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“More Than Conquerors” Episode 3: “Wise Woman Conquers Warriors” Subtitle: “Fools, Fear, and Food”
He rode with 600 men, armed with the weapons of war prepared to kill his enemy. But he was intercepted by his enemy’s wife and her small entourage of servants. This woman completely disarmed and conquered this mighty warrior and his men. Her name is Abigail and the warrior is David, who would one day be King of Israel. Today, we will find out how Abigail overcame fear and conquered David in this episode of “More Than Conquerors.” My name is Stephanie Wright. Let’s get started.
Hello Everyone and welcome to Episode 3, of our series, “More Than Conquerors.” This series is about overcoming and conquering fear. Today we will have a brief review of past episodes, then we will start Episode 3, “Wise Woman Conquers Warriors” Subtitle: “Fools, Fear, and Food” based on 1 Samuel 25. I will also be sharing a personal experience I had with overcoming and conquering fear. We encourage you to listen to Episodes 1 and 2 of this series. In Episode 1, we interviewed Apostle Charles G. Wright and learned how he overcame and conquered his fears in war and received the Bronze Star with the “V” Device (for heroism) and the Purple Heart (for injuries he sustained in war). In Episode 2, we listed five points on how to overcome and conquer fear learned from Episode 1. We also studied the roots of fear and how it was the first emotion Adam and Eve experienced after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We believe that is the reason fear is a favorite tool of the devil to try to intimidate us and why the topic of fear is so prevalent in the Bible. We also emphasized that God has not given us the spirit of fear but love, power and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7.
This week we're looking at a woman named Abigail who conquered fear by running to danger instead of running from it. There are so many ways to describe this woman Abigail. She was a mediator, an intercessor, a strategist, a wife, a home manager who was loved by and was trusted by her servants. She was also described as beautiful and knew how to capture a man’s heart. Most of all, she was brave but she did not arm herself with the usual weapons of war, instead she wielded the weapons of wisdom, humility, and believe it or not, food. Our scripture is from the Book of I Samuel, Chapter 25.
Abigail was married to a man named Nabal (pronounced Nay’ ball). He was a rich man, but despite all of his wealth, the Bible describes him also as a harsh and evil man in I Samuel 25:3, and a man who was described by his shepherds and his servants as the son of Belial.
In other words, the son of the devil to whom no man can speak. 1 Samuel 25:17. And don't ask me why anybody would name their child something that means "fool" 1 Samuel 25:25. So, whether that was a name that was given to him at his birth, or because of his character that showed over time, we're not certain, but the man's name meant fool. And he certainly lived up to it in I Samuel 25. Nabal counted among his wealth, 3000 sheep and 1000 goats. 1 Samuel 25:2. Now that must have been a lot back in that day, but what is most important about this is the fact that this chapter takes place during sheep shearing time. David's men were providing protection for Nabal's sheep shearers, who apparently could have become victims of thieves.
If you look at verse 16, people could have attacked them, killed them, probably taken the sheep, but David and his band of men, and I believe there were 600 men who were following him at the time, provided protection for Nabal's men. When the sheep shearing time was over, David sent his servants to Nabal to request some type of compensation for protecting Nabal's shepherds and the sheep sheers. This apparently was something that was accepted at that time. You would ask for some type of compensation for protecting the people who were looking after your possessions. So, despite the respect and humility shown by David's service, Nabal refused to compensate David and his men, and he not only refused to compensate them, he was very disrespectful to David. Just downright rude with the things that he said in verse 10. He said to the servants, "Who is this David and who is the son of Jesse? There be many servants nowadays that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers and give it unto men whom I know not who they are? So, this was the response that Nabal had to David's men. The men went back and told David what Nabal said, and it was purposed in David's heart that he was going to go and kill Nabal, destroy his household, which would have included Nabal's wife, Abigail. But Abigail had a very good relationship with her servants and she was warned of Nabal's rudeness to David. One of her servants came and said, "Do you know what your husband did?" They probably wanted to say, “Do you know what that fool did?” but out of respect for Abigail did not say that. But his name did mean "fool."
