Red Village Church

Foolishness & Wisdom – 1 Samuel 25: 1-44

Now Samuel died. And all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah. Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran. And there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite.

1 Sam. 25:1-3

This morning, let me start off by giving you a handful of Proverbs.


Proverbs 12:23
A prudent man conceals knowledge,
But the heart of fools proclaims folly.


Proverbs 13:20
He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm.


Proverbs 18:2
A fool does not delight in understanding,
But only in revealing his own mind.


Proverbs 18:6
A fool’s lips bring strife,
And his mouth calls for blows.


Proverbs 23:9
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.


Proverbs 26:12
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.


Proverbs 28:6
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.


I could give you more, but I will stop there.


Now, if I were to ask you to identify a theme from the verses I just read for you, I think it would be pretty easy to pick that out. The verses clearly talk about fools. And for us, it is easy to see that theme in those verses I just read. Perhaps it is also easy to see that theme lived out in others, at least from what we perceive, as we can be quick to declare others to be fools.


But what is not always as clear for us to see is when we are the ones actually fulfilling that theme. Living life as a fool ourselves is something that is not easy to see. This brings us back to the text’s theme, which I found to be such an interesting text, primarily how it first starts out, which we will get to in just a second.


However, the vast majority of what we are going to work through today details a story of an easy-to-see fool named Nabal. The word “Nabal” is a word that actually means fool, or foolish or boorish. We see that verse 25 of our text even tells us that.


Now, let me mention here that the name Nabal has caused scholars to wonder if this was his actual name given to him by his parents, as it seems strange that parents would name their son “Fool.” So, some have wondered if perhaps this was just a name he acquired as a nickname—perhaps a name he was referred to behind his back due to how he embodied foolishness. It’s hard to know for sure, but as mentioned, it is easy to see that he was a fool.


Before we work through the passage, let me quickly set the context from where we left off last week.


King Saul, who also played the role of a fool in 1 Samuel, was on his ongoing, obsessive quest to kill David. This was because David was perceived as a threat to his power and control. What we read last week was that David was put into an ideal position to kill Saul and seize that power and control. However, as we read in our text last week, rather than taking the life of King Saul, David trusted the Lord and held on loosely to the things of life. He spared Saul’s life and even instructed his men to do the same, not to take Saul’s life.


In our text last week, as Saul learned what David did in terms of sparing his life, Saul experienced some worldly sorrow. At least in the moment, he admitted he was wrong and acknowledged that David was more righteous than he was. For the moment, Saul gave up his obsessive quest to kill David and returned back home. David relocated to a different place of safety, which, as mentioned last week, indicated that David did not fully trust that Saul was genuine in his repentance. So, that is where we left off.


Now, let’s look back at verse 1, which I find to be the most fascinating verse in this passage. It reads, “Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah.” What I find so intriguing about this verse is how it is presented in the text.


In that, this news—which I think is fairly massive news—was just kind of sandwiched between the story of Saul and David that we looked at last week, which took place in Engedi, and our story that we are about to work through on foolish Nabal.


So, just kind of hidden between those two stories, there is almost like an “oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention” moment. During this time, that is when Samuel died. Everyone got together to mourn before we buried him back home.


But now, let me get back to this next story I wanted to share about David. That is just so fascinating to me—how just a few words were written, and then we move on to the next story. This was Samuel—the great priest, the great prophet, the great leader of Israel before Saul came on the scene. Samuel, the one who later on in the New Testament was listed among the great heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, and the one who later on in church history, we named this book after him: 1 Samuel. A giant figure, a massively important figure, but just a few words to tell us he died, sandwiched between a couple of longer stories.


No details about how he died, how old he was, or recounting why he was so massively important. No obituary. Just “he died,” “we all got together,” and “he got buried in his house at Ramah.”


At the end, I have some thoughts for this by way of application for us, but for now, just take note that this is all that is said about Samuel’s death. So, keep going. The back half of verse 1 states that after Samuel died and was buried, David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran, seemingly a new hiding location from Saul.


As David relocated yet again, we read about a man from Maon whose business was in Carmel. Here, Carmel referred to a town between Ziph and Maon, not the mountain where the prophet Elijah famously defeated and humiliated the prophets of the pagan god Baal.


