Wisdom for Influence

Tuesday 12 July

Sarah Richards of Cornerstone church, Swansea explores the story of Abigail who challenged the present situation with wisdom in order to create a better future. Kerry Stewart brings you a summary of this encouraging seminar of an inspiring Biblical woman. (Women's Seminar)

Starting to look at the story of David in 1 Samuel 22.

David was anointed King as a young lad as he had been selected into the court of King Saul. He was on a meteoritic ride when he became successful and a brave warrior who had fame and riches, he was handsome and tanned.  As well, “All Israel and Judah loved him”.

Soon, Saul becomes jealous of this story so David had to run for his life. He wasn’t alone in his situation but was joined by hundreds of other rag-tag outlaws. They lived in the caves and forests, and they acted in a brutal way because they were angry and discontent. David woke up in the morning thinking; will I be dead by lunchtime? Will I achieve the destiny that God has called me to?

In 1 Samuel 25 we meet Abigail, the intelligent and beautiful wife of Nabal who was, v3 “surly and mean in his dealings”.

Nabal had refused to help David when asked so his camp was now about to be put under attack. Abigail decided to act to rescue the situation, and she did so quickly. She sent ahead gifts to David and his men that helped to persuade David against killing everyone at the camp. In the hierarchy of everything, Abigail was not much higher than a servant so what chance would a woman stand in a male dominated arena when all she had was a donkey in the ravine? She bowed down and fell at David’s feet, and delivered a master plan.....

1) She takes the blame – Abigail presents a case by explaining that the message didn’t reach her.  The gifts that were offered solved one problem which then swayed the anger of David and his men.

v23 “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say”.

This recognition of who David is, which her husband had chosen not to make, showed respect but also humility through an apology. David at this time is a penniless outlaw but Abigail displays the wisdom of respect that gets things done. Here, it paved the way.

2) She speaks David’s language - By understanding who David is and where he is now, Abigail can put herself into his shoes and use his circumstances to speak over him,

v28 “The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord”

David is listening now.

v30 “When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself”.

This is really outspoken. She had guts, enough to tell David a harsh truth using powerful language. She doesn’t back off, but takes a risk in the moment by appealing to his sense of righteousness and honour. And, a masterstroke, while she has him there she adds, “And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

I would love to be like her with the wisdom to know when to hold back or when to speak. Her courage prompted David to react by blessing her and underlying the point that if she had failed to act quickly no man belonging to Nabal would have survived by daybreak.

Abigail goes home to tell Nabal the good news but finds her husband lording over a banquet, drunk on wine and unable to listen. When he does hear from his wife the next morning his heart fails him and becomes like stone. He died ten days later. Through foolishness he loses his life. David found out about this and sent for Abigail to come and be his wife. She was smart and courageous so David wanted her on team. This young girl goes from desert to palace with a humble attitude; she was spiritual, she had godly wisdom. This young girl changed a future king’s life.

What can we learn from Abigail?

1) How powerful wisdom is – Sometimes we don’t have a position to bring influence but we can use wisdom to have an impact.

“We can change our future by exercising wisdom”

There is no reason why we can’t have God’s wisdom in us daily. It begins with our thinking and that’s outworked in the things we say and do.

2) Abigail lost no time – Straight into respond. She was not rash but considered. This challenges me because there are times when I procrastinate in certain areas of my life. What is it that we are putting off? David told Abigail if she hadn’t acted quickly many people would have been killed.

3) Generosity – With Nabal, there was no reciprocation but wisdom gives way to a generous spirit. Nabal lost it all – he could have affected those men but he wasn’t willing to share. We have many resources but as we are open and give to others, God blesses us more because He knows we will be generous with these things.

4) Wisdom outworked as courage – I find many things quite frightening, I need to ask God to walk with me. Some people around you need you to be brave and to speak up for them. We need to give our best skill to God’s work. Often we are distracted and give our best energies to other things. We all have things we are good at, but wouldn’t it be great to get even better.

5) Humility – The path of wisdom is humility not pride. Insecurity and pride are like a double-sided coin making people quite resistant to help.

6) Wise thinking – Abigail brought a fast solution. What would you or I have done? When crisis comes, what do we do? Abigail applied right thinking in that moment. We can create the mind-set of thinking, ‘how can I sort this? Attack the negative thoughts with Godly thinking and be solution orientated.

7) Spiritual – An authentic relationship between you and Jesus that is personal to us; that is our joy. In Abigail’s situation, it was her spirituality that gave her the wisdom to take the blame for Nabal. Let’s foster honesty and not be worried to take the blame because you can’t go too far wrong by saying sorry.

8) What we say – As women, sometimes we say too much. We have power in our speech that affects those around us. Speech can bring life, growth and change although there are times we need to bite our tongue and say nothing at all.  We can choose self-control. 

These points apply to how we talk about our church too. The church is the bride of Christ and sometimes we speak against it as if it is someone else’s deal. It is so precious to Jesus therefore we should guard the church and speak well of it. When I read about Abigail, and how she acted, I want to be like her.

When you pray, ask Jesus to help you that in your spirit He will prompt me, open your eyes to meet the need, direct you and use you day by day. Use you with wisdom to bring wisdom to you surroundings, in this nation, to do amazing things. This is the time to be wise in all our dealings so that when people encounter Jesus they can avail of the wisdom that comes through us, with God’s help, to bring wisdom for influence.