Widow of a fool. 1 Samuel 25

Abigail has always been an interesting character (1 Samuel 25). She seems to fulfill all the descriptions in Proverbs 31 for a wife of noble character, and she is beautiful and intelligent (1 Samuel 25:3). It is all the more perplexing that she has married a fool, this man named Nabal.

Abigail must have known who this man was, and surely her family knew as well. Given the times, she likely would not have had all that much to say about who she married, but I would expect that some attempt at a decent match was made. I wonder if Nabal changed after they married or perhaps riches had gone to his head.

Considering the ‘Proverbs 31 woman’, it would seem that verse 11 did not apply in this case: her husband did not have full confidence in her and lacked plenty of value (all he lacked will have to be set aside for this post. It would get a bit long!). Nabal would not have sent Abigail as an envoy to a king. I doubt anyone at the time would have sent a woman as an envoy. Yet, we find a very capable and considerate envoy.

Abigail provides a nice formula for the approach: providing unflattering information about the enemy, her husband; then proceeding to offer a gift of food; and ends with flattery and praise of David’s work the Lord. I doubt I would have thought so quickly and prepared so well for the encounter, not in my haste to prepare the food and race out to find the gentleman intent on destroying my family. Indeed, the words and the speech that she delivers marks her as one who is close to God, only one who has gained the wisdom of God could have done so well.

Drawing near to Him, we take on His character. Abigail was level-headed in conflict, direct and truthful in her words, and had the goodwill of all on her heart. She clearly carried herself in a way that was remarkable for David to then call on her and ask her to be his wife. What a change from the wife of a fool to the wife of a king and man after God’s own heart!

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He calls on us all. John 4

Until recently, I’m not sure that I truly appreciated the story of the woman at the well, the Samaritan woman, in John 4. But I read it now and see how many traditions Jesus ignored and how many dividing walls the Samaritan woman jumped over. Both of them had much to gain and much to lose.

Jesus was expected to maintain his place, such as not talk to women in private conversation, limit dealings with Samaritans, not drink from an unclean vessel (that of a Samaritan).

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The woman was also expected to maintain distance from a stranger, was an outcast of her own people, was excluded from access to God by Jewish tradition.

I see here that Jesus calls on a Gentile, a woman, an adulterer. She converts and preaches to her neighbors. Perhaps this woman should be known as the first apostle! Paul follows in her footsteps, bringing Jesus to the Gentiles.

Jesus was so radical in His acceptance of everyone, His forgiveness for all and in His vision of we can be. He continues to offer the same to us today. He embraces you! He calls on you and can use you as you are.

Delilah – Woman of God...? Judges 16

I think that might get anyone’s attention if you know the story of Delilah and Samson found in Judges 16. When a person is so vengeful and deceitful, surely they are not one of God’s own. I guess in the traditional sense, I would concede. Hers the rub: God created Delilah and God used her to bring about His purposes.

This story brings to mind the people that we have such a hard time getting along with. The ones that don’t seem to be completely forthcoming, the ones who find gain in all the bad, the ones who seem to come out on top every time, the ones who don’t seem to care much about others. My husband was in just such a situation with not one, but two people. Looking back on it now, it wasn’t just people God put there to test and try us, but I am certain that my husband was there to protect and support others who were in their path. As imperfect as we are, God may not put these people in our path just to challenge or develop us and make us grow. In tough times, we often see only the our own tough spot, but here, at least in hindsight, I can see that God may also have us there to alleviate the troubles of others.

So, was Delilah a woman of God. Not by most standards, but God still used her for His purposes. It just might take time to see that purpose when we face our own Delilahs.