1 Samuel 25:1b-22 – Like a 2-Year Old Being Stingy With His Toys

Posted: April 2, 2018 in Book of 1 Samuel

1 Samuel 25:1b-22
Nabal Angers David

It is funny how quickly children learn selfishness. You can watch your kids at early ages and see how protective of their stuff that they can be. They may not be playing with a toy that belongs to them and may not have played with it for months on end. However, if another child comes along and tries to play with that toy, it all of a sudden become the most important toy to them in the entire world. Little kids can have meltdowns over such things. Then, as a parent, you have to remind your child of the need to share and of the fact that they were not at the time playing with that particular toy. Trying to reason with a 2 or 3 year old child about such things is often a difficult task.

Are we not the same as adults sometimes? We find reason after reason not to be generous to others or to share what we have with others. We would rather by more toys than we need. We would rather have to rent a storage bin because we have too much stuff in our houses. We would rather gather than spread. We would rather spend more than we make than to be generous. We are like the little kid that wants to keep all his or her toys to themselves.

That’s what I thought of this morning when I read about Nabal refusing to be generous to David and his men – how we can lose sight of what God gave us our wealth for. Let’s read the passage now:

1b Then David moved down to the wilderness of Maon.[a] 2 There was a wealthy man from Maon who owned property near the town of Carmel. He had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats, and it was sheep-shearing time. 3 This man’s name was Nabal, and his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was crude and mean in all his dealings.

4 When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 5 he sent ten of his young men to Carmel with this message for Nabal: 6 “Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own! 7 I am told that it is sheep-shearing time. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them. 8 Ask your own men, and they will tell you this is true. So would you be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please share any provisions you might have on hand with us and with your friend David.” 9 David’s young men gave this message to Nabal in David’s name, and they waited for a reply.

10 “Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. 11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?”

12 So David’s young men returned and told him what Nabal had said. 13 “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. Then 400 men started off with David, and 200 remained behind to guard their equipment.

14 Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail and told her, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he screamed insults at them. 15 These men have been very good to us, and we never suffered any harm from them. Nothing was stolen from us the whole time they were with us. 16 In fact, day and night they were like a wall of protection to us and the sheep. 17 You need to know this and figure out what to do, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He’s so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!”

18 Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread, two wineskins full of wine, five sheep that had been slaughtered, nearly a bushel[b] of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys 19 and said to her servants, “Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing.

20 As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her. 21 David had just been saying, “A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. 22 May God strike me and kill me[c] if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!”

In this passage, we see that Nabal rudely refused David’s request to feed his 600 men. If we sympathize with Nabal, it is because customs are so different today. Back in the ancient Middle East, simple hospitality demanded that travelers – regardless of number – be fed. Nabal was apparently a wealthy man as we can see by the number of livestock animals he owned. Therefore, it is likely that he could have easily provided for the needs of David and his men. Secondly, David wasn’t asking for a handout. He and his men had been protecting Nabal’s workforce and so, part of Nabal’s prosperity could be attributed to David’s vigilance. With our wealth, we are called to be generous to those in need. The Lord blesses those who use their wealth to serve the Lord.

God did not grant us wealth for us to amass the most toys. He gave us great wealth to be generous to those in need and to use our money to invest in kingdom goals. Nabal allowed the pursuit of wealth, the maintenance of wealth to cloud his vision of generosity. Never let money or the lack thereof to become a god to you. Let us always put God first in our wealth and use our wealth to give Him glory not ourselves.

 

Amen and Amen.

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