4. AbigailRelated Media
Click here to download the student handout for this lesson.
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A Word from Kay Daigle on how to use the resources for this study…I want to encourage you to complete the personal lesson below before you click on any of the accompanying elements that may be found with this lesson (audio lecture, manuscript, PowerPoint, or handout). This study was written to help you maximize your personal spiritual growth. That means that you first spend time with God through His word, and then hopefully, discuss what you learned with a small group of women. After that, if you want to hear the audio (or read the manuscript) and follow the PowerPoint, filling in the handout, then that is a great time to do it! I cannot cover all the verses in depth, but you can read and study them for yourself. It is best for you to think through the passages before hearing what anyone else thinks, even me! You will find some lessons without lectures. At our church we use some of those weeks to spend extra time in our small groups sharing life stories, having a longer prayer time, or expressing how God is working in our lives.
Relationships can be hard, and there may be none more difficult than marriage. What God designed to reflect the unity and intimacy of the Godhead does not often look that way. Abigail dealt with an overbearing and verbally abusive husband. As you read her story, consider how difficult her life must have been and how she handled it.
A Precious Word from God
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21 NASB
Historical background: Samuel was the last of the judges. Saul became the first king of Israel, but he was disobedient to the Lord. As a result, God had Samuel anoint David as king. Although David continued to be loyal to King Saul, the king became jealous of him and sought to kill him, forcing David to flee for his life. With hundreds of followers, he journeyed about the land attempting to avoid the king and his soldiers. Our story this week takes place during this period of flight, in approximately 1030 BC.
Day One Study
Read 1 Samuel 25:1-13.
1. What do these verses tell you about Abigail?
2. Describe the situation between David and Nabal.
- Diamonds in the Word: Scan 1 Samuel 20:30-24:22 to put this story into context.
3. What insights do you gain about Nabal’s character from the descriptions of him and his treatment of David?
4. Read Romans 13:7-10. How do the principles here apply to this situation?
5. Responding to God: Ask God to give you the names of people to whom you need to give thanks, praise, or honor. One may be someone who impacted you; yet, you have never thanked her. It may be someone to whom you should express honor for something he has achieved, but you find yourself jealous instead. Write down the names and what you owe them. Why have you failed to do so up until now—pride, stubbornness, unconcern, laziness? Talk to God about it.
6. Sharing question: Contact at least one of those you listed in the previous question and share with your group what happens.
Day Two Study
Read 1 Samuel 25:14-35.
7. What was the testimony of Nabal’s servant concerning David and his men in contrast to what he said about Nabal?
8. What do the servant’s actions tell us about Abigail? Why?
9. Why was David so angry with Nabal (25:10-11, 21), and what did he determine to do about it (25:22)?
“His name was Nabal (i.e. fool); this was hardly his proper name, but was a surname by which he was popularly designated on account of his folly.”
C.F. Keil & F. Delitzsch
Commentary on the Old Testament vol. 2
William Eerdmans Publishing Company
10. What do you learn from Abigail about dealing with a fool? About dealing with an angry person (David)?
11. Do Abigail’s actions show love and loyalty to Nabal? Why or why not?
12. Sharing Question: Share with your group a story of a time when love forced you to act for the person’s best interest even if the person did not understand your actions.
- Diamonds in the Word: Find some biblical examples of ways that God shows love to us when we do not understand His actions.
13. Responding to God: Ask God for the courage to act in love when it’s hard.
Day Three Study
Read Proverbs 31:10-31.
14. Compare the description of the excellent wife with what you know about Abigail. Obviously, you will not know how she rates in some areasJ
15. Sharing question: If you are married, what are some specific changes you need to make today to fit this description of the excellent wife in Prov. 31:10-31? If you are not married, what do you learn here about being a wife?
16. Consider Ephesians 5:22. Would you consider Abigail submissive to her husband? Why or why not?
- Diamonds in the Word: Study the Greek word for submission in Eph. 5:22. Compare it with the word in Eph. 6:1. Write down your insights. Feel free to study the word in your reference materials.
17. Sharing question: When is it hard for you to submit to a husband or a boss or any other authority over you? How do you change your attitude in those cases?
18. Responding to God: Write a prayer of confession as you consider how well you are doing in submitting to those in authority over you, not just outwardly but also in your heart!
Day Four Study
Read 1 Samuel 25:36-42.
Most commentaries interpret what happened to Nabal as a stroke of some kind.
19. Read Rom. 12:17-21. List what we are to do when we have been wronged.
20. Sharing question: Which of the above instructions is hardest for you?
- Diamonds in the Word: Find cross-references for the passage in Romans 12. Write out a summary of what God would have us do when we are wronged.
21. Sharing question: Share about a time in your life when you planned something that would have been the wrong thing to do but God sent someone or something to stop you. Did you listen or not? If that has never happened to you, have you ever seen someone considering a wrong action and warned her? What happened?
