1 Samuel 25:18-31 The Power of the Intercessor
1 Samuel 25:18-31
18 Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread, two wineskins full of wine, five sheep that had been slaughtered, nearly a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys 19 and said to her servants, “Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing.
20 As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her. 21 David had just been saying, “A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. 22 May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!”
23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. 25 I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests. But I never even saw the young men you sent.
26 “Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, since the Lord has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is. 27 And here is a present that I, your servant, have brought to you and your young men. 28 Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life.
29 “Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! 30 When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, 31 don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant.”
David’s kindness is repaid with evil, his request for provisions is spurned and his goodwill discredited. David, in a fit of anger musters 400 men with a vow to destroy Nabal’s entire family by morning. Enters Abigail, a woman of beauty and composure, an intercessor that won David’s favor. Her intercession not only saves her entire household, she stops David from committing murder, an irreversible blemish that will hinder his ascension to the throne. Today’s episode shows us the criteria of an effective intercessor and the importance of keeping an unblemished legacy.
“Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly” – Abigail mops up the mess that Nabal has created, the ultimate snob and spoiled brat of the town. She gathers choice food and loads them on 19 donkeys, enough to feed an army. She hurried the servants and the load-bearing donkeys ahead of her while she rides up into a mountain ravine in time to see David and his men coming toward her. While David is still boiling with rage having received evil for good, Abigail quickly gets off her donkey and bows humbly before him.
“I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say” – Her conciliatory words are like ice-cold water on burning coal. She accepts all responsibility on behalf of her husband Nabal, a welcomed propitiation that starts David listening. First, she reminds David of the grave consequences should he take matters into his own hands by committing murder. Second, she speaks of God’s eventual vindication and protection of the righteous: let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is. She also reminds David of his kingly destiny and the need to keep his legacy unstained and pure. Thirdly, she accepts total responsibility on behalf of her husband and presented to David the choice food they desired.
When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, don’t let this be a blemish on your record – Perhaps, what makes Abigail an obvious choice for a queen is her wisdom in helping David shift his focus from the present burden of justice to the future vindication of his righteousness. Justice is worth waiting for in order to avoid the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance.
1. When God’s favor is with you, He will forgive and bless those whom you intercede for. Abigail intercedes for her husband Nabal and he is spared from death. Moses intercedes for the Israelites and God did not destroy them despite their unbelief (Deuteronomy 9:25). Abraham intercedes for Lot and he is spared from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:22-33). Jesus intercedes for believers that they may attain His glory (John 17:20-22). Paul intercedes for believers of Ephesus that they may be given the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:16-18). Notice, these intercessors are full of favor with God; they obey Him despite a myriad of temptations and suffering. The Psalmist says,
The Lord favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness. Psalm 147:11
Therefore, to be effective intercessors, believers must gain God’s favor by walking in the fear and the love of God. When we put on the whole armor of God, and being vigilant to do battle against the works of darkness, we will carry the authority to intercede for the world. Paul says,
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, … With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth.
How then do believers intercede effectively? The below are the kind of prayers that are emphasized by Jesus and the apostles.
- Pray that more laborers and disciples may enter into the kingdom’s work (see Matthew 9:38).
- Pray that governors be constrained to rule righteously with justice and wisdom (see 1 Timothy 2:1-2).
- Pray that the doors of the gospel may be opened (see Colossians 4:3) and for missionaries to be emboldened to do their work (see Ephesians 6:19-20).
- Pray for the sanctification of believers through the Spirit (see Ephesians 1:17-19)
- Pray for believers to be armored and to be vigilant all the time (see Ephesians 6:11-18).
- Send the angels out to do their work of protecting, ministering and warring (see Hebrews 1:14).
2. We must endeavor to keep a clean record and not to violate the 10 commandments. The 10 commandments function as boundaries that must never be transgressed as they cause the person to be exposed to the attacks of the devil. Abigail warns David of the consequence of murder that will blemish his record and burden him needlessly. Blemish here refers to a record of a transgression that carries a consequence that is irreversible giving the devil the right to strike. David narrowly escapes this temptation that is laid upon him by the devil. Later on in David’s career, in the hit of passion, he committed murder of a man whose wife he desires. That blemish results in the death of a child and invokes the curse of murder and deception within his family. Certain sins have greater consequences than others and they carry far-reaching and wide-ranging effects.
- Do you react impulsively and lose your temper when being treated unjustly? Or do you stop and consider the consequences of your actions? Beware of the devil’s traps that may discredit you by blemishing your records.
- Are you a peacemaker in your company and family? Do you intercede for others so as to create peace in the organization? Peacemakers step back and distant themselves from their emotions in order to create objectivity and clarity of direction in any disputes.
Dear Lord, use me as an intercessor and listen to my prayers. I desire the people of my country to fear God, to love justice, and to be humble. Use me as a peacemaker in my family and organization, not to expose the weaknesses of others, but to build love and unity. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.