As you can see from the title of this post, I am going to cover a #hot-topic. It seems like that more and more these days people are bullying others. This is not true of course. Bullies have always existed and they always will, not matter what campaign we push via #’s on social media, or are brainwashed with in the public schools. We are much more aware of bullies but that does not mean that there are more bullies.
What does God have to teach on this subject? As I have written many, many times before, the Word of God is relevant to our daily lives. God has given us everything that we need in His Word for “life and godliness”. Our problem is that we are illiterate when it comes to the Bible’s teachings because we never actually study. We do short “devotions” to calm our conscience and check off our list that we “spent time with God” today.
In this post and over this lesson, we will cover a situation where two bullies are present and two godly people have to deal with bullies according to God’s will. The story is found in I Samuel 25. The main actors on this stage are David, Abigail, and Nabal. The fourth implied character is one of the bullies, King Saul. Although he is not mentioned in this passage, he is the reason that we have this passage, because David is on the run from the bully King Saul.
I. David’s reaction to bully #1
God blessed David because David walked with God. David had a heart for God. In fact, God says that David had a heart after his. David has been chosen by God and anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel. All of Israel loves David. They sing of him and his victories on the battle field. King Saul is very jealous. He no longer walks with God and God no longer blesses him as king. His time of reign is coming to an end but he does not want to give up his position. He sees David as a direct threat to him so he tries to make David’s life as miserable as possible. This is usually why people end up bullying others, because they are jealous. They do not realize that God has created them and made them exactly the way that He wanted to make them for His glory. Instead of walking with God and seeking to bring Him glory, they want His glory for themselves. When others around them do something better than they do, even if it is for God’s glory, they get jealous and want to punish their perceived “competition”. Well, King Saul, on multiple occasions, tries to kill David but God protects David and spares his life. David is on the run from Saul, living in caves and suffering. He has about 600 other men who are fugitives, people who have joined David in his miserable life. On several occasions, David has a chance to return Saul’s evil with evil. David has a chance to stop King Saul’s bullying by putting him to death. David chooses to trust God and not harm the bully. He does not want to be like the bully, himself, and instead, he listens to God and actually prays for the bully. This is God’s way of dealing with bullies, pray for them, do not act like they do, love them the way that God does, and try to help them when you can. You never know how God will intervene and use this situation for His glory.
II. David’s reaction to bully #2
In I Samuel 25, we find David encountering another bully, a man by the name of Nabal. The name Nabal literally means “fool or foolish”. He is a very foolish man, seemingly from childhood since his parents called him “foolish one”. His character is revealed in I Samuel 25. He is described by others as harsh man, a severe man, a difficult person to get along with, a worthless man, he gets dead dog drunk, he is selfish and self-centered, an evil man. He is also an ungrateful bully. David and his men were on the run. They come across Nabal’s men shearing over 3,000 sheep in the wilderness. If you know anything about the wilderness, it is a place of little protection. David and his 600 men became a wall of protection for Nabal’s men day and night until their job of shearing was done. After it was over, David sent his men to ask for some food and drink for their services. They are all on the run so they do not have resources. They are hungry and thirsty, on the run in the wilderness. They were in need. They were not asked to serve Nabal but they did. They did not demand a reward but simply asked for one. Nabal was a super bully. He treated David and his men really poorly, like dirt. He would not give them anything, even though he had benefited from their services and could have afforded to reward them. The next day, Nabal throws a big party for himself, a lavish party with much wine. In fact, there was so much wine there that Nabal got dead drunk. David hears the news about the way Nabal bullied his men. He was angry. David had forgotten about the way that he treated the bully King Saul. David was not ready to pray for Nabal and let God handle it. David got 400 of his misfit men together and set off to kill Nabal and all of the men under him. David did great is situation number 1 and was about to make a huge mistake in situation number 2. This is where Abigail comes on the scene.
III. Abigail’s reaction to a bully
Abigail is a direct contrast to Nabal, her husband. Her name literally means “my father’s joy”. The Bible tells us here in I Samuel 25 that Abigail is intelligent and beautiful. She was married to a loser. Please keep in mind that during those days, the women did not have a choice in whom they married. They were given and taken in marriage. She probably did not choose to marry Nabal the bully. One of the servants came to Abigail and told her what Nabal had done. She was not surprised because she had been living with this bully since they got married. She immediately made a plan and went to David and his men with food. She stopped David from acting like a bully. She went back home to confront her husband. When she found him, he was dead drunk. She waited until he was sober and confronted him, hoping that he would repent of his actions and attitude. He did not, and 10 days later, God put Nabal to death. He had had many opportunities to change his bullying ways yet he did not. God said, “that’s enough, it ends now”. David learned of Nabal’s death and he sends for Abigail to be his wife. They get married and lived happily ever after 🙂 .
Have you ever been bullied? How did you respond? Did you respond like David the first time, or did you respond like David the second time? If you have a bully in your family, do you respond like Abigail? God knows about bullies and he wants to win them over. He wants you to trust Him in the midst of the difficult. Are you willing to do it?
Next time, we are going to look at another bully, a man who bullied many, many different people. God dealt differently with this person than with Saul and Nabal because of this man’s response.