So whatever happened to Nabal, that foolish guy in the story of David and Abigail (1 Samuel 25) who refused to share his bounty with David and his fighting men, and would have met his fate at the end of David’s sword were it not for the timely, courageous action of his wife Abigail? The scripture reports that after David listened to the advice and counsel of Abigail and went back to his camp, appeased by the gifts of food and wine that she had brought him, she went home to report all that had happened to Nabal and found him “In high spirits and drunk.” So it happened that the following morning, when he was sober and Abigail told him all that had happened including how close he had come to losing everything including his own life, that Nabal’s “heart failed him and he became like a stone. About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died” (25:37-38).
“Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt,” David said upon hearing it. “He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head” (25:39). “Vengeance its mine, says the Lord. I will repay.” And He did.
And then comes the fairy tale ending. Upon hearing this, he sent for Abigail and took her to be his wife. That means he set himself up to be hearing from God through his wife for a long time; that is, if he chose to continue listening to her. This was surely not the only time that Abigail spoke to David about his choices and reminded him about the God he was serving, and the high road he was on.
We exist in a stage of great cultural animosity right now. Never in my lifetime has there been more polarization, hatred and outright cruelty to fellow human beings. In this kind of environment, revenge and retribution always increase like turning up the heat on the fire. Insult flies against insult and anger escalates, and much of this can filter down into our personal lives. How we react as Christians in the marketplace to personal attacks or false accusations will be as strong a witness to Jesus Christ in our lives as anything. This can pertain to participating in conversations that take down someone else. Social media is rampant with this kind of thing and a large part of the reason why revenge and retribution are on the rise. We need to avoid this.
Stay on the high road. Leave vengeance to the Lord. Don’t seek revenge. Don’t try and take the other guy down. Don’t rejoice in someone else’s misfortune. No one’s keeping score except the Lord, and the Lord is “not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 2:19) so why should we?
In such a time as this, we need to be full of kindness and our speech seasoned with grace. If you’ve been offended, let God deal with the offenders. Like David, we have a higher calling. We represent a kingdom that contrasts the present age with grace turned outward. That shouldn’t be new. That’s what we’re all about anyway.