New life verse: Psalm 77:11-12.

Devotional: Who deserves what?

1 Samuel 30:23-25, NKJV - But David said, “My brethren, you shall not do so with what the Lord has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.” So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.

When you come to understand that it is God who gives the victory and the blessings, there happens a shift in perspective about matters of entitlement. The men who wished to withhold the spoils from the ones who stayed behind…they were “wicked” men as described in the passage. Theirs wasn’t a justified claim. How they were wicked, the Bible didn’t specify. It could be greed – they wanted more for themselves. It could be pride – they thought their job was more important. It could be entitlement – they thought they deserved more. Whatever their motivation was, it didn’t come from a pure heart.

David saw it from God’s perspective. With about 200 men too weary to push forward, it seemed David’s crew was at a disadvantage. But instead of fuming, David was quick to reorganize so that these men wouldn’t be useless to the whole group.

David was quick to recognize everyone’s part. Those 200 still had a role to play. They stayed behind to watch the supplies and, in such a time when raids are prevalent, that could not be a small matter. David was not a respecter of job titles. He wanted his men to work as a team.

When victory was secured, his immediate action plan was to go back to the men who stayed behind and give their part of the spoil. He didn’t take this victory as his own. He knew that God had given it to them. And when God is the source, who are we to say who deserves what?

Reference: 1 Samuel 30

Devotional: Abigail, Servant before Queen

1 Samuel 24:32, NKJV - Then David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!

Abigail is one of very few women in the Bible who was greatly praised upon introduction. Verse 3 tells us that “she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance” – a stark contrast of Nabal, her husband, who was “harsh and evil”.

When David sent his messengers to present a noble request to him, Nabal responded with an insult. It could not be true that Nabal didn’t know who David was, as we see later on in the passage that his wife, Abigail, knew David’s whole story. He simply did not want to share what he had, even if it concerned men who showed him good beforehand (verse 4-8). Even Nabal’s servants knew that he was a difficult man to deal with (verse 14).

Abigail was his complete opposite. When she heard the whole story, she wasted no time in proving humility and grace before Israel’s future king. She was a woman who can make her own decisions and she made one that preserved the head of her wicked husband for just a few more days before the Lord pronounced His judgment on Nabal.

She sent ahead of her a train of gifts, but Abigail knew that none of it can compensate for the insults Nabal spat in the face of David and his men.  Her humility was evident and urgent. The moment she saw David, she got off her donkey and bowed down. She asked for permission to speak instead of rattling her tongue (as many women, including myself, are more inclined to do).

Abigail proved what Proverbs 31:12 says about the noble wife: in reminding David that what he was about to do (unleashing bloodshed in Nabal’s household) isn’t who God has him cut out to be, Abigail brought him “good, not harm”. We already know that apart from his warring skills, David’s kind heart was one of his greatest assets. Had he put his hands on Nabal, David was most likely to regret it in the end. Abigail urged David to think about the consequences and reminded him that there are things better left to God.

When David had calmed down, Abigail went back to her husband and waited until he was sober to talk. She stayed with him 10 days until Nabal came to his own death. Only then did David ask for her hand in marriage.

Her response to David’s servants was just as remarkable, though not as long, as her speech for David. She bowed down to them and offered her service. Verse 41: “Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” What great humility from someone about to become a queen!   

“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
— Proverbs 17:14, NIV

Devotional: To the “co-dreamers”

1 Samuel 23:16, NKJV - Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.

He may not have been able to rescue David or give him all the answers or even stay with him, but Jonathan did a great thing by helping David find strength in God. That was more than enough.

Jonathan believed in David’s place before God. He stood up for what is right, even if it meant going against his father. In the end, he didn’t get to see David wear the crown but he sure was instrumental in building up Israel’s greatest king.

Don’t we all come to that with some people in our lives, too? Sometimes all that we can do is help people stay true and strong to fulfilling their destinies. We cannot rescue people or give them the answers and, in some instances, our ties with them may even be broken abruptly before they reach it. Sometimes the best we can do is to build them up in faith, and let God lead them (with or without us) to their own victories.