What is Nabalism you might ask? Nabalism is a word that I chose for this lesson to represent foolish ways in a person. 1 Samuel chapter 25 of God’s word tells the story of a man whose name was Nabal. Nabal behaved himself very foolishly and his actions caused great distress for those around him. Today, with the help of the Lord, we will explore this chapter in the Bible and learn the difference in wise and foolish behavior and the outcome thereof. May God be with us as we read and may he give us wisdom and understanding in the name of Jesus, this we ask of God our Father.
We all as human beings, have a free will of choice. God, our creator, gave us that free will because he is good. We can choose to be wise and follow after the Lord, or we can choose the ways of the flesh or foolish ways. As stated before, just for this lesson, I will refer to the way of the foolish as Nabalism. We will be doing a study of a wonderful story in the Bible that teaches many valuable lessons. Starting in the book of 1 Samuel chapter 25 we read.
1 Samuel 25
1And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
2And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
3Now 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.
4And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.
Let’s look at the whole picture here. Samuel had died. Samuel was the one who had anointed David as King as instructed by God. He was loved by David and all the Israelites. Also, in previous chapters we read where King Saul whom David loved has been trying to kill him. Still, David behaves himself wisely and follows the Lord in all this. David goes into the wilderness where Nabal has much sheep and it was sheep shearing time. David, being a shepherd as a boy, understood this process and his men generously kept Nabal’s shearers and his flock safe during this time. It was a very good and noble thing that David did for Nabal and his servants.
5And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.
7And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
9And when David's young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.
In Biblical days, sheep shearing time was a joyous time, a time of feasting and festival. David and his men have been protecting Nabal’s flock from wolves and other things that might prey upon the sheep. There were a large number of men with David, and they were in the wilderness doing this very valuable and kind service for Nabal. They were I’m sure in need themselves of food among other things. Yet they acted kindly and wisely toward Nabal and his servants. They had spent much time protecting not only the flock, but also the workers in a time when Philistine attacks were common. They made sure all were safe and nothing was taken. David in all that time did not ask for compensation from Nabal but waited until sheep shearing “harvest” time when Nabal himself would have made his money, to request kindness from Nabal. According to custom, Nabal was to return the kindness to David and his men that they showed to him. David went out of his way to be polite to Nabal. He sent ten young men to talk to Nabal so that he would not be intimidated nor give out of fear. David instructs his men what to say and to greet Nabal with much warmth and kindness saying peace be unto you.
David instructs his men to carefully and patiently tell Nabal all the services they have given, and to politely remind Nabal of the traditions of generosity surrounding the harvest and sheep shearing time saying, for we come on a feast day. David does not demand any specific payment from Nabal, nor does he set a price, he simply leaves it up to Nabal’s generosity, by saying please give whatever comes to your hand. After doing as David commanded, his messengers simply wait for Nabal’s reply.
10And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.
11Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
Instead of being kind and generous in return, Nabal’s reply was rude and insulting. Nabal says, who is David and who is the son of Jesse? It was very unlikely that Nabal really didn’t know who David was because David was famous throughout all of Israel, (1Samuel 18: 5-7). In other words Nabal is saying this as a direct insult to David in refusal to recognize him. In other words, who does David think he is? Nabal doesn’t stop there, he continues the insults. He says, there are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. Nabal is saying that David is simply a rebellious servant. It was known that David was one to conduct himself wisely even when continuously attacked by Saul. Nabal’s way of thinking is that everything was his, his, and his instead of the Lord’s. He was thinking of no one but himself.
12So David's young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.
13And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.
David takes this rudeness exactly the way Nabal intended it to be received, with extreme insult. David however is no ordinary man, he is a great warrior, who has conquered many in battle. Think now, David has been hiding in caves and otherwise from Saul who is trying very hard to kill him, while also sparing Saul’s life, he has mourned the death of Samuel, and he and his men have just spent a long time helping this ungrateful Nabal and his insults just did it! Nabal’s rude and insulting response was the last straw or the straw that broke the camel’s back! David was angry and he was ready to avenge himself and not some slap on the wrist, he had war in his eyes! Nabal is in big trouble and doesn’t even realize it.
As we know in reading the accounts of David thus far, He is a wise young man and is chosen by God to be King of Israel. He has always trusted in the Lord and behaved himself very well thus far. However, David was only human. We all have our “breaking points”. We all have limits to our tolerance and endurance. David has shown great patience in the past but perhaps all of it had built up and he couldn’t handle it anymore. Have you ever been there? I think we all have. We have taken things and taken them and taken them until one day something happens and we lose control of our temper. It is something that we in ourselves cannot control. It is the nature of the flesh. In those times it is important to trust the Lord to fight our battles for us and to trust him. However, if there are times in which we do lose our tempers or we forget to be longsuffering, we need to go to the Lord and ask forgiveness and asking Him to help to not make the same mistake next time.
