Have you read 1 Samuel 25 lately? Me neither, until someone suggested it this week. It is part of the saga of David before he becomes king. In this episode, David and his men have spent the winter near Carmel during which time they protected the sheepherders of a man named Nabal. When time came for shearing the sheep, a time of festival, David sent some of his men to Nabal to ask for hospitality for him and his men. But Nabal, a wicked and surly man, refuses.
David's men return to him and give him the message. David is incensed and determines to slaughter all of Nabal's men. Meanwhile, Nabal's shepherds go to his wife Abigail and report what has happened, urging her to do something to avoid war.
While David and his men are marching toward Carmel, here comes Abigail, riding on a donkey, bringing bread and wine, raisins and figs, along with lamb meat and grain. They meet in a valley and Abigail is able to turn aside David's wrath by apologizing and making reparation for the refusal of hospitality by her husband. Abigail's quick action averted war and saved the lives of many.
Abigail returned home to find her husband drunk from the party. So she waited until the next morning to tell him what she had done.
For Reflection: There are many things we can learn from this story, but let us begin with the first item: refusal of hospitality. Hospitality was extremely important in the Hebrew world. Particularly in a desert region, which this was, one was never to refuse the basics of food, drink and lodging. Yet Nabal did, even though he was rich and David and his men had been protecting Nabal's men all winter. Do we identify with Nabal or with David?
Is there anyone to whom we have refused hospitality? Why? Can this be remedied?
We may not want to welcome a stranger into our home today, but do we look out for the lost and the homeless? Are we kind to those who need to see a friendly, smiling face? Have we failed to return a favor or pay it forward? God calls us to peace and hospitality.
Let us pray. Jesus, sometimes I identify with Nabal. Why should I share more of my hard-earned resources with others? There have also been times when I've refused a family member entry to my home. I'd like to be more like Abigail and find a way to bring peace. I know you don't want me to be at odds with anyone. Show me a way through. Show me the way to stop the war, make amends and bring peace to the family. Help me to be hospitable.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.