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The Delicate Mother-In-Law Relationship - Part 1

Guest: Annie Chapman

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August 30, 2017

Don’t Take the Easy Way Out

Hardship often exposes what we truly believe about God. A woman’s faith is revealed when a situation looks hopeless and it would be much easier to give up. To give in. To stop trusting God and try to fix it all on our own. The hardships in Abigail’s life revealed her unshakable faith in God.

In the Word

Read 1 Samuel 25

David said to Abigail, "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.” 1 Samuel 25:32-33

Abigail had a very painful, difficult marriage. Her husband’s name, Nabal, meant “Fool,” and it seems to be pretty accurate representation of his personality. While David, the anointed and future king of Israel, ran from Saul, some of David’s men had spent time with Nabal’s servants and his flocks in Carmel. In fact, David’s men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and their flocks.

David’s supplies were almost exhausted, so he sent his men to ask Nabal for help. Nabal’s response was less than generous. He rudely told the men, “No way!” David was furious. He led his fully armed men back toward Nabal’s house with every intent of killing him and destroying everything Nabal had. But Nabal’s wife Abigail heard what was happening, and she intervened to stop David from this act of vengeance.

Who would have blamed Abigail if she had let David kill her “surly and mean” husband? I can imagine how hard life was for her, and now she had her chance to get rid of him. But she didn’t. She quickly loaded donkeys with the finest foods in her home, and she met David on the road before he reached her home. When she encountered him, in humility, she sought forgiveness on behalf of her husband. Then she gave him the supplies he needed, and she pleaded with him to avoid bloodshed–not for her sake, nor even for Nabal, but to keep David’s conscience and reputation spotless.

David recognized this remarkable request, and, blessed by her discernment, he did what Abigail requested. He took the supplies and left her to return to her obstinate husband. I wonder how she felt that night at dinner; she did what was right but it didn’t change her circumstances. Then God intervened. In a few days, Nabal’s “heart failed him and he became like a stone.” My husband Tim always chokes on this story…because I tell him “don’t mess with a woman who believes God!” After his death (not Tim’s!), David sent for Abigail and asked her to marry him.

This woman of faith trusted God and did what was right–and God honored her for her faith. While this story should not be taken out of context to argue that a woman should stay in an abusive situation, Abigail’s faith and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit serve as an example for us to follow.

Make it Real

Let’s get personal. The tough moments of life reveal where we put our confidence. Like when the bills go unpaid. When we’re worried about our kids. When we’re afraid of losing someone we love. When our marriage hurts. You and I have a choice how we will respond in moments of crisis and stress:

• Will I take God at his Word and choose to trust and obey him, even if I don’t understand? 


Will I panic and try to take the situation into my own hands? How do you usually respond? Do you really believe God is there for you? 

As women, we naturally like to be in control (or at least feel like we are!). But a woman who has put her faith in Jesus Christ needs to relinquish control of her life and her heart to him. To trust him. What’s amazing about modern-day Christianity is that we trust God for salvation, but we don’t believe he’s there for us…available to us…right here and now.

Think about it this way: I can trust Jesus to live in heaven for ever and ever and ever, but I don’t believe that he has any involvement in or power over the struggles I’m in right now. We often believe this lie…or at least we live like it. But when we begin to grasp that God really does love us and is deeply invested in our lives, working for our good and his glory, we can make the daily choice to live out of a God-ward faith.

For Abigail, it was Nabal she wanted to fix. What is it for you? What are the relationships or stressors in your life where you have the choice between faith and fixing?

What are some situations you’ve faced this past week that left you feeling empty and alone? How might Abigail have handled those situations?

Take a moment to read each one of these verses and think about how they apply to your life. Wherever you can do it, insert your name in the verses. Pray these passages over your heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear...” Psalm 46:1

“Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:17

Heart to Heart

There have been a lot of times in my life when I wondered if God really was who He said he was. If God really loved me, in spite of my confusion–my struggle with trusting Him. When my dad was diagnosed with advanced stage cancer, I didn’t know what to do. Tim and I really wrestled with holding onto faith, but still accepting the fact that Dad might not make it. At first, only one thought consumed my prayers, “God, heal him. I know you can.” But as time went on, and Dad started to go downhill, I began to pray, “Lord, take care of my Daddy.”

Sometimes, God’s plans don’t fit with my agenda, but I’m learning to seek God out and then trust him with my challenges. I have a sneaking suspicion that Abigail developed a habit of asking God for wisdom to cope with Nabal day after day. God answered her prayers and gave her authentic faith to trust him for direction when it really counted.

God, I believe you…and I want to believe you more. I wish I could reach out and touch you, to hear your voice so I’d know exactly what to do. I don’t have life all figured out, and sometimes I have a lot of big questions. Give me more faith to believe you and cling to your promises

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