If we have ever needed peacemakers on our land, the time is now.
On almost every subject, we are divided down to the core of our beings. We live in a society of I am right and you are wrong, and I will hurl insults until you believe like me.
The story of Abigail, told in 1 Samuel 25-2, shows there have always been stiff-necked people. Abigail was in an arranged marriage to Nabal, a Calebite. Nabal was a surly man and mean in his dealings. He was also wealthy and had drunken banquets that lasted late into the night.
David was still running from Saul and was camped in the hills around Nabal’s land, thus offering protection to his servants and his animals. David sent Nabal a message asking for some provisions, since he hadn’t taken anything but had given protection.
Nabal sent back a message of insult to David, who told his men to put on their swords. He took 400 men with him, intending to slaughter all the males in Nabal’s camp.
A servant told Abigail what had happened. She realized disaster was hanging over the heads of all the people around her. She quickly instructed the servants to gather supplies and load the animals. She went with the supplies to plead with David. When they met in a mountain ravine, Abigail got off her donkey and fell at David’s feet.
Abigail didn’t excuse Nabal, but she did challenge David to not do anything foolish just because he was angry. She reminded him who he was and that he didn’t need to compromise himself in a fit of rage, and thus compromise God’s name.
David gave a shout of praise for Abigail’s good judgment, and accepted her supplies and sent her back home with a promise of no harm being done to Nabal and his household.
We need to be like Abigail and look beyond the present crisis to the big picture. We need to use our skills to promote peace. We can be loyal to God’s calling on our lives and still be people of peace. Whatever we face during these times, we need to do it as a person under God’s control and not in our own strength — as a peacemaker.
“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).
Jones is prayer coordinator for Fellowship of Christian Farmers International.