Beautiful and wise

Beautiful and wise: Abigail

Abigail was beautiful and wise. You can be both beautiful and wise, they’re not mutually exclusive characteristics. She must also have been kind and good to the servants. Her husband Nabal was mean and cruel. When one of the servants heard the terrible news that something truly awful was about to happen as a result of Nabal’s wrong actions, he went to Abigail. He was Nabal’s servant but he went to Abigail because his master was ‘such a wicked man, no one can even talk to him’.

Abigail must have been kind and approachable because this servant could be candid with her about his master’s actions. He told her how David’s men had protected them night and day when they were out with the sheep. He explained how instead of repaying David for his kind actions, his master had instead insulted David and his men. Now terrible disaster was coming on the whole family as a result.

Abigail responded promptly and judiciously. She rushed to remedy the situation. She prepared some timely gifts (good food) and hurriedly left with some trusted servants to dissuade David from attacking them. She was wise and discreet enough not to tell her foolish husband yet. She humbled herself before David and his men. She spoke calming, decent and true words to stop him from carrying out an act of revenge. She got him to listen to her and change course, thereby averting danger for her family. She was courageous in facing up to a famous warrior like David and he thanked her for her actions. She even put in a good word for herself to the future king. She said: ‘Please remember me when the Lord brings you success’.

“The Lord will keep all his promises about good things for you. He will make you leader over Israel.”

1 Samuel 25:30 ICB

When she got home from her mercy mission, her husband Nabal was feasting like a king and drunk as a skunk. Abigail knew her husband well enough not to confront him when he was drunk. She waited till the next morning to tell him of the consequences of his rash actions, his very near miss. Nabal, it seems, was in so much shock at the news, he probably had a heart attack. Ten days later he died of natural causes.

David did remember Abigail and he married her. She was safe and would be provided for. She would be the wife of a good man who listened, very much unlike her first husband. She would be married to the king of Israel. Abigail was beautiful and wise, rich but sensible, influential but kind. Being blessed is no excuse to be proud. Being blessed is actually a good reason to be good to others. Those kind acts of mercy can save lives.


Good Job still

Good Job still

Continuing on Job. He and especially his friends did not really have a right understanding of who God was. Their views are shared by many today. Job at least was honest about his feelings. He challenged the simplistic belief by his friends which was simply ‘bad things happen to bad people’. They assumed that Job had a hidden evil past that incurred his disasters.

Job said that evil people got away with being evil and even prospered as a result. Job also said, wrongly, that God was responsible for the evil things that happened. But through it all, Job showed a glimpse of understanding that God was his defender and his advocate. Especially when he kept having to defend himself against his so called friends: Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz.

“I know that my Defender lives. And in the end he will come to show that I am right.”

Job 19:25 ICB

God doesn’t do evil. The devil does. Jesus says in John chapter 10, verse 10: ‘The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly’.

We do have a defender, an advocate, and that is Jesus. The devil is the accuser, the prosecutor. Jesus is our defender, our defence counsel. Jesus won the case once and for all by taking our place on the cross, taking all our sins and punishment on himself.

God is our loving father. He looks to restore us, to have a close relationship with us, to show us his love. God restored Job’s fortunes and he also showed his true character to Job and his friends. God loves us. He wants us to be honest with him about our feelings. We don’t understand everything and we can’t spit out pat answers or simplistic arguments for human suffering. We need to acknowledge God and his ultimate wisdom, justice, love and mercy. We need to trust God.

“Even now I have one who speaks for me in heaven. The one who is on my side is high above. The one who speaks for me is my friend. While he does this, my eyes pour out tears to God. He begs God on behalf of a man as a man begs for his friend.”

Job 16:19-21 ICB

“I mean that God was in Christ, making peace between the world and himself. In Christ, God did not hold the world guilty of its sins. And he gave us this message of peace.”

2 Corinthians 5:19 ICB

“Christ had no sin. But God made him become sin. God did this for us so that in Christ we could become right with God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 ICB

Good Job

Reading through the book of Job and specifically Job chapter 9 today I noticed a few things. Job had a fear of God and he lived a blame-free life as far as he could. The sad thing is that he didn’t really know God, at least he didn’t before disaster struck. He had this view of God as a judgemental and angry Superior-in-Chief. He had no concept of God as a loving Father, which God is. His friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar shared this view and they were pharisaical and condescending in their words.

God isn’t like that. God is loving and kind. God is just, and does not tolerate evil. He cannot deny Himself. But God has nonstop always-new mercy on us. This is the God that left his amazing Kingdom to die on the cross for us in the form of his Son Jesus. This is the God that shepherded a whole nation of headstrong men and their families through a desert for 40 years. The clothes on their backs and the shoes on their feet never wore out. He took care of them, fed them with ‘home-made’ heavenly bread and special order rock-sourced water! They murmured, they moaned and complained throughout but He never gave up on them. He never gives up on us now. We moan and we doubt and we run away from home like the prodigal son but does He cut us off? No! He welcomes us back with generous, open arms! There is no Father like our loving God.

“But Christ died for us while we were still sinners. In this way God shows his great love for us.”

Romans 5:8 ICB