So, let's stop and breath right here. There was no need for Nabal to provoke David. As we shall see, he probably knew of David's reputation of invading nations and killing the men and women. So, why would he think he would escape David's wrath? We learn later that Nabal had a drinking problem, so maybe he was just too tanked up to realize just what he was doing. Moving on.
The servant warned Abigail that something evil is going to happen to Nabal and to his household. 1 Samuel 25:17-22, 34. It's repeated that there was going to be something bad. It was going to happen but not if Abigail had a say. And she did have a say.
I am sure at the moment the servant delivered the bad news that her household was in danger, she felt fear try to get its grip on her. But she did not spend precious time thinking about fear. Instead, she made haste and had a peace offering of bread, wine, sheep, corn, raisins, and fig cakes prepared for David and his men. She sent the servants ahead of her and then she followed behind them. But she did not tell Nabal what she was doing because she knew he would live up to his name and do something foolish - like stop her from taking the peace offering. Wisdom prevailed over fear.
As she drew near to where David and his men were, she saw them coming and the Bible says they were coming against her. They were coming toward her in a manner that was threatening, in a manner that she knew was not a good thing. But, did she turn around and run? No, instead of turning around and running, this woman - and this is important- this woman continued on in the path facing David. Praise God. She did not let their approach scare her. She was courageous in the midst of her own battle. She wasn't moved by David and his 600 men. If she was impressed, she did not show it. If she was afraid, she did not show it. She pressed on. And when she finally came face to face with the enemy she did not back down.
A whole lot of times, in this life we will face all kinds of enemies. We face tests, trials, tribulations daily. But let me tell you something, we have to be like, Abigail. We have to face the enemy head on and not back down. There will be times, you will have to stand flat footed and look that devil in his eye and say, I will not be moved. I'm going to stand and face you because I know the God that I serve is standing with me. The Holy Ghost in me, angels all around me. I shall not be moved. I thank God for Abigail.
Now, here I will interject the personal experience I alluded to at the beginning of this episode where I had to stand tot‑to‑toe with enemy. We will get back to Abigail and David but bear with me because you need to know that when I tell you, you can overcome and conquer fear, it is something I have done not just talked about doing.
I will not use exact names in this account for obvious reasons. I was the only African‑American attorney hired in
the office of a particular federal agency. One supervisor I had was particularly difficult and made my life miserable. It was so bad that one day, he came into a room full of people while were in
in‑house training, stopped the training, stood over me while everyone was watching and began to berate me about the quality of a brief I had written. He asked me if I wanted to come to his office and
discuss the brief. I told him “no” I did not. He left the training session. I stayed to the end of the training but afterward, I immediately reported his action, first to his supervisor then to the
top person in charge of the office. He was forced to apologize to me the next day (I knew because the apology was very reluctant). His badgering me ended for a season, however, I think it might have
been two years later, he reviewed another work product of mine. He was displeased because I did not accept the recommendation he offered. On this particular evening, he appeared in my office doorway
and said, “I’m going to do something about you.” It was a sort of surreal experience but I did not hesitate to look him straight in his face and tell him, “Do whatever you’re going to do.” And do you
know what he did? Absolutely nothing. I had weathered the storms of his threats and intimidation. Our relationship did end on a professional, civilized and respectful note by the time we parted
Okay, back to Abigail and David.
Sometimes it can hurt when you know that you're not the one in the wrong and apologize for someone else’s mistakes or misdeeds as Abigail did for Nabal. Nevertheless, love makes us intercede for others when they are in the wrong. And isn't that being like Christ? He did nothing wrong yet, he humbled himself even to death on the cross so we could be forgiven and be reconciled back to God. Philippians 2:8 "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." I think about little children and how parents will apologize for them because they really don’t intend to do some of the things they do.
Now, before we get into what Abigail did when she finally reached David, let me say this. These events occurred over 3,000 years ago and women them were very subservient to men. Some would say they were simply very respectful but we are not going to get into semantics. How Abigail responds to meeting David is not as important as understanding we should respect our enemies. The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:25 to agree with our adversary quickly, while we are with him or her and heading to court (or to some other decision‑rendering event) so that our adversary does not turn us over to the judge and the judge deliver us to the officer, and we be cast into prison. So, let’s agree that Abigail did what she needed to do according to the custom in that day. Likewise, we would do what we needed to do according to today’s custom to save our lives and lives of our loved ones. That being said, let’s return to Abigail and David.
