I’ve sat with the same passage of scripture in front of me for over three months, “chewing on it,” and “chewing” some more. Several times I tried to find a take-away and move on, but, each time, it was over-generalized, and my heart was not satisfied. Then, at just the right time, the purpose that God had for me in this story became clear and it spoke wisdom into a trial that my husband and I were facing.
Although my childhood summers came each year by way of a country dirt road, I failed to learn the reason that cows chew all the time. The term “ruminate” means to meditate or ponder something. The meaning is derived from the part of the cow’s stomach called the rumen, whose function it is to return cud to the mouth to be re-chewed. The food travels through 4 sections of the stomach to fully process and break down the food enough to be digested.
The four parts of the cow’s stomach have become my physical picture of this process that I often follow when studying scripture. Each time this story moved from one part of my ‘spiritual stomach’ to the next, it was becoming softer, and I was gathering bits of nutrients until it was ready to be fully consumed – providing nourishment to my heart, mind and soul.
In the story of Abigail, located in 1 Samuel 25:2-42, Abigail is described as intelligent and beautiful, while her husband Nabal (whose name means ‘fool’) is described as brutish and rude. King David sends men to ask Nabal for some food to feed his men in return for the protection they had helped to provide Nabal’s shepherds and flocks. In a prideful response, Nabal insulted David and refused to share provisions. When David heard of Nabal’s response, he rallied 400 men to ride towards Nabal on a kill mission. Nabal’s servants who heard this interaction went directly to Abigail to ask for her intervention.
From here, I encourage you to read the exact interaction between Abigail and David in 1 Samuel 25:23-42. Look beyond the surface and recognize the ways that her speech is woven with evidence of God’s having molded her heart over time.
Here are a few of the spiritual truths that God confirmed through Abigail’s story:
- The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.
- Abigail feared the Lord more than she feared David, his men or Nabal.
- “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
- Wisdom produces Humility
- Abigail’s approach towards David wasn’t strategic – she didn’t have time to be strategic. Her words and her actions were a pure response from her heart.
- “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)
- “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)
- Humility precedes Grace.
- Abigail bore the burden that belonged to her husband. “She fell at [David’s] feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. (1 Samuel 25:24)
- . . . Clothe yourself with humility toward one another because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5)
- Godly Wisdom produces Peace.
- Abigail’s wisdom in her reasoning with David was honoring to God and it changed the course of David’s response to Nabal.
- “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18)
- Reward begins with the Fear of the Lord.
- The lives of many men were spared, and David later remembered Abigail and asked her to become his wife.
- “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)
My spiritual journey through this story began with a bite that was too big to swallow. It required meditation and the reference of many other verses to break it down into the purpose God had for me at the time. It’s your turn, go find a passage to chew on for a while. Moo.
About the Author:
Audra has a passion for encouraging women in their roles at home in both marriage and motherhood. She enjoys sharing her journey of refinement and learning through these important transitions on her blog called The Homegrown Project.