by Dr. Ken Matto

(1 Sam 25:3 KJV) Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.

Previously we looked at one of God’s choicest servants who was willing to die before he disobeyed God. We saw that Naboth was a just and righteous man who desired obedience to God. Today we are going to look at another man in the Old Testament but this one is the opposite of Naboth. The man we are going to look at is Nabal, his name means “fool or senseless.” Nabal was a very wealthy man but he was also a very foolish man. However, Nabal was married to one of the godliest women we find in the Bible, Abigail. Her name means “the joy of the father.” I believe this was an arranged marriage simply because Abigail was a woman of godly reputation, while her husband was a fool. What woman of godly reputation would bind herself to a fool? (Okay ladies, I didn’t mean your husbands.) The Bible calls him “churlish” which means “cruel, severe, or stubborn."  David’s men were in the wilderness and David had sent his men to Nabal to see if he would give them any sustenance. They encountered Nabal but he refused them the victuals so David’s men went back to David and told him how Nabal acted toward them.

Well David was livid when he received this report and he was ready to go to war against Nabal and teach him a lesson. After all, David and his men did not hurt any of his shearers or any of his livestock. Then one of the men had told Abigail what had transpired and she instantly went into action. She took food and drink and met David who was marching toward Nabal’s home and by her godly actions she appeased the king and a great tragedy was averted. Nabal did receive the fruits of his meanness. When Abigail had reported to Nabal everything that transpired, he became deathly sick and then ten days later the Lord struck him and he died. (1 Sam 25:38 KJV) And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died. Then Abigail became the wife of David. Ever since I first read this story in the Bible many years ago, I fell in the love with the name Abigail.

Can anything be gleaned from dissecting the life of a fool? Yes there can. First of all we see the servants of David coming to Nabal to ask for help. In the spiritual sense of this event, who is David? He is a type of Christ and his servants represent the Christians. How many times have we received the request from God’s people for help, whether it is personal help or maybe a letter from a mission society to help send forth the Gospel? If you are saved for any short period of time, the letters have already come to you. Your church always has need for workers. What was your reaction? Just because you didn’t respond as Nabal did, does that mean a refusal to help was any more pleasing to the Lord? Were you worried that your acceptance to help in the Lord’s work would dig into your personal wealth or take away time from making it? Who gives you time? Nabal made one grave mistake, he believed that he was the owner of all those goods. He failed to take into account one major principle. (Psa 24:1 KJV) The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Since he refused to learn that principle, he learned the following one very quickly. (Luke 12:20 KJV) But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? Nabal didn’t take anything with him in death, and since Abigail married David, all of Nabal’s possessions went to the very man he refused. (Prov 26:12 KJV) Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

Nabal also did not understand that by refusing the men that David sent, he was refusing David. Whenever we withhold anything from the work of the Lord, it is not the workers that we are refusing, but God Himself. It is the same principle. If God gives us something which will later be used in kingdom work, then we are not to refuse that which we are able to give. God will never ask or expect us to take out a loan or use a credit card in His work, or in any way expect us to go into debt. Many times those who have funds which could be used for the Lord’s work, may attempt to hide those funds and then tell everyone how broke they are. The problem is that God knows the truth. When we refuse the appeal of a brother or sister to help send forth the Gospel, we will not deal with them, but God Himself will deal with us. This is why many Christians go into financial reversal since they do not wish to be a team player. Nabal refused David’s men and eventually everything he had, went to David anyway. Wouldn’t it had been better to give out of his abundance to the Lord, instead of trying to hoard it? Who won out in the end anyway?

Friends or Family may not be able to bail us out. Abigail had gone to David and gave him the provisions that he and his men needed. David’s anger was appeased, however, Abigail’s generous gesture did not deliver Nabal from his greed. We see later that when he found out what Abigail did, that he may have gotten a stroke and eventually he died under God’s judgment. (Gal 6:5 KJV) For every man shall bear his own burden. Every Christian is to bear their own burden, and if we refuse to do it, then we will be responsible for the consequences of those disobedient actions. We see this principle in Nabal. If we are truly born again, we will never lose our salvation but God has much latitude to deal with us while we are still on this earth. I don’t believe that Nabal was saved but the principle of refusing God is there. When God sends a need our way, it means that He knows we can fulfill that need. When we refuse, then we face the correcting hand of God. (Prov 3:27 KJV) Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. or else we will experience the following verse. (Prov 21:13 KJV) Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. In other words, the way you have hidden yourself from the cry of souls, will be the way others will hide from you in your day of need.

There is much more that we can glean from the story of Nabal. These few principles should show us enough that when there is a need to be met in the life of a child of God, or needs to be met on a mission field, we must never turn away and think that someone else will take care of the problem. Many times needs come to us as a testing program to see who we really serve, God or goods. God wants His children to be committed unto Him and to the task of world evangelism. If every Christian who received a need request, threw it away, who would reach the unsaved masses in these final days? The false gospels and the cults, that’s who! Let us check to see if there is any of Nabal in us and if so, replace it with Naboth.