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The Nasty Nature of Nabal

The story I would like for us to consider comes from 1 Samuel 25. It is about Nabal.

Nabal is described as a rich and wealthy man. 1 Samuel 25:2 reveals he owned 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. He is also described as being “harsh and evil in his dealings” (1 Samuel 25:3).

David sends 10 young men to request provisions from Nabal, since it is a festive day and for the protection they have been providing for Nabal (1 Samuel 25:5-8). This should not be taken as an ill request. Even Nabal’s men recognize the excellent protection David’s men provided, by saying the men “were a wall to us both by day and by night” (1 Samuel 25:16). The men of Nabal and Abigail, Nabal’s wife, do not see anything wrong with this request. Nabal, however, feels much differently.

Nabal lives up to his “harsh and evil” description from 1 Samuel 25:3. He refuses David’s men and scorns them (1 Samuel 25:9-10). He does not acknowledge David or the blessing of protection he has been providing (1 Samuel 25:10).

Nabal is not grateful. He is solely relying on himself, only caring for himself, and giving himself all the credit for his success and well-being.

Without David’s protection, it is quite possible that the Philistines, or marauders, or some other enemy could have raided Nabal’s food supply, killed his workers, and stolen his possessions. This occurred to a whole city in 1 Samuel 23. So it certainly could have happened to Nabal, except Nabal had the “wall” of protection guarding his people and possessions.

Nabal does not want to give back to the one who blessed him with protection. Nabal, as his name means, is quite the fool in this story.

We must ensure we are not imitating Nabal in our lives!

God, in a more ultimate sense than David with Nabal, has been providing us with protection, guidance, blessings, love and mercy, even when we did not ask for it, know about it, or deserve it.

We must acknowledge and be thankful to God for all that He has done for us!

We cannot be like Nabal by simply relying on ourselves, or thinking we have accomplished all on our own, or not recognizing there are blessings being provided. We must be continually thanking and praising God; without Him, we could not even live. If we are not thankful to God, we are a Nabal.

We must give back to the One Who has richly blessed us!

We cannot be like Nabal by not wanting to give back to the one who has given so much to us. We must recognize any blessings or success we experience is from God (James 1.17). In return, we should give back to Him in a variety of ways: our praise and obedience, our funds, and our time and energy. If we are not giving back to God, we are a Nabal.

There is one more thing I would like to take note of. After Nabal’s poor response, David is ready to kill him and slaughter his house (1 Samuel 25.13, 22). This is not a justified response and is a low point for David in this narrative; however, it makes God look even greater.

Whenever we respond poorly to God, by not acknowledging Him, by not being thankful to Him, or by not being obedient, God responds differently to us than David did with Nabal. God demonstrates patience for us to change and because we often falter, but God also demonstrates ultimate love by accepting us when we truly repent and obey. God’s patience and love for us is highlighted by David’s low point in this story.

Hopefully these thoughts help. Let us not be like Nabal! But rather, let us recognize God’s role in our lives and in response we thank Him, serve Him, love Him and obey Him!