In our text, we see a few details about this man conducting business in Carmel. We find that he was rich, so much so that he possessed 3000 sheep and a thousand goats. This likely indicated that he was a shrewd businessman. Additionally, while in Carmel on business related to his shepherding enterprise, he was shearing his sheep to sell the wool. Moving on to verse 3, we discover that this man was named Nabal. Although he might have been shrewd in business, he was still a fool, perhaps too shrewd for his own good. In the text, we learn that Nabal had a wife named Abigail, who, unlike her foolish husband, was wise and had discernment. Our text also mentions that she had physical beauty.


It’s interesting to see the dynamic between Nabal and Abigail, particularly how their qualities contrast. Nabal’s business acumen is evident, but his lack of wisdom makes him a fool, while Abigail’s wisdom and discernment shine even more brightly in comparison. This sets the stage for the unfolding story.


As the author introduces Nabal and Abigail to us in the story, it becomes apparent that he’s setting us up for a comparison and contrast as the narrative unfolds. This intention is reinforced by what is written behind verse 3, where it is stated that unlike Abigail, Nabal was harsh and badly behaved. This harsh behavior contributed to his foolishness. In the text, we observe that Nabal’s harsh and bad behavior persisted despite his Calebite heritage.


To provide some context from OT history, Caleb was associated with Joshua and worked as a spy or scout for God’s people before they entered the promised land. He was honored for his courage, and being identified as a Calebite was considered an honor due to the significance of family lines in Biblical times.


This week, I find myself wondering whether Nabal not only took this honor for granted but foolishly abused it. Perhaps in our modern context, we can think of a trust fund kid who has been given more than others but completely squanders what they’ve been given. I wonder if Nabal was akin to such a character.


Moving on to verse 4, while Nabal was engaged in shearing his sheep as a businessman, David, who was hiding out in the wilderness, learned about Nabal’s activities. In response, David sent ten of his men down to Carmel. This sets the stage for the interactions that are about to unfold in the story.


As the author introduces Nabal and Abigail to us in the story, it becomes evident that he’s setting up a comparison and contrast for us to explore as the narrative unfolds. This intention is reinforced by what is stated behind verse 3, where it’s mentioned that unlike Abigail, Nabal was harsh and badly behaved. This behavior contributed to his foolishness. The text shows that Nabal’s harsh and bad behavior persisted, even though he was a Calebite. To provide some context from OT history, Caleb was associated with Joshua and worked as a spy or scout for God’s people before they entered the promised land. He was honored for his courage, and being identified as a Calebite was considered an honor due to the significance of family lines in Biblical times.


This week, I find myself wondering whether Nabal not only took this honor for granted but foolishly abused it. Perhaps in our modern context, we can think of a trust fund kid who has been given more than others but completely squanders what they’ve been given. I wonder if Nabal was akin to such a character.


Moving on to verse 4, while Nabal was engaged in shearing his sheep as a businessman, David, who was hiding out in the wilderness, learned about Nabal’s activities. In response, David sent ten of his men down to Carmel. This sets the stage for the interactions that are about to unfold in the story.


Now, as the author introduces Nabal and Abigail to us in the story, we see that he does so in such a way that he is setting us up for a little bit of comparison and contrast as the story develops.


And we can feel confident that this is the author’s intention because of what is written behind verse 3, where we read that unlike Abigail, the man Nabal was harsh and badly behaved. This behavior was part of the reason he was a fool. In the text, we see that Nabal was harsh and behaved badly, even though he was a Calebite. To remind you of OT history, Caleb was with Joshua, who worked as spies or scouts for God’s people before they entered the promised land. Caleb was honored for being a man of courage. Because of how important family lines were in Biblical times, being identified as a Calebite was considered an honor.


This week, I wonder if being a Calebite was an honor that Nabal not only took for granted but also foolishly abused. Perhaps in our day, we can think of some kind of trust fund kid who was given so much more than others, yet completely abuses what is given. I wonder if Nabal was akin to such a character.


Moving on to verse 4, as businessman Nabal was shearing his sheep, we see that while David was hiding out in the wilderness, he learned what Nabal was doing. So he sent 10 of his men down to Carmel to go and find Nabal and send his greetings.


