Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 7 Abigail

           In God’s waiting room you may sit.  You may sit for a while; you may sit for a day.  There will come a season during your Christian walk when you not only sit, but will camp out for a season. In your marriage, you may wait.  In your marriage, God may have you be the peacemaker, be the spiritual one instructing the children and worshiping the Lord.  You sit and wait for better things to come, for God to give your husband a new spirit and the desire to know him better. 
            I too have sat.  For the first eight years of my Christian walk, I prayed, fasted, pleaded, cried and sought the Lord for Tommy.  God changed my heart first during my depression, but Tommy had not yet seen the promise of Jesus. My life, full of zeal for Yeshua, falling in love with Him more and more, was in full bloom following the Spirit.  Tommy’s life, full of work, frustrations with his job and trying patience with our family, was in full bloom for providing, working and struggling in the world.  How long would I wait? I was in God’s waiting room for eight years before He touched Tommy’s heart.  What was I doing? Believing!
            Abigail was married to a man named Nabal.  Nabal was selfish, rude, demanding, uncaring and narcissistic.  Wealthy, bloated with pride, demanding and strutting about like a bull in runt season, Nabal ruled his home with a smug, arrogant fist.  Abigail, with her peacemaking attitude, generous spirit to servants and loving heart to those around her was the exact opposite of Nabal. 
            When a certain Man of God, along with his trusty warrior comrades asked Nabal for food after weariness and battle scars plagued them, Nabal arrogantly said, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days.  Who should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (1 Samuel 25:10-11).
            Now, just to give you the context to whom Nabal was speaking, the bible declares David’s Thirty to be the strongest warriors who protected this Man of God.  According to 1 Chronicles 11:10-47, these mighty warriors could be compared to today’s Navy Seals and Combat Rangers. But the Three were declared the best. Listen to this, “Jashobeam, was chief of the officers; he raised his spear against three hundred men whom he killed in one encounter. Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men.  He was with David at Pas Dammim when the philistines gathered there for battle. At a place where there was a field full of barley, the troops fled from the Philistines.  But they took their stand in the middle of the field.  They defended it and stuck the philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory. Benaiah son Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits.  He struck down two of Moab’s best men.  He also went down in to a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.  And he struck down an Egyptian who was seven and a half feet tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptians’ hand and killed him with his own spear.  Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was a famous as the three mighty men.  He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.”
            Are we getting the picture here? I see Nabal as this fat man, sitting egotistically in his house believing his money, his ridiculous bloviated pride could protect him from these men.  These are NOT the type of men we would say no to.  If you knew thirty men were protecting you, watching your property and never once taking something that did not belong to them, would you tell them no, I will not give you food and water?  Is Nabal out of his mind?  Yes!  And when Abigail hears what happened, and more importantly who was coming, she quickly, rapidly and expediently with her courageous spirit mounted a peacemaking entourage to stop the assassination that was sure to come.  Oh Abigail was right!  David was coming with a vengeance!
“David said, ‘Put on your swords!’ So they (these mighty men) put on their swords and David put on his.  About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies. One of the servants ran to Abigail, ‘David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them.  Yet these men were very good to us.  They did not mistreat us and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing.  Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them.  Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household.  He is such a wicked man that no one can talk with him.’” (1 Samuel 25:12-17).
 Immediately, Abigail responds with two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes and two hundred cakes of pressed figs loading them on donkeys.  She commanded her servants to go, as she followed behind with the remaining peace offerings. While riding her donkey the brigade comes face to face with these courageous warriors. Can you in your mind picture this scene? A woman comes to a contingent of four hundred strong, whom are dressed to kill, ready to lay their lives down for David.  Dismounting her donkey, taking responsibility with authority, protecting her household, she falls at David’s feet (1 Samuel 25:18-19). This warrior, whom God calls “a man after my own heart” stops and listens as a woman pleads for her household and blesses him.
