One of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned them... Now therefore…consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.”
Excerpts from I Samuel 25:14-17
Have you ever known someone who was their own worst enemy? They seem to go from one crisis to the next and are completely unaware that much of it is due to their own poor decisions. Maybe you tried to tell them this, but you learned your lesson. No one can tell them anything. They're convinced that everything is someone else's fault. Even when they do take responsibility for something they are careful to point out that they weren't as wrong as everyone else thinks they were.
Nabal was kind of like that. He was a rich man, but his name means fool and his loved ones describe him in the most unflattering of terms. One of his employees said he was harsh, evil in his dealings, and completely unwilling to receive correction. You see David sent men to Nabal asking him for food as repayment for David's army protecting his flocks. This was in keeping with the custom of the day, and David's men were very respectful. But Nabal dealt harshly with them, insulted David and his family, and sent them away empty-handed. In a fit of rage, David and his men strap on their swords and ride out exact revenge. But Nabal's household intervenes.
One of his young men runs to tell Nabal's wife, Abigail. Abigail knows that Nabal is a "worthless fool" who will never listen so she is forced to go behind his back and clean up his mess. She gathers food and rides out to meet David with an apology. David relents, Abigail is praised, and Nabal is struck dead by the Lord ten days later.
One of the things we can't help but notice in this passage is how much better off Nabal would have been had he been willing to receive correction from those who loved him. Those around him knew his flaws better than he did. Don't think for a second that your co-workers, spouse, and friends don't know yours. Believe me, they do. They know them all too well, even the ones you're blind to. You see just like Nabal we are often blind or overly dismissive of our faults. That's why we all need people we can trust to lovingly confront us when we are headed for disaster.
Do you listen to those around you? Do you intentionally give the people you trust permission to draw your attention to your struggles and failings? Is anyone holding you accountable? If not, then I would challenge you to choose someone you love and trust and ask them these questions:
- What sin do you see in my life?
- Do you think I am harsh or that I mistreat people in any way?
- What faults or poor choices do you see in my life that you think maybe I am blind to or overly dismissive of?
Go ahead, ask someone. I dare you!