And as the 10 men found and greeted Nabal, they were to greet him in peace, declaring peace to him, his house, and all that he had. This here is David declaring a desire to be a friend and not a foe.


Verse 7: As the men were to declare their desires for peace, they were then to make their intentions known. They came to Nabal, relaying a bit of the backstory of how David knew about Nabal’s business venture.


So in the text, the 10 men of David were to tell Nabal that David learned Nabal had shearers. He learned this because some of Nabal’s shepherds spent time with David and his men. David didn’t harm Nabal’s men. In fact, they missed nothing while they were in Carmel. This means David took care of these men.


And David told his 10 men that if Nabal didn’t believe them, Nabal could simply ask his young shepherd, who would likely verify that this is indeed what happened. That David was good to them.


After communicating the backstory, they were to then cut to the chase and tell David’s intentions on why he sent them to Nabal. Which was the hopes that the 10 men would find favor in his eyes in such a way that Nabal would give David and his men some food that they were enjoying on that particular feast day.


Basically, David said to his young men, “Go to Nabal, show him honor. Help him see that we have already showed honor to him. And hopefully, in return, he will honor us as well. Doing so in ways that he can share of his incredible wealth by giving us some food to put into our empty stomachs. 


Perhaps, at least share enough food to pay back David for whatever he gave Nabal’s shepherds when they were with him.


Verse 9: We read with the instructions in place, the 10 men of David did exactly what they were told to do and then waited for Nabal to respond. Assuming that he would respond in kind, however, what we see in the text is not what Nabal did. Rather, this harsh, badly behaved, foolish man responded back to them in verse 10 with incredible rudeness and arrogance.


“David, who is David?” “Who is this son of Jesse?” “Really, who is he to me?” “What do I care he came asking of me?” And this here, I don’t think Nabal was asking the question who is David because he really had no idea who David was.


If you remember back to previous passages in 1 Samuel, David was a very popular and famous figure in Israel, one where there were songs written about him. So I think it is safe to assume Nabal knew who David was. He just didn’t care who he was. Nabal felt he was too big for David, too important for David, in no need of David.


In the text to Nabal, David was nothing more than any other servant who broke away from his master, meaning David was just a nobody in Nabal’s eyes.


Nabal felt that David was below him.


Verse 11: Nabal to David’s men, seriously, what do you expect I do for this nobody David?


Are you suggesting I take my hard-earned bread, water, and meat that I killed for, that I did shearing work to acquire, and now in turn just give to you? A bunch of guys that I don’t know. Is that really what you thought would happen? Do you really think this is how I made my fortune, my empire, by doing acts like this? This here is where I think we see he was too shrewd for his own good.


Verse 12: As Nabal rejected David’s request, which he did by belittling and shaming them, they went back to David to give the report. To which David responded by telling his men, “Men, strap on your sword, we are going to defend our honor.” So, 400 men, including David himself, strapped on their swords and went after Nabal, while 200 stayed back to watch over their baggage.


As this was happening, as David was rallying his men, we see in verse 14 that one of the young men of Nabal, who had benefited from David, was able to connect with Abigail, Nabal’s discerning and beautiful wife. In verse 15-16, the young man shared in detail with Abigail all the good things David had done for him and the others. How David kept them safe, how he cared for them night and day. I am sure this touched the heart of Abigail, as she could discern that David, famous David, was indeed good and kind-hearted.


As the young man finished up his report on the kindness of David, he also wanted Abigail to know what Nabal just foolishly did in terms of belittling and shaming David and the request David sent to him.


And as the young man gave his report to Abigail, the young man could discern that because of Nabal’s folly, harm was coming not just Nabal’s way, but to the entire house of Nabal. They would suffer harm because of him. This situation aligns with one of the proverbs I read at the start: “the companion of fools will suffer harm.”


In the text, as the young man shared what happened with Abigail, he also shared his opinion of his master Nabal with her. He referred to Nabal as a worthless man. He noted that Nabal was particularly worthless because of how unapproachable he was. One could not speak to him. This here, I am sure, referred to the 10 men of David who couldn’t speak to Nabal to reason with him.


I also wondered if this also related to others who worked for Nabal, that they too could not speak to him in any real ways that they could reason with him.


