We live in a world that is invested in education, intellect, position, celebrity, money, and power. People place importance on where someone went to school or what job title she holds. We talk about someone being brilliant in a particular field or famous for her accomplishments.
The Bible does not downplay hard work and excellent training, but it places more emphasis and importance on godly wisdom. Without wisdom, even the most educated and intelligent people make poor choices. Without a biblical worldview and a biblical view of humanity, seemingly smart people come up with solutions that will not work. God’s word gives us wisdom to navigate the difficult situations in life. This week we will look at an incident from the life of a wise woman named Abigail.
1. How are Nabal and his wife Abigail described in v.2?
2. According to v.3, what was David tell his servants to request of Nabal? What had David and his men done for Nabal’s shepherds? (v.5, 15-16)
3. How did Nabal respond when the servants followed David’s directions? (v.10-11) What was David’s response when he heard from his servants how Nabal had responded to his request? (v.13)
4. To whom did the servants appeal after Nabal refused David’s request? Did they feel that Nabal’s response was appropriate in light of the protection David and his men offered them? Why didn’t they appeal to Nabal? (v.14-17)
5. What did Abigail do when she realized that her entire household was in danger? (v.18-19) [If you are amazed like I am that anyone could prepare that much food so quickly, remember that they were getting ready to have a feast to celebrate the shearing of the sheep.]
6. What was David planning to do to Nabal’s household before his encounter with Abigail? (v.21)
7. How do Abigail’s actions and words demonstrate her humility before David?(v.23-25)
8. Read Abigail’s appeal to David in v. 26-31. What did Abigail remind David about the LORD? Be specific as you look at these verses.
9. What happened to Nabal after he found out what had transpired? (v.36-38) What did David do after he heard about Nabal’s death? How did Abigail respond to David’s invitation? (v.39-42)
10. Review Abigail’s actions, her words, others’ words about her, and the narrator’s description of her. What evidence do you see that Abigail was a wise woman?
11. Are there relationships and situations in your life right now that are difficult? Are you dealing with people who are foolish or angry? Do you need to make an appeal to someone in authority? What did you learn from Abigail’s example that you could apply to your specific circumstance?
Abigail displayed wisdom as she dealt both with her foolish husband Nabal and with David who was very angry and ready to take revenge. Dealing with difficult people is a great challenge. Abigail shows us the value of learning and applying God’s wisdom in relationships and in making an appeal.
Too often, we value human wisdom rather than God’s wisdom when navigating tough situations. Our first instinct in problem solving may be to call a friend for advice, look on the internet, or find an expert. While these are valid methods for acquiring information, we need to recognize that the Lord is the source of true wisdom. We can research and gain information but then we need to filter everything through the truth of Scripture. God’s wisdom is relevant and practical. His word will provide guidance when we are facing a serious problem.
1. How is the wisdom from above described in verse 17?
2. How is the wisdom which is not from above described in verse 15?
3. Are you surprised that James describes the wisdom which is not from above as natural? Why or why not?
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” —Isaiah 55:8-9
Read Proverbs 2:1-9 (NASB) below and circle the word God, any synonyms for God, and any pronouns that refer to God. Also, underline the verbs in verses 1-5.
1. My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
2. Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3. For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4. If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5. Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.
6. For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8. Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9. Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
1. Who is the source of wisdom?
2. How much effort is required to get wisdom? (v.1-5)
3. What is the result of knowing and applying God’s wisdom? (v.9)
4. According to this passage, is it possible to be extremely intelligent, highly educated, but not wise? Explain your reasoning, using Proverbs 2 to support your argument.
When I became a parent, I wanted to do all the right things. I purchased books written by experts on parenting. I had a plan. I would follow all the advice and we would all live “happily ever after.” Immediately I discovered that the experts did not agree on how to parent. The world’s best advice for parenting was inconsistent and confusing. I was very surprised, but I shouldn’t have been!
Having been a teacher and having gone to seminars on classroom learning environments and discipline, I had already been exposed to the world’s view of humanity. I spent all day in a seminar one time where the lecturer recommended setting up multiple stations in a large classroom with different subjects and learning activities. We were to let the students choose what they wanted to do and when they wanted to do it. (This was a seminar for secondary teachers not pre-school or early elementary). “What if the student stays at the station he enjoys and never goes to the subject he dislikes?” we questioned. Apparently, that had not been a problem or not much of one for this expert. Of course, she had never disciplined her child either. She just gave options or choices and let him decide. I realized later that her entire system and philosophy were based on the belief that people (children in particular) are basically good. Given a good environment and creative learning activities, children would choose what is right. Her view of humanity was not a biblical one. Even though her teaching style and learning activities were creative and hands on, she built her plan on a false premise.
The Bible teaches that we are born with a natural inclination to sin. Our job as parents is to love our children, discipline them, and teach them the truth. As we saw in James, the wisdom that is “natural, earthly, demonic” is not the wisdom from above. As you evaluate any parenting advice, be sure to take that advice back to the Word of God, and test it to see if it is wise, biblical counsel. As moms, we want to walk in God’s wisdom, not in the world’s wisdom.
The book of Proverbs is a wonderful place to look for practical and biblical wisdom. It speaks to almost any issue we could encounter. When I have had a really difficult problem, one for which there seems to be no solution, I have read through the entire book of Proverbs and copied down every verse that pertained to my dilemma. God speaks through His Word to give me direction and wisdom.
Abigail gives us insight into her theology in the appeal she made to David. She told David that it was the LORD who kept him from shedding blood and taking matters into his own hand (1 Sam 25:26). She reassured David that the LORD would establish David’s house (I Sam 25:28). She used a beautiful word picture to remind David that his life was held securely by the LORD (1 Sam 25:29). And she reminded him that the LORD would do everything that he had promised David and that He would make David a leader over Israel (1 Sam 25:29).
In her haste to gather food and make the preparations to meet David, Abigail did not have time to brush up on her theology or on her relationship with the LORD. Her appeal flowed out of her strong belief in God’s sovereignty and His faithfulness. David did not have to take matters into his own hands because it was the LORD who would establish his house, protect his life, and do everything He had promised David. The LORD would make David a leader over Israel.
How many times have I taken matters into my own hands when I should have trusted the LORD to work things out? How many times have I turned a situation over to Him only to take it back when He did not “fix” it on my timetable? Abigail took action but she knew the outcome was in the LORD’s hands.
The LORD has not changed. He is still the one who will do everything He has promised us. He is in control, He is establishing us, and He is protecting us. Just as the LORD fulfilled His promise to make David a leader over Israel, He will fulfill His promises to us as believers.