Stepping into the Line of Fire

“She fell at his feet and said, ‘I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say.”  —  1 Samuel 25:24

The beautiful wife of crude, rude and socially unacceptable Nabal had nothing to apologize for. She was putting out her husband’s fire. Nabal had refused to supply provisions for David’s troops, though they had protected his plantation. Stunned at Nabal’s discourtesy, David was en route to avenge the insult. Abigail stood between them, sensibly handling the tension, negotiating a settlement.

Her speech to David is a brilliant example of strength, cleverness, and dignity. First and foremost, she deflected the blame from Nabal to herself, which put David in a most awkward position. He could hardly take revenge on a beautiful and defenseless woman. Then she reminded David of God’s sure justice; David wouldn’t need to take revenge because God would do it for him. Finally, she reminded David of his coming greatness. Why clutter his good conscience with a hasty act of violence against a fool? Fire out.

Abigail did not have to answer for her husband’s actions. Yet she did because she saw a greater evil coming if David followed through on his emotional venting: inappropriate vengeance and the deaths of innocent people.

It takes wisdom and practice to learn the difference between meddling in business not your own (bad–Proverbs 26:17) and wounding a friend (good–Proverbs 27:6). When someone smart is about to do something dumb, consider stepping into the line of fire. Even better, when you see a fight coming, ask God to show you a smart way to end it.

Someone once wisely noted: A bull-dog can whip a skunk anytime…but it may not be worth the stink! Some fights just aren’t worth it!


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