I wondered this week if this young man and the other young shepherd tried to be an advocate for David to Nabal, only for it all to fall on deaf ears. As prideful, arrogant, worthless, foolish Nabal already made up his mind that he was not going to help David, regardless of what others might say.


This is a real character trait of a fool. As read earlier, wise in his own eyes, taking counsel just in his own heart. Unapproachable, unwilling to listen to advice. That is a fool. That was Nabal.


Verse 18. As Abigail heard this news from the young man, we read that immediately she sprung into action, in ways that she was trying to help atone for her worthless husband’s foolish mistake.


So in haste, she took 200 loaves of bread, 2 skins of wine, 5 already prepared sheep, 5 seats of parched grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of figs – just a huge feast. My guess is that it was far more than what David was asking for in the first place.


And she placed it all on donkeys to get ready to send to David, where she would go after the servants on the trip. We read that she did not tell Nabal any of what was taking place. She wanted to keep her foolish husband in the dark.


Abigail couldn’t trust him. She knew that if Nabal found out what was taking place, he not only would put an end to this plan, but he would only continue to make things worse for everyone. The best thing to do was to do things behind his back, in secret, with the hope that he would be left in the dark. This already shows us that not only did the servants think Nabal was worthless, but so did Abigail. She couldn’t trust him with any kind of real information.


Verse 20

With the feast all packed up and sitting on the donkeys, Abigail went her way under the cover of the mountain, assuming and hoping to stay out of sight of her foolish husband.


At first, we read she came upon some of David’s men, where she introduced herself to them. They, in turn, shared with her how David processed Nabal’s response to his request – a processing filled with bewilderment and being dumbfounded.


These men shared with Abigail how David thought to himself and to the others.


“Why did we just guard this man’s men in the wilderness? Why did we show him kindness in ways that I am sure could have put them all at risk? Only for this man to return us evil. Everything we just did for this worthless man was in vain,” David further processed.


But not just with bewilderment – with deep anger. As he processed with others, he prayed, “So may God do so to him and more, what he just did to us. Strike him down in judgment, doing so with such judgment that by morning, not one of his men who belong to him shall live.”


Meaning the more David thought about it, the more he talked about it, the more frustrated and angry he became – so angry that he wanted to strike Nabal down.


In the text, as this information was communicated to discerning Abigail, I am sure she understood this was not hyperbole. Unless she could change the mind of David, indeed David would follow through on his intentions, and harm would come to Nabal and his household.


This was her fear in the first place that drove her to David. It was the fear of the young shepherd who clued her into what was taking place. They knew how Nabal’s actions would bring harm.


So in verse 23, as this info was given to her on how David processed what just took place, we read that Abigail spotted David. Right away, she started to hurry over his way, where she got down from the donkey and fell before him to plead with him to spare the men of Nabal, as we see in verse 24. Not only was she discerning, but she was courageous.


This is a character trait that we talked about a couple of weeks back – to be courageous in ways that we are laying our lives down to serve others. That is exactly what Abigail does here in this scene.


Courageously and sacrificially, she pled with David, begging him to let the guilt of her husband fall on her, not letting her worthless husband be the reason why his men die.


She is courageously standing the gap, pleading for the men. Telling David that if she knew what had happened, she would have acted differently than her worthless husband. And she would have repaid David for his kindness.


In Verse 26, as she pleaded for her men, we see that her pleas were in line with David’s character. And importantly, in line with the character of God, his goodness.


In the text, as the Lord lives, as you, David lives, the Lord in his goodness has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand. So now, let your enemies and those who seek to do evil towards you, David, be as my foolish husband Nabal.


So now, David, because of the goodness of the Lord, because of you being a good. Please, David, accept this present that I am bringing to you, which refers to the feast. And David, please take this and give it to your men.


And as you accept my gift, verse 28, please also show forgiveness to the trespass of your servant. Please do not hold this against us. But, David, may the Lord make you a sure house.


Because, unlike my worthless husband, David, I know. I can easily discern that you are fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you all of your days.


To say it again, the author really is setting up this story to see the differences between foolish Nabal and discerning Abigail.


They were so different. While Nabal provides a foolish example to avoid, here Abigail provides such an inspiring example to emulate. Just an incredible model to follow.


