There are times in our lives when it all just doesn’t seem fair.
We’re praying, we’re studying the Word, we’re coming to church and revival, we’re tithing, and we’re thrown smack in the middle of a trial, a big trial, /with/ persecution.
How we deal with that persecution is important.
This morning we’ll look at an episode in David’s life where he didn’t react the way we thought he would.
David had been serving Saul as a warrior by day and as the King’s private Praise & Worship leader by night.
Saul’s son Jonathan was his best friend.
And then everything was wonderful until Saul became jealous of David.
His jealousy grew to the point that he threw a spear at David coming so close that he pinned his cloak to the wall.
David ran for his life and was labeled an outlaw.
That doesn’t seem fair.
He was doing his job and doing it well and his boss flipped out and started a plan of persecution against him.
Ever been there?
At the point we pick up the story this morning, David had acquired a band of followers.
These were all people that Saul despised – 600 of them.
We know that David was a great warrior, this group became his army.
There were others faithful to David: people from his hometown, some priests, women, children who became in Saul’s eyes his enemies.
Saul was relentless in his pursuit of David.
In the town of Nob he had 86 priests as well as their families murdered because they had fed David & his troops.
People who were David’s friends when he was in the palace told lies about him to Saul when David ran for his life.
You know people like that?
We call them fair-weather friends.
They’re with you when things are going good and against you when someone else is in the lime-light.
We know that David had chances to kill Saul during his pursuit, in fact, many people expected him to, but he didn’t.
He chose to trust that God would work things out.
Despite what was going on around him – God would work things out.
By then end of chapter 24 of 1 Samuel we think David has it all together.
He’s passed the test.
He showed compassion.
He just cut off the hem of Saul’s cloak rather than kill him.
Saul had even said that David was a better man that he.
But that wasn’t enough to stop Saul’s persecution of David.
Which brings us to the question for this morning, after you have been persecuted and shown compassion to those above you, how do you respond, when you are in the place of authority – when you have the power?
Turn to 1 Samuel 25:2
*2 A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy.
He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel.
3 His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail.
She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings.*
Calebite: Who was Caleb?
Caleb from Joshua & Caleb, the 2 spies who had a good report about the Promised land.
Nabal was one of his descendants.
*4 While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep.
5 So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name.
6 Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household!
And good health to all that is yours!*
*7 “‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time.
When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing.
8 Ask your own servants and they will tell you.
Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time.
Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’”*
This is a common middle eastern custom.
Bedouin tribes live on the borders of the desert.
In exchange for gifts they guarantee the protection for shepherds.
It’s a good deal.
*9 When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name.
Then they waited.*
*10 Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David?
Who is this son of Jesse?
Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days.
11 Why 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?”*
Nabal knew who David was.
David was a military hero but, David’s troop included many runaway slaves, as well as men who had abandoned Saul’s army.
Since David was now a fugitive Nabal looked upon David as a mere runaway slave.
There are 2 points I want to make here.
* First, you are identified by the people you surround yourself with.
David gave the run-aways and deserters status – after all he was a great military hero.
But if you look at it from the other side – Nabal’s side, his association with run-aways & deserters made you look at David that way.
He had run-away from Saul and had in essence deserted Saul’s army.
* Second, the enemy has come to kill, steal and destroy your reputation.
People will ignore all the good you have done in the past and focus on your fall.
Forget that David & his men had protected your sheep & shepherds from harm.
He was a criminal.
He didn’t deserve any payment.
*12 David’s men turned around and went back.
When they arrived, they reported every word.*
Here comes the test.
Will David show Nabal the same compassion he showed Saul?
After all, in a way he had served them both.
*13 David said to his men, “Put on your swords!”
So they put on their swords, and David put on his.
About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.*
Did David act in compassion?
What emotion describes his reaction?
What did David intend to do? Kill Nabal and take what he wanted.
Would that have been a wise thing to do? No, it would have made David a murderer.
Now remember, David was still God’s choice for king.
God provided a way of escape for David.
*14 One of the servants told Nabal’s wife Abigail: “David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them.
15 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.
16 Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them.
17 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 to him.”*
*18 Abigail lost no time.
She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.
19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.”*
The fact that Abigail was able to gather so much food so quickly shows how wealthy Nabal was.
If this much food was on hand, it makes Nabal’s reply to David all the worse.