22. Read and copy Proverbs 11:31. How does this proverb come true in the lives of Nabal and Abigail?
23. Responding to God: Pray for God to protect you when you are determined to do the wrong thing. Thank Him for the times when you know He has done this in the past.
Day Five Study
Reread 1 Samuel 25.
24. Describe Abigail’s husband. Sharing question: How would you feel if you were Abigail and had to deal with Nabal?
25. Write down any insights you have into the ways Abigail was used by God for His purposes.
26. How do you see Abigail fulfill the instruction for our week’s A Precious Word from God?
27. Prayerfully consider Abigail’s character. Write a description of her qualities and record what she did to reveal each attribute.
- Diamonds in the Word: Study 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a. Study the words in your Greek dictionary. Write out what you learn about love and how it applies to Abigail.
28. Sharing question: If you are married, there are surely some qualities in your husband that you would love to change. (Some of you may have more than one you would change!) However, instead of trying to change him, what do you learn from Abigail about being the wife you should be? If you are not married, what can you learn about expecting God to change your boss, your parents, etc.?
29. Responding to God: Write a prayer asking for the grace to love others when they are not who you want them to be.
We have three great stories this week. Jan, Penny, and Nan share stories of dealing with difficult people with God’s wisdom and love rather than with their first reactions.
In New York, we lived on a wonderful cul-de-sac with about 12 homes, each with many children. I felt convicted to start a neighborhood Bible study there, but only about 5 neighbors came. My neighbors all said they learned everything they needed to know in Catechism classes as a child.
We all got along well until a new neighbor with 5 children moved in. One day her 10 year old son hit my son and then ran back to his house. My son chased him and pushed him down. His Mom called the police who came to our house and warned me to keep all of the neighborhood children off their property as she was a crazy lady. That same day she called me up and began screaming and cursing at me without even allowing me to talk. I finally had to hang up on her, but felt terrible since earlier in the week, I had invited her to our neighborhood Bible study. I wrote her a note of apology, even though my husband and neighbors all thought I was crazy to do so. Several days later, she got mad at some other children on their bicycles and tried to run over them in her car, even driving up on some neighbors’ lawns. Her husband called their priest and she drove away.
Hours later she returned and found my note in her mailbox and called me up sobbing. She asked me to help her and said she wanted to come to the Bible study which she did. She was so transformed that the other neighbors decided maybe there was something in the Bible they had missed and they too began coming to the study. We met every week for 3 years until my husband was transferred to Texas 32 years ago. Most of us still stay in touch.
I was once faced with dealing with a difficult person in an unlikely place, my children’s Christian school. This person did not seem to understand the necessity of some of the conservative policies the school had in place. She was a very vocal person with an abrasive personality. Because I felt like I was defending my faith and the beliefs of others, I was quite aggravated that this person would disagree with the policies and traditions of the school. It got to the point that I did not even want to be in the same room with this person.
One day, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I decided to work with this person on a committee. Over the year, as we were working toward the same goals, I was able to appreciate her good qualities. I also feel like I was able to influence her in a more positive way as a friend than as an adversary.
When I was in middle school I was having a slumber party. Once it became dark, we ran across the street to the home of a neighbor, whom I didn't particularly care for, and toilet papered it. When the neighbors arrived home later that evening, the mom rushed over to our house, banged on the door, and threatened to call the police if my mom didn't answer. Once my mom came to the door, the woman screamed and yelled and cussed, and screamed and yelled some more. Needless to say, it was a bad situation. Instead of yelling back, my mom was patient and listened and was kind. I was mad. I didn't like this neighbor already because she had cheated my mom out of some money earlier in the year. But instead of getting even or holding a grudge, my mom started to serve this woman and her family. She mowed their yard for them unexpectedly, delivered meals and loved them despite their behavior. I thought she was crazy for doing so and didn't understand; I wanted justice. Over the years they eventually became friends, despite their differences. This friendship led to my mom sharing the gospel with her and her accepting Christ. To this day they are friends.
Later, once I was out of college and working, I found myself in a situation where I was in extreme disagreement with the CEO of a company I had founded. We could not see eye to eye on some key issues, and I found myself becoming angrier and angrier at him. I felt he had wronged me and it needed to be set straight. The longer it was drawn out, the more frustrated I became, and the anger began turning into bitterness. Finally one day I was reminded of my mom's example of loving the unlovely and serving others as a livelihood not just when they deserve it. I realized I had to start serving and loving regardless of the situation because my relationship with Christ was more important than being right or being understood or feeling heard. Over time the CEO and I were able to resolve our differences and even come to an appreciation for the different skills we each brought to the company. At the time, we were attending the same church and a few years later he and his wife joined our community group. I am forever grateful that I was able to watch my mom turn to Christ for her answer so that later I would be convicted to do the same. To this day he and his wife remain good friends of ours.