Keep going to verse 29. Abigail speaks to David, basically praying over him. “David, if men rise up to pursue you and seek your life, the life of you, my lord, shall be bound in the bundle of the living, in the care of the Lord your God.”


“Which is such a great phrase, the bundle of the living,” a phrase that I wonder if David thought back on when he wrote Psalm 69, as he talked about the book of the living.


The end of verse 29, as David was in the bundle of the living, being cared for by the Lord Himself, Abigail prayed that the lives of the enemies of David, the enemies of God, that the Lord would surely sling them out, as from the hollow of a sling.


One of the things we talked about last week was that justice will come. God, in His timing, will bring about justice towards His enemies.


In this prayer of Abigail, she is basically praying that David would once again trust in the judgment of God.


Verse 30

And when the Lord has done to my Lord David according to all of the good that He has spoken of, which I think refers to when David was anointed by Samuel to be prince of Israel, which we looked at already in chapter 16.


In the text, when the timing of that plan is fulfilled, Abigail says to David that because he has not shed innocent blood, he will have no cause for grief and pangs of conscience, or for taking matters into his own hands to try to bring about salvation. Rather, he will be able to rest well, knowing that it was the Lord who was at work here, as He was the one who dealt well with him and with her.


This was a very passionate plea here by Abigail, where she really did stand in the gap to plead with David, doing so with such wisdom. She appealed in very similar ways to which David appealed to his men’s hearts in the previous chapter, when he spared the life of Saul, as he held on loosely, waiting for the justice of God, to trust in the Lord.


That was basically Abigail’s wise and courageous appeal here to David in this scene.


Verse 32, as David heard this plea of Abigail, he was cut to the heart, cut to the heart in ways that he responded with a prayer of praise towards God.


“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, Abigail. Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you who have been used by God to keep me this day from blood guilt and from trying to work out salvation from my own hand. Only God can bring about Salvation.”


Which here, this is so different from Nabal as well. Nabal, no one could talk to him, to plead with him in ways that he would respond in godly ways. Not even his wife. To say it again, she had to sneak around and keep things hidden from him because of how worthless he was. And because of foolishness, he led himself and others into harm.


But here, David just heard this plea from Abigail, who, by the way, he just met. And he could humbly see and understand that she was right. She was speaking truth. He could see the evidence of God’s grace through her, as her wise words were preventing harm.


And in the text, as David heard these wise words, he also proved to be so different from Nabal. In that he actually listened to counsel and followed counsel.


Verse 34, for as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives. And by the way, God does live, he isn’t a dead God. By the one true and living God. And as He lives, He is the one in His grace who restrained me from hurting you, discerning and beautiful Abigail.


For unless you did what you did, in that you hurried to meet with me and plead for the men. If you did not do that, truly this morning I would have sought vengeance, killed everyone. I would have sinfully held tight and took matters into my own hand. Which, by the way, is a reminder that the Lord uses means to accomplish His will. He used Abigail hurrying, her act of courage and wisdom, to restrain David.


Verse 35, as David received not only the words of Abigail but he also received the feast that she brought him. As he gave her words of assurance and acceptance, Abigail, go up in peace to your house. See that I have obeyed your voice, I have granted your petition.


I know I have said this a couple of times, but I want to say it again for emphasis. What an act of courage and wisdom here of Abigail, when she learned of David’s intentions. She could have gotten out of there in ways that she attempted to save her own neck. But instead, courageously, she went to David to plead with him. And she did so in a humble and wise way, that she was able to convince him.  To let the Lord fight his battles. Great example of wisdom and discretion.


Keep going to verse 36. After Abigail was able to win over David, we see that she headed back to Nabal. And as she got back to her husband, we see that the fool was continuing to play the fool, as Nabal threw an incredible feast in his house.  A feast fit for a king.


Which, by the way, indicates it would not have been an issue for him to help David out when the request came his way. Nabal was overflowing with riches. But rather than using them in ways to bless others who blessed him, Nabal was squandering his riches on himself.


And in the text, as Nabal was throwing himself this over-the-top feast, we read that he had way too much to drink, to the point that our text tells us he was very drunk. You can just picture this fool, slurring, slobbering, stumbling. And because he was such a drunken mess, Abigail knew she was wasting her time if she tried to talk with her beyond-wasted husband concerning what just happened with David.