So here we have David and his men with their swords strapped to their sides and they are out for vengeance, they are out for Nabal’s blood. On down in the chapter we will read where David makes a statement that it was useless, and all his watching over Nabal’s property apparently meant nothing. David says that Nabal has paid him evil for good and that he plans to kill every male of all that belong to Nabal. David is furious. We will continue the rest of the story if God wills next week and find out what happens to David and to Nabal.
However, today I want continue in going back to what we have just read and looking at the foolishness of Nabal and the characteristics of a foolish person so that we can identify and avoid those foolish ways.
We as God’s children, do not want to be foolish people. We must see these foolish ways or “Nabalisms”, and do the best we can to seek wisdom. No mere human is or has ever been born wise. We must live and learn while asking for wisdom from the Lord. Part of becoming a wise person is being aware of those things which are foolish, and eluding them.
Nabalism - The ways of a foolish person.
Nabalism 1. ME, ME, ME! MY, MY, MY. Life is all about me and mine!
1 Samuel 25:11 “11Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?”
Psalm 14:1 “ 1The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”
A foolish person thinks of no one but themselves. A foolish person is unthankful, and does not recognize God or that all belong and come from the LORD. A foolish person is selfish and lacks generosity.
Nabalism 2. I am always right! I will take no advice or counsel from anyone!
Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”
A foolish person thinks himself/herself as always right. They will not accept or listen to any advice or counsel from anyone about anything. A wise person will listen to what others have to say even if he or she feels right about a particular thing. They will listen, apply, and seek God about the matter. A foolish person isn’t interested in truth, but is instead, only interested in being right.
Nabalism 3. I will not control my temper. I can control others with my anger!
Proverbs 12:16 “ 16A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”
Proverbs 14:16 “ 16A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.”
Proverbs 29:11 “ 11A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
A foolish person will not try to control rage or anger. They will try to control others, and situations with the showing of anger because they feel out of control or because they simply just want their own way.
Proverbs 26:4 “ 4Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.”
It is best not to argue with someone who is doing this. If you do this and allow yourself to be taken in, you will be just the same. It is better to walk away and seek God for counsel on how to respond to this wisely, as he would direct you.
Nabalism 4. I do not, and I refuse to learn from my mistakes!
Proverbs 26:11 “11As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.”
A foolish person will not learn or try to learn from mistakes. He/she will just keep repeating the same ones over and over even when God is showing them differently. A foolish person does not try to seek God on these issues, but will just continue in their foolish ways. It is not a sin to make a mistake, but to keep making it knowingly without seeking God for help, is very foolish. We all must live and learn. A wise person will learn and not repeat the same mistakes over and over. I heard a quote once that is so insightful, it says, “The road to wisdom is paved from lessons learned.”
Nabalism 5. There is no point in making amends for my sin.
Proverbs 14:9 “Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.”
A foolish person will not try to make up for past mistakes and sins. Foolish people do not care about such things. A wise person will seek the Lord for ways to make amends for the things they have done wrong to others, be it an apology or otherwise. Never underestimate the power of apologizing to someone that you have hurt even if it seems ineffective at the time. A wise person will ask God to help them make amends, and they will obey his direction.
And last but not least,
Nabalism 6. I can trust myself and my own ways!
Proverbs 28:26 “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
A foolish person places their trust in themselves instead of realizing that in our flesh is no good thing. Our trust is to be placed solely in the Lord.
Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
A wise person will place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. A wise person will understand that righteousness comes from the Father.
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.”
It is my prayer today that you trust in the LORD, and that you recognize these foolish ways or “Nabalisms” in which we have studied. It is my prayer that you avoid foolish ways so that your walk with Christ may be stronger and closer than ever before. It is my prayer that you do this so that you can be a light to a lost and dying world, giving God all the glory, knowing that He will draw others to himself through Christ Jesus. God Bless you all.
Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Remember to love and serve others in the attitude of Christ.
Dear Righteous Heavenly Father,
Thank you today for who you are and who you will always be. Thank you for being worthy of worship, glory and honor. Thank you for providing your ways in your word for us to read, study and to live by. Father we ask that you help us to be wise servants to you and to others for your glory. We ask that you help us to recognize foolish ways and to shun them, to avoid them so that we may live and learn and become wise stewards unto you. Father was ask you today to give us wisdom and understanding so that we can learn of you and know you better. We ask that you help us to study and to grow closer in our walks and relationships with you so that you will shine through us. Father we thank you for all the countless blessings you have given, give, and will continue to give. We thank you for those blessings that we take for granted sometimes or that go unnoticed. Father help us to discern between wise and foolish ways and to seek you for counsel in all things. We ask that you protect us and our loved ones yet another week and help us to lift high the name of Jesus so that others would come to know you and the free pardon of sin. Thank you for this day, help us to rejoice and to be glad in it. Thank you for being merciful and understanding and for never giving up on your children. You are good and your mercy is forever. Thank you for loving us so much and for giving all of yourself to us. Father please help us give all of ourselves to you in Jesus righteous, holy, blessed, lovely name we ask and pray…AMEN.
God Bless you all…
June 25, 2017