The scene is set during sheep shearing season, something David as a shepherd would have naturally known. Like harvest time for the farmer, shearing season marked the end of long nights out in the elements for the shepherds. It was a time to shear the sheep and process the wool; it was a time to celebrate and be merry.
David doesn’t ever seem to be able to catch a break. He is constantly hounded by Saul and his army, and now when it appears that just when he is finally at a time of respite and peace from Saul’s pursuit, this man Nabal pushes David to his limit.
David would have known that the owner of the flock would be popping open the wine bottles, opening the storehouses, and getting the barbecue grill clean and ready.
David and his men have spent a good part of the season out in the fields near the place where Nabal’s shepherds were grazing the sheep. It most likely was throughout the colder season because the sheep would have been shorn to keep them from overheating as the weather gets warmer, and also because this would be just before any lambs would be born. It would give the sheep time to grow back their coats before the cold weather returned. So as a former shepherd, David realizes this is a festive time at the Nabal Ranch.
Scripture backs this up by stating that it is a time of festivity, a special occasion, and a day to celebrate. So Nabal was about to have a feast worthy of a king.
So here is what you missed in case you are not familiar with the story…
Nabal is throwing a party for the shepherds to celebrate this season and David is asking for a portion because as he sees it, he and his guys provided security for Nabals shepherds and sheep.
We cannot overlook the fact that David was a shepherd. He knew the dangers of being out in the open with sheep. Danger from marauders and danger from wild animals. David himself said he encountered bears and lions while tending sheep, so he knew what it meant to be secure and protected for an entire season.
All he was asking for was a share in the festivities. Just a little bit. But David’s messengers come back with this response from Nabal…
1 Samuel 25:10 NLT
“‘Who is this fellow David?’ Nabal sneered to the young men. ‘Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.’”
Who is David? To David it probably sounded more like-
WHO IS DAVID!?
I don’t know what was actually going through David’s head, but if it was me I’d be saying,
“Ask Goliath’s brothers!- they know who David is…
“In fact, ask any Philistine! They’ll know who David is.
“Why don’t you ask your King? He knows who David is.
“Saul Killed thousands – I killed ten thousands.
“What kind of stupid question is, ‘Who is David?’
I’ll show you who David is!!!!!”
Yep, I’m sure it went just like that, or very close. Because what comes next is the sound of David sharpening his sword and strapping on his armor. Nabal and his household are about to find out exactly who David is.
1 Samuel 25:21-22 ESV “Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good. God do so to the enemies of David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.””
Who is going to protect Nabal now? Nabal was the original guy who kicked the hornets’ nest.
It’s ironic that a few decades later David’s own son would write about this type of knee-jerk reaction and response in Proverbs 26:4 MSG, “Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself.”
David would have been perfect for a Snickers commercial. He isn’t very happy when he’s hungry.
But is this response warranted?
How do we respond when we are embarrassed?
How do we respond to those who have offended us?
Are the words of a foolish person enough to get you to forget who you are?
The anointing oil that Samuel poured over David’s head has long vanished; the words spoken over his life are a distant memory. The plan of God and his purpose grow dimmer with each passing day.
The one who believed in him, his friend the Prince, hasn’t kept in touch. And the ones who are with him depend so much on him that the burden of responsibility is wearing him thin.
This is the same David that writes the following in Psalms 139:16-17 ESV, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
You see, God knew that one day David would feel disrespected and respond irrationally. Even while knowing that David was eventually going to get to a tipping point, He called him still and anointed him.
It doesn’t really matter what men think of you or how they size you up.
If God be for us…
Word on the street was that David was running like an escaped slave.
The truth is that David was nothing but loyal to King Saul.
And God sent Abigail to remind him.
Remember who you are, David! You will be the Leader of Israel and you will have a lasting dynasty, God Himself is your protector and He will remember His promise concerning you.
David relented from his folly; from taking action against a very foolish man. And he was spared the guilt and shame that this rash decision would have brought him.
What is it that you need to rethink?
Perhaps today I am your Abigail. Reminding you that there is a call, a plan, a purpose, and a grand design for your life.
Remember who God says you are.