So we read that she waited for him to sleep off a bit of his drunkenness and go to him in the morning, when the wine had gone out of him. And then, tell him the things about David. So as morning came, as Abigail told her worthless foolish husband the news, he became stone-cold sober.


He could finally see past his stupidity and understand the ramifications of his actions for shaming David. And as he became stone-cold sober, it appears that he had a heart attack, as his heart died with him. To the point that he physically became like a stone, where his body went into some kind of comatose shock, which appears he was in for 10 days.


Because we read on the 10th day, the Lord came and struck Nabal and took his life. Which proved Abigail to be right, that the Lord indeed would fight the battle for David. As harm came Nabal’s foolish way.


Which, by the way, hopefully is an ongoing encouragement to us in whatever battles we face. We must trust in the Lord and His timing. In the end, He will prove to be the victor.


Verse 39, when news about Nabal and his death made its way back to David, we see that David once again recognized the hand of the Lord on this situation. He prayed another prayer of thanksgiving to give the Lord the honor.


In the text, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received from the hand of Nabal. Blessed be the Lord because He is the one who kept me from wrongdoing. Blessed be the Lord because it was the Lord who returned the evil on his own head.”


The end of verse 39, we read that after David learned of Nabal’s fate, he sent for Abigail and made her his wife, which wasn’t his only wife. But first, let me point out and mention that while David has been a good model for us in so many places in 1 Samuel, this here is the start of some really awful and sinful acts of David. As he had some real sinful issues with sexual purity.


Scripture is clear that marriage is one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Scripture is also clear in Deuteronomy that this clear teaching of Scripture also was for the king, that the king was not above the law. Deuteronomy 17 states that the king must have only one wife. So here, this act of David was an act that snowballed into greater and greater sexual sin, which sin always does, and I think this might be particularly true of sexual sin.


So while David is a good model, he wasn’t a perfect model. He was a sinner who needed a savior just as much as the rest of us.


Verse 40, with David’s desire for Abigail to be his wife, he sent a message to Abigail from his servants to tell her his intentions.


In verse 41, as Abigail heard this information, she rose, then bowed her face to the ground yet again, to pay homage. She said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” Which was basically her way of saying yes to David, that she was there to serve him however he saw fit, including being his wife.


So with her response to David’s servants, she got back to her donkey, took 5 young men to be her attendants, and she followed David’s messengers back to David, where she became his wife.


Finally, our text ends in verses 43 and 44.


With the information that she was not the only wife of David. We already knew about Michal, who was mentioned in verse 44. She was the daughter of Saul who David married in chapter 18 and 19. It appears that Saul took her back from David to give her to a man named Laish of Gallim.


In verse 43, we see that she was not the only other wife of David, because he was married to Ahinoam as well. And that is how our text ends this morning. Now before we close, as usual, I do want to organize some thoughts for us in terms of how to apply this passage. This morning, I want to first talk about wisdom.


First by talking a bit about Samuel and the short half-verse information we learned about his death, as well as by talking about Abigail and David. And then from there, I want to quickly talk about foolishness as it relates to Nabal. And as I quickly talk about that, I want us all to be humble enough to see if what we see in Nabal is something we actually see in ourselves as well.


So first, wisdom. Here are some traits of wisdom that we can mine from the text:

  1. Wisdom helps us understand that one day we will all die, and life will move on without us. And I think, at least in part, that is the takeaway of just a few brief words about Samuel dying, sandwiched between two long stories. It is to help us see and understand that one day we will die, and life will continue to move on. Think about this, this was Samuel, the great prophet and priest Samuel, hero of the faith Samuel, who has 2 books of the Bible named after him in his honor, Samuel. Yet, even after he died, life moved on. How much more will it be for you and me, we will die, life will move on, and unlike Samuel, all of us will be quickly forgotten. Part of living a life of wisdom is to understand that reality, and not just understand that reality, but as the Scripture tells us, we are to number our days in light of the reality.
  2. Tied to this, wisdom allows us to see a bigger picture and not just get so tunnel vision or fixated on certain things. In the text, Abigail was perceptive, which means she could see more than just what was right in front of her. She could understand how certain things might lead to other things, like how Nabal’s arrogant folly could bring about real damage to others. To be wise means you see a bigger picture, you understand that your decisions, your words, have consequences, for good or for harm.
  3. Wisdom humbly responds to truth, that is the story of David. Abigail spoke true words to David in terms of letting the Lord fight his battles. And as that truth hit David’s ears, he responded to that truth in humility and changed his course of action. Friends, to be wise doesn’t always mean you will have the right answer, the right counsel, the truth. But it does mean that when confronted with the truth, you humbly respond to it.


