The Value Of Loyalty

40 When the messengers arrived at Carmel, they told Abigail, “David has sent us to take you back to marry him.”
1 Samuel 25:40 (NLT)

In the previous article, we have seen how David spared Saul. Saul regretted his actions and left David alone. David was no longer a fugitive. Unfortunately, neither was he the king’s army commander. He moved his team to another place called Maon where they helped to protect the flocks of a rich man.

The man’s name was Nabal. He happened to be the descendent of Caleb. Let us go through some history. Caleb and Joshua were the only two out of the twelve spies Moses sent that delivered positive news on the Promised Land, while the other ten gave negative news. As a result of the unbelief of the Israelites, God denied that generation right to enter the land. Joshua and Caleb were the only people in their generation that set their feet on the Promised Land. Caleb asked for a mountain inhabited by giants and defeated them. He became very rich.

Since Nabal was a descendent of Caleb, he came from a family of faith and inherited part of Caleb’s vast fortune. Unfortunately he was only rich outside but poor spiritually. In other words, he only inherited the physical wealth and not the spiritual wealth of his ancestor. The Bible says he was crude and mean in his dealings. This means he was not the type of person you like to spend time with. He must be very oppressive to the people around him including his family members and employees.

When it was time for sheep shearing, David sent his men to asked Nabal for some provisions as payment for their services. Why did they ask at that time? It was the time where the sheep were sheared and their fur was available to be sold. It was the equivalent of harvest or payday. Nabal had a lot of money then. He even organized parties on such times.

In David’s mind, his team had protected Nabal’s animals so well that not a single one lost. That was a great achievement because it was common in those days that some animals to have ended up becoming meals to the predators. So, asking for some provisions was reasonable. However, Nabal had a different opinion. He did not care what David and his men had done to protect his property. As far as he was concern, he preferred to keep all his money in his own wallet.

10 “Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.
11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?”
1 Samuel 25:10-11 (NLT)

He refused to acknowledge the work David and his men had done to protect his animals. He even insulted them. Basically, the reason was he refused to pay them. He would rather spend his money on parties.

David got very angry and he prepared to attack Nabal’s household.

12 So David’s young men returned and told him what Nabal had said.
13 “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. Then 400 men started off with David, and 200 remained behind to guard their equipment.
1 Samuel 25:12-13 (NLT)

Nabal was in trouble. Fortunately, he had a godly wife called Abigail. Abigail knew what her husband did was evil and could have harmed the entire household. She prepared some provision and personally sent them to David. When she got there, she pleaded to David to spare her husband. David was so impressed by her loyalty that he agreed to spare Nabal for Abigail’s sake.

After Abigail had succeeded in getting David’s assurance of her husband’s safety, she went home. When she reached home, she found her husband drunk in the party. So, she did not tell him what she had done. You may have noticed that she had no intention to deceive her husband. Everything that she did was for him despite his character. She remained faithful to her husband even though he was not a good man.
The next morning, when Nabal was sober, Abigail told him what she had done. It must be a great blow to him when he knew that his wife had given so much to others. He got a stroke and became paralyzed.

36 When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until dawn the next day.
37 In the morning when Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone.
38 About ten days later, the Lord struck him, and he died.
1 Samuel 25:36-38 (NLT)

Please note that the phase that says “the Lord struck him” is not meant to be literal. As I have proven in previous articles, this was the way those folks expressed an event. It does not mean that God intentionally killed Nabal. Nabal died of stroke. He got stroke because he could not take the news that his wife had given a lot of money away. The real killer was his love of money, not God.

Today, we have the phase “acts of gods” to describe earthquakes or events that are beyond the control of humans. It does not mean that there are gods out there that are busy making earthquakes. Likewise “the Lord struck him” is not literal.

What happened after Nabal died? First of all, no one mourned for him. David thought he got what he deserved. David proceeded to ask Abigail to be his wife. Abigail married to a better man. Why would David want to marry Abigail in the first place? Apart from the fact that she was physically beautiful, I suspect David saw her loyalty and dedication to her late husband to be irresistible. So Abigail was not only released from having to live with a brutal man like Nabal, she became the wife of a future king.

There are 2 lessons here for us to learn from the persons of Nabal and Abigail. Let us start with Nabal. This guy was born in a prominent family. His ancestor was Caleb well known for his faith. Caleb asked Joshua to give him a mountain where the giants were living. He went up there, defeated those giants and possessed the entire mountain. He became very rich. So, Nabal was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Unfortunately, he ignored the spiritual wealth of his ancestors and focused narrowly on material possession alone. He was physically rich but spiritually poor.

I am sure there are many people like that, especially those who have inherited billions from their parents. They may have their parent’s physical wealth but they do not have their parent’s inner wealth. As a result, the inheritance ended up harming them. They have no direction in life and made a lot of silly mistakes like getting into drugs, addicted to gambling or infected with diseases due to their promiscuous lifestyles.

In Nabal’s case, he held so tightly to his money that he refused to pay David for protecting his assets. He almost got himself killed in David’s hands. However, God did not abandon him. He had a sensible wife who took immediate action to save him. Unfortunately, when he learned about how much money his wife had given away, he had a stroke and died ten days later. His love of money had killed him.

The lesson for us here is we must be spiritually rich before we can be physically rich. It is extremely important for us to build up our spiritual wealth before we receive our physical wealth. If you happen to have a lot of money suddenly through inheritance or any form of dumb luck, don’t touch them before your are spiritually prepared. Otherwise you will be harmed.

If you are already established in your riches, make sure your children are spiritually rich before they inherit your physical riches. You want to give them physical riches to bless them, not to harm them. Physical riches without spiritual riches are dangerous.

Next, let us look at