are reserved for true foolishness and sin*. This is why the praying and the waiting are so important; it helps you discern what can be overlooked and what must be confronted.
God certainly took care of Nabal’s heart. When Abigail shared the news of all she had done, his heart became “like a stone” and he died 10 days later (1 Samuel 25:37-38). David heard the news and sent for Abigail. She became his wife. She moved from the tent of a fool to the palace of a king.
Your husband is the leader of your home. Because of the fall, we often want to take charge. There are times when the husband is sinful and making poor decisions. These are difficult times for a wife who desires to live a godly life. Remember our wise sister, Abigail. While it seems she is destined to live with a fool all of her days, this marriage is part of God’s well-orchestrated plan. It is through this marriage of opposites that God guides David and brings glory to himself. A difficult beginning yielded a happy ending.
Is there an offense that needs to be addressed in your husband’s life? Will you commit to prayer the next 3 days in order to allow the Holy Spirit to guide your approach?
*This is intended for a typical marriage with typical issues. If you are in an extreme situation of dysfunction or danger, please remove yourself and your children from danger and seek help from a trusted counselor, pastor, or friend.
Dear sisters, we are created to be vessels of the Gospel—to serve, to speak life, to see others as dearly beloved children of God. From Abigail, part of the Women of the Word series found at She Reads Truth.