  4. Wisdom appeals to the Lord and His salvation. Which was the truth that David was to trust in the Lord and His salvation. For the Lord to fight the battle. Which, for us, ultimately we know is found in the cross of Christ. Which is the wisdom of God to salvation for all who believe in Jesus. Who trust and believe that in the end, Jesus is the one who fully stepped in the gap for His people, where He did fully take upon Himself the judgment we deserved by dying on the cross, only to rise again on the 3rd day. To pay the penalty for our sin, to fight and defeat our sin, including our sinful fools, so that we might be forgiven. To prove once and for all that indeed Jesus, and Him alone, is mighty to save.


In fact, there is no other name given among men where salvation is found. It is only in Jesus. It is by faith, turning and trusting in Him, calling upon His name. Any and all wisdom starts here and ends here, with Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. This morning, be discerning enough to see that you need, we all need Jesus. He is wisdom.


And friends, I also have to tell you, not only does all wisdom start and end with Jesus, all folly starts and ends by rejecting Jesus and Him crucified and risen. It is absolute folly to think that somehow by our own hand we can bring about salvation and fight our own battle against our sin.


It is a fool who says, “Jesus? Who is this Jesus? As if I need Him.” And this leads to traits of folly, what a fool looks like. As we quickly go through these traits, I humbly ask you not to focus on where you see these traits in others, which, as mentioned earlier, is easy to do. But let me humbly ask you to ask the Lord to search your heart, to help you see where these traits are actually in you.


1st, fools take counsel in their own hearts. If no one can speak into your life on any situation, and you always have to come to conclusions on your own, you are in danger of being a fool. That was Nabal in the text—no one could talk to him. David’s 10 men couldn’t talk to him, Nabal’s shepherds who were blessed by David couldn’t talk to him, his own discerning wife couldn’t talk to him. His counsel only came from his own heart.


2nd, fools are not trustworthy. If you are always finding out that people, including those you are closest to, are keeping things from you and keeping you in the dark, trying to navigate through situations without you knowing, that could be a very likely indication that others see you as a fool. That’s exactly what Abigail did in the text to her foolish husband. Based on what we read of her character, I don’t think she kept things from Nabal because of her own issues. Things were kept from Nabal because of his issues.


3rd, fools are short-sighted. That really was Nabal in this text. He couldn’t see a bigger picture when David’s men came to him. He didn’t understand how it was right for him to help David, and he didn’t understand how being in fellowship with David would provide long-term help. All he could see was what was right in front of him in the moment, as he was asked for food. That is all he could see—an extremely short-sighted understanding of the situation. No clue how his actions could have incredibly detrimental effects.


4th, fools are arrogant towards others. They are so arrogant that they often think everyone else is a fool. That was Nabal in the text—he assumed he was right and everyone else was wrong. Because of that, he belittled others with over-the-top arrogance.


5th, fools are centered on self. As mentioned in the text, Nabal was rich and had plenty of means to respond to David’s request. But rather than seeing that as an opportunity to be more blessed to give than receive, we read in the text that he threw himself a self-centered party fit for a king. Fools often do this—everything is about them.


6th, fools cause harm. And not just self-harm, but often that harm spreads to the lives of others who suffer because of them. For Nabal, his foolishness was so great that the harm he brought to himself resulted in God striking him dead. If not for God’s work through Abigail, the rest of his household would have faced the same fate. Foolishness brings harm, and it is often destructive not just to yourself but also to others, especially those closest to you.


Red Village Church, may God grant us the grace we need to be wise and avoid sinful foolishness. May our church family be characterized by humble wisdom, running to Jesus Christ who took the harm we deserved upon himself so that we could have eternal benefit—a feast that is to come.