About 20 years ago, I first became familiar with Henry Blackaby’s incredible book Experiencing God. It is a powerful book and study tool. So powerful, in fact, that it kind of scared me at times. But that’s a story for a different post.
One of the most impactful observations in that book is Blackaby’s call for believers to serve God in order to experience him (paraphrasing here): “Look for where God is working around you and join him in that work.”
I don’t remember whether Blackaby referenced the story of David, Nabal and Abigail found in 1 Samuel 25 when he discussed this idea of how to experience God. Still, as I read the story, it occurred to me that this concept was exactly what the story is about. Allow me to summarize this story for you.
David and his men were tired and hungry following their campaigns of fighting the Philistines, and running for their lives from King Saul. They were in Nabal’s neighborhood, so David sent several men to Nabal to inquire about provisions. Nabal sent the men away, asking whether the food he prepared for his own workers should be given to David and his men, of whom Nabal knew nothing.
After hearing this, David had his men strap on their weapons and prepare to destroy Nabal and his house. However, Nabal’s wife Abigail heard about Nabal’s foolish dismissal of David’s men, and secretly sent an incredible feast of food and wine to David, which she followed up in person with an apology and a request for mercy.
So there was Nabal, with his head buried deep in the Middle Eastern sand, paying attention to only his own earthly kingdom, oblivious to everything else. Abigail, however, was tuned in to God’s frequency, recognizing that God was working through David as his anointed king, and did something about it.
Before you think Abigail was motivated only by fear, read Abigail’s own words about who David is.
The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord [David], because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live.1 Samuel 25:28
When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself.1 Sam. 25:30-31
David wisely and graciously accepted her gifts and her apology, and thanked her for convincing him not to do something he would regret for the rest of his life. And, he gave credit where credit was due:
David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me.”1 Sam. 25:32
It’s unlikely that your decision to join God in his work wherever you are will have life-or-death ramifications for your or your family, as Abigail’s did. But your prayerful watching for what God is doing around you, and your decision to join him in that work, will help build His kingdom here, just as Abigail’s obedience to God helped build David’s kingdom, back in the day.
I can personally attest that I have experienced God’s presence the most while serving Him. I don’t know why that’s true, but it has been for me. So ask Him to open your eyes to see what he’s doing in your neck of the woods, in your circles, in your sphere of influence. He’s put you where you are for a reason.