 Abigail, whether in fear, filled with adrenaline or calmed by the Spirit of God, approaches these warriors who are prepared to fight for David. The bible says David had just angrily declared, “It’s been useless, all my watching over this fellow’s property in the desert so that nothing of was missing.  He has paid me back evil for good. May God deal with David, but it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one make of all who belong to him!” (1 Samuel 25:20-22). Before the words were completely out of his mouth, he unexpectantly saw a beautiful woman, running towards him. Unprepared for the approaching damsel, David, bewildered, halted and watched as she fell at his feet. Two worlds collide, peace meets anger, gentleness meets aggressive testosterone and a woman’s heart meets a Man of God.
            Abigail’s quick spirit of peace softened this combatant’s heart.  After falling on the ground at David’s feet she spoke on behave of the Lord, “Now since the Lord has kept you, (David) my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, may your enemies and all who intend to harm my master (David) be like Nabal.  And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master (David), be given to the men who follow you.  Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the Lord will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master (David), because he fights the Lord’s battles.  Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live…….” (1 Samuel 25:26-31).
            The Lord quickened David’s spirit to listen and respond to Abigail with thanksgiving, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me.  May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.  Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male from Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” (1 Samuel 32-34).
Abigail, with David’s peace, returned home to find her husband holding a banquet like that of a King for himself; he was high in spirits and drunk. Having the Lord’s wisdom, she waited until morning to reveal all she had done.  Nabal died ten days later from his heart failing him. David praised God for Nabal’s death for it was God’s hand that set vengeance for Him.  Remembering Abigail, her peacemaking spirit, her gentle, loving attitude, David asked Abigail to be his wife. Her response, “Here is your maidservant, ready to serve you and wash the feet of my master’s servants.” (1 Samuel 25:39-40).
            I love this story, such hope, such encouragement, such blessing.  You may ask, how does this story relate to me while in God’s waiting room for my husband?  Sister, if God has changed your heart before your husband’s, then listen carefully.  Abigail never lost the peacemaking spirit God gave her.  Even though married, let us say to an “unbeliever”, she continued to follow God’s commands, instructing her household who loved and respected her.  The servants came to her once news filled the property of Nabal’s prideful response.  She was loved by her servants and trusted by those in her care.  Abigail followed God. 
            Her wisdom, strength and peace kept her in God’s grace.  Nabal was an ungodly man, married to a godly woman.  His worldly behavior, narcissist attitude, selfish and gluttonous mindset killed him.  Living in the world as an “unbeliever” in Christ will ultimately result in death.  Sadly, many will not respond to the call of the Lord, as Nabal refused David’s plight.  Oh, Nabal took for granted the protection of David, the security of nightly vigils the Thirty provided and profusely denied these gallant men gratitude from his household.  How often we neglect God’s grace of health, money, security and love. 
            For a wife praying and believing for her husband’s change, it is consistent with Nabal and David story.  Tommy was baptized in April of 2013, eight years after I was.  Praying and believing my loving husband would know Christ and the power of his resurrection started with me.  Once baptized, under water as Christ’s death in tomb and risen as Christ was from the grave, Tommy was a changed man.  Changed into the glory of the Lord, changed to a Christian man redeemed by the Lamb’s blood, and changed to a “man after God’s own heart” I believe Tommy reflects David’s life as a warrior for God.
            Abigail, I am sure, prayed for Nabal. Maybe she prayed for Nabal’s change into a man such as David with a warrior’s spirit, but a heart after God.  I did.  Tommy has heard me many of times pray for him and say these words, “May he (Tommy) be a friend of yours as Moses, a man after your own heart as David, as brave and courageous as Joshua and as a man given the strength of Sampson.  May Tommy be a man of Christ, gentle and the very imagine of the invisible God, a man as determined as the Apostle Paul and
tireless as the disciples.” I’ve called “what is not into being”, believing in the saving power of Christ. Maybe Abigail did the same and God answered her pray as He did mine.
