David and Nabal

May 25, 2022    Pastor Daryl Zachman
“There is one who scatters yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 11:24, NKJV)

David and his six hundred men were living out in the wilderness. They had no farms, and they wouldn’t raid the cities of Judah. Where do you get food for such an army? They were dependent on the generosity of others.

David was called from the sheepfolds and had a shepherd’s heart. A wealthy man named Nabal lived in the area who had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. He was also a descendant of Caleb who was one of the two spies who gave a favorable report when the children of Israel first entered the Promised Land after coming out of Egypt. Caleb’s son-in-law Othniel had been one of the first judges of Israel. So Nabal came from a family line with a great reputation.

David’s men were a wall of protection to Nabal, guarding his flocks from thieves and predators. David waited until sheep-shearing season, the time of celebration and feasting. Then he sent ten of his young men to Nabal to see what provisions he could spare. But Nabal responded to their request with contempt.

“Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?” (1 Samuel 25:10–11, NKJV)

When the delegation brought back this word to David, he prepared himself and four hundred men to go to war. How could anyone be so offensive toward this hero of Israel who had been so good to Nabal, his servants, and his flocks? Nabal means “fool”, and he was true to his name.

But one of Nabal’s servants told his master’s wife Abigail what had happened. She immediately understood the gravity of the situation and prepared great provisions to take to David. While her husband was selfish and greedy, Abigail had a wise and generous heart.

God places a high premium on hospitality, which is kindness to strangers. We are warned not to neglect hospitality because in so doing some have entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2). If we won’t do good to others, then the day will come when we lose it all. Remember the rich man and Lazarus? (Luke 16:19-31) But if we will freely and generously give to others, then it will come back to us pressed down and running over (Luke 6:38).

Who is coming to me for help? What is my heart toward him or her?