Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb. 1 Samuel 25:3

No doubt we all have encountered that person, whether at work, in our neighbourhood, maybe even at home, whom we term “difficult.” That person is just not pleasant to be around. Maybe the person is overly negative or is just mean-spirited. No matter what we do to extend kindness and be friendly, this person rebuffs our efforts.

Abigail, another notable woman of the Bible, knew such a person very well — her husband Nabal. Whereas Abigail is described as an “intelligent and beautiful woman,” her husband is described as “surly and mean in his dealings.” His name, in fact, means “fool.”

No doubt, Abigail had to intervene many times to smooth over situations that her husband had caused through his rudeness and lack of people skills. Her diplomacy skills were well-honed. So when Abigail found out that Nabal had snubbed David’s men and their request for provisions — and this after David’s men had provided an armed escort for Nabal’s flocks — she acted quickly.

Before the situation could escalate, Abigail loaded up donkeys with food and sent out to meet David on her own. She apologized for her husband’s behaviour and wisely encouraged David to forgive rather than take revenge on Nabal so that David would:

“That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.” 1 Samuel 25:31

Thankfully, Abigail’s entreaties had the intended result. David called off his plans for revenge, and he responded,

“And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: 33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.” 1 Samuel 25:31

Abigail was undoubtedly a woman of physical beauty, but it was her inner beauty that gave her the poise and courage to take decisive action to quell intense emotional reactions in others, whether her mean husband or one who threatened her husband. She used her skills to keep the peace and didn’t allow her circumstances to make her bitter or to make excuses.

What excellent lessons for us in dealing with the “difficult” people in our lives! We need to ask God to work in these situations and to help us make the most of our skills and opportunities to promote peace whenever possible.

Author: Godfrey Gregg

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