The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
There’s an old saying that you should never get into a fight with a skunk, because before it’s over you both will stink.
In the 25th chapter of 1 Samuel, David and his 600 men have been riding the parameters of the property of a wealthy man named Nabal. They had served as security for the man’s property, livestock and personal safety. While David and his men did not expect pay for their work, it was customary for the landowner to provide food and care to those who defended his flocks. When David sent 10 of his men to ask for food from Nabal, his reaction was extremely negative. “Who is David?” He likely intended to be more like, “Who does David think he is?” The text tells us that Nabal was truly a mean person and a dishonest businessman.
The name Nabal is from the Hebrew word meaning fool. A nabal was someone who was hard hearted and intrenched in his foolishness. Nabal was a fool. But here is where things get sticky. This David who was normally levelheaded and had demonstrated the wisdom of a man who would not seek foolish revenge, became so angry at Nabal’s insulting reply that he put on his own sword and told his men to put on their swords and they would ride to where Nabal was and take revenge on this evil man. There is no doubt Nabal deserved this punishment, it was not the way of the Lord.
The levelheaded wife of Nabal, the beautiful Abigale learned of what had happened and gathered up a huge amount of food and took it to David, to calm him down. The gesture worked! She begged him not to kill her foolish husband with the rebuke that it was not the way God would want him to do it. What she did was to keep David from joining in her own husband’s foolishness.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul warns us against revenge in Romans 12:17-21. He writes,
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Paul warns us not to do battle with skunks. Let God handle that skirmish. He knows best what punishment is deserved and what is in the heart of the perceived skunk. Overcoming evil with good is the way you keep the nasty skunk odor off and keep the sweet fragrance of God’s love on our lives.
This Sunday morning we will continue our series of messages on WHEN GOD BUILDS A KING How a lowly shepherd became a great king with a message titled The Beauty and the Fool based on 1 Samuel 25:1-42. I hope you will join the church family in this powerful message from God’s Word.
Keeping the stinky off with you,