When Abigail arrived to where David was, she was humble - totally the opposite of what her husband was like. Abigail jumped down off that donkey and fell at the feet of David and begged forgiveness for her husband and without hesitation says in 1 Samuel 25:24-25: “Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. 25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.” She asked that her husband's folly be attributed to her. She said without mincing words, "I know my husband is fool and a devil and if your men had come to me, surely I would have fed them.”
She then proceeds to praise David, acknowledging the work that he did in the name of the Lord. She calls him a good man. She talks his language in verse 29. This woman says in verse 28, "I pray thee forgive the trespass of thine handmaid." And it wasn't her trespass, it was her husband's trespass. " . . .for the Lord will certainly make my Lord a sure house." And she's talking to David. God is going to make you a sure house. She's heaping praise on him. "Because my Lord fights the battles of the Lord and evil has not been found in the all that days." This woman knew how to work it." Verse 29. "Yet a man is risen to pursue thee and to seek thy soul. But the soul of my Lord, " - she keeps referring to him as my Lord humbling herself, "my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord, thy God and the souls of thine enemy, them shall he sling out as out of the middle of a sling."
Now I'm going to stop right there because you see she's talking his language. She is being very diplomatic. She knew the right words to say. This lets us know, this woman knew who David was because, what is she doing? She is referencing Goliath in I Samuel 17, David was known throughout the nations for his slaying Goliath. Abigail knew his history, she talked his language. She talks the kind of talk she knows is going to convince him to have mercy on her family. She says, God is going to give him life and sling out the souls of his enemies out of the middle of a sling. Again, she is using wisdom while being humble. Well, she could have been trembling inside, scared, afraid, but she knew she had to stand.
So, by the time Abigail got through with David, he was thanking God for sending her and keeping him from killing Nabal and his household (which included Abigail) because she had saved him from doing something that he probably, well, he knew he would have regretted. Abigail's peace treaty was ratified. She came as a Secretary of State on behalf of over her household. Praise God. And she brought the peace treaty in the form of food and drink and her eloquent words and her humility and her standing strong and unafraid.
That was what she did. So, Abigail returns home and apparently Nabal had had a drunken feast in celebration of the sheep shearing time. He was so drunk by the time Abigail got home, she didn't tell him what she had done until the next day. 1 Samuel 25: 36-37. You know, she was a wise woman, as we already said. She told him just how close to death he had come, how close he had come to destroying his entire household, his family. How close he had come to his wife being killed. And apparently, once Nabal sobered up from his drunkenness the reality of near death hit him. Nabal had a heart attack and he died about 10 days later. So, you know, judgment came. God gives everyone an opportunity to change their ways. Some people though, they would just as soon die than repent and to say, I'm sorry, because certainly Nabal could have repented.
David learns of Nabal's death and we learn that he then takes Abigail to wife. I Samuel 25:39.
So, we learn a lot from Abigail about overcoming fear: Don’t let fear take conquer you, you conquer fear by staying in control (Abigail did not take time to dwell on fear but took action swiftly to save her family-sort of reminds me of Rahab another woman we studied in an earlier podcast); know your enemy (Abigail was armed with enough knowledge about David, the person who could have destroyed her and her family, that she was able to disarm him); respect your adversary and they will respect you (Abigail gained the respect of her adversary by being fearless); be humble and use wisdom (Abigail gave David a peace offering of food and drink and that sealed the deal! After all, that was all he wanted at the very beginning.).
I am going to end this episode by saying, Abigail was a woman to die for. What do I mean by that? Well, tune in next week for Episode 4, "A Woman to Die For" Subtitled: "Taking It All Back." Thank you for joining us for this episode in “More Than Conquerors.” If you would like to share a personal experience about overcoming and conquering fear, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org This is Stephanie Wright. Until next time, may God’s love, peace and protection be with you.