            She became the bride of a man whose lineage gives life to God’s son, Jesus Christ.  I believe God will do the same for our marriages, our spouses and our purpose for His glorification. Do not quit on your husband.  Do not quit on your marriage.  Do not quit on God.  Believe He can change the unbelief in your husband to the belief in Christ, a man after His own heart. 
 God revealed something to me about this story, which I find humorous, yet at the same time heartbreaking.  The eight years I spent praying, believing and hoping God would touch Tommy’s spirit, my husband did not know I was fasting and crying for him.  I was spiritually fighting a battle Tommy knew nothing about.  I cried out to God, my stomach empty, but my heart full of praise and hope.  Nabal was completely oblivious to Abigail’s encounter with David.  Completely oblivious the household was in turmoil because of him and completely oblivious the destruction that was coming upon him.  There is a scripture in the bible I held on to during those eight years, “And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through this wife and unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?” (1 Corinthians 7:13-16). What an amazing statement from the Apostle Paul. 
 God spoke to my spirit years ago, Tommy is a good man, a man after my own heart, but you are not ready.  My own heart, as selfish as this was, was not ready to receive and follow Tommy when God touched me.  I had twenty-eight years of “Nabal” attitudes in my own life.  You know why God’s waiting room takes a while? I waited in His room, at times in tears and at times in laughter, to get the world out of me.  I believe God changed Tommy when my heart was ready to receive, but also to follow Tommy as the head of the house.  My youthful, prideful behavior took years for God to slowly, surgically remove, but thankfully, He did.  God may have done His work while I kicked and screamed, but now His work in me can be done with a thankful, submitted, obedient heart for Christ.
 God told Zechariah not to despise the days of small beginnings and I encourage you with the same message.  Let God’s work be done in you. You follow Him and when the time is right, His perfect will and timing, when you heart is prepared and ready, the Lord will touch your husband’s heart to be a man after His.  Let us pray together my sister and give God your husband, submit to His will and be encouraged by Abigail’s testimony.

Let us Pray and CONFESS the Word of God;

            My spirit resonates with Abigail and her story.  I too am waiting on my _____________ (husband).  You know my heart and I desire for ____________ (husband) to know you and the power of your resurrection (Psalm 20:4).  I pray for him to accept Christ as his Savior, free from bondage with the Blood of the Lamb and baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit to go and tell (John 11:25, Matthew 28:19).  I pray ______________ (husband) draws you close to him, saturates his life with the Word of God and conforms no longer to this world (John 10:10). 
I pray the desires of my heart are pure (Proverbs 16:2).  I pray my motives are a refection of your will and not my own (John 18:11).  I pray for the will to submit and be this godly wife who can love a man and wait for your perfect timing (1 Corinthians 7:13-16).  Lord, help me change my own life, thoughts and renew mind in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2).  Where ever I am lacking in my spiritual growth, draw me close, envelop me in your arms, be Lord of my life until you change _______________ (husband) heart.  I believe in the power of the cross, so I lay ________________ (husband) at the foot of it, our marriage, our family and our purpose together as man and wife.  I declare this day he is yours.  Help me take my hands off of my husband as the desires I have, but I give him to you Lord for your purpose and will, for you will speak to my husband different than you speak to me as a woman.
            I pray ________________ (husband) is a man after your own heart as David, a friend of yours as Moses, as strong and brave as Joshua and Gideon; determined to know you as the Apostle Paul, boldly making believers of men as the disciples and diminishing while you increase as John the Baptist.  Use ______________ (husband) for your glory, his gifts and talents, his hands and feet ready to serve (Romans 12:6-8).  I know it is in your perfect will and timing for change, so I trust you Lord.  While I wait, help me diminish and you increase (John 3:30). Give me godly discernment as when to be at church and when to be home, when to talk and when to listen (Isaiah 11:2).  I pray for the counsel of the Spirit to change my own life, my own ungodly behaviors and become more like Christ.  May I glorify you in my own wilderness season and may my testimony encourage other wives, women and sisters who are in your waiting for change.  I pray this Jesus Christ name, Amen.

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