October 17, 2011

Gentle Words

1 Samuel 25:1-27

“Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.”
1 Samuel 25:24


Sometimes people live down to their name. Nabal means “fool,” and Nabal certainly demonstrated that his name described his character. David’s men had kept Nabal’s flocks and shepherds safe, and in return David expected Nabal to show appreciation. But Nabal saw no reason to say thank you, and he even insulted David and his men.

Disagreements can be compared to a fire. In response to a fire, we can do one of two things. We can either fuel it to keep it going and growing, or we can put it out.

Nabal’s wife Abigail was wise and knew what was needed. She mediated on behalf of Nabal. She even put the blame on herself. Her words and actions reduced the tension and doused the fire that could have gone out of control. Abigail’s words and actions that day resulted in peace instead of bloodshed—at least for a time.

Our words can still cause fires to erupt. Whether it’s a word of gossip or boasting or prejudice or insult, there is always a price.

Nabal soon paid a price for his self-styled ways. But Abigail was rewarded for her gentle words that calmed a storm. (See 1 Samuel 25:36-44.) God used her ordinary words for an extraordinary moment in his redemptive story.

Dear Word of Life, may our words be shaped by a heart that is more and more in line with yours. Help me to develop the habit of gentle, wise words. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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