Another Way God Saves His People
“My life was a mess,” recalls the middle-aged man. “I was constantly in conflict with my wife. I was burying myself in my work and on the inside, I was in complete turmoil. But when I heard about what God did for me through Jesus Christ I mourned my foolishness and turned to him for forgiveness. Amazingly, he forgave a lifetime of sin and saved me. He gave me a new love for my wife, helped me put work in its proper perspective and gave me an inner peace like nothing I had ever experienced.”
That is how believers typically think about being saved. It may be a familiar story, but for everyone of us, it is a marvelous thing. That, however, is not the only way God saves us from sin. Sometimes, by his great mercy, he actually blocks our path. We may be well down the road toward committing a deep offense against God when he gets in our way and foils our plans.
So it was for David in the record of 1 Samuel 25. By God’s grace, in chapter 24, David’s conscience will not allow him to take the life of King Saul, though he had a unique opportunity to do so. In the eyes of many, he would have been perfectly justified to slay his enemy. But David keeps his head and does not take vengeance into his own hands. Ironically, he immediately intends to do exactly the opposite, when Nabal offends him by insulting his men and by failing to meet a legitimate request for supplies.
Without a second thought, David musters 400 of his men with full intent of not only killing Nabal, but also “all who belong to him.” It was a rash and foolish decision completely out of character with everything we have seen about David so far in 1 Samuel. To this point, David has been portrayed as a man of godly fear and dependence, a man of courage and restraint, kindness and forbearance. But not now. For the first time, we see the dark side of David, which reminds us that even the best of us has clay feet. No, more accurately, wicked hearts. Even the best of mankind have wicked hearts. The righteous have wicked hearts. God alone is righteous! Blessed be his name forever!
Our righteous God saves David this day by sending Abigail to intervene. She offers repentance on behalf of her foolish husband. She intervenes on behalf of David and assures him that he will be the king. He does not need to take vengeance into his own hands. Isn’t it interesting how this humble woman is the Christ figure? She lived in a man’s world, yet displayed the kind of courage and grace that the best man—the man of God’s own choosing, the man after God’s own heart—was not able to demonstrate. She intercedes. She is willing to be the sacrifice. “Let the blame be on me alone.” She is willing to meet David’s need. “She took 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seats of roasted grain, 100 cakes of raisins and 200 cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.” She pleads for forgiveness and offers the wise counsel that saved David and his men from a heinous sin. “Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live.” She was the voice of reason. She was voice of God that day. David acknowledged this to be the case…
“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”
What a declaration of sinful intent! What a proclamation of praise to the God who saves his people!
Perhaps He is worthy of praise from your lips as well. Perhaps God has also blocked your path and prevented a deep blot on your character and a grave offense against the Holy One of heaven. That was my neighbor’s story. He and a friend started a business and in the course of time my neighbor became aware that his “friend” had walked off with a large sum of money. His immediate reaction was to load his gun with the full intent of pulling the trigger. But, by the grace of God, the man was not at home and he could not find him. Time passed and his anger diminished. He went to church one Sunday morning, which was not his habit, and by divine coincidence this was the passage read and preached on that day. It had not occurred to him that God had actually intervened until that morning. But once that became clear to him he felt both deep shame and amazement at God’s grace. This is yet another way that God saves people. It may well be that you have had your path blocked and that you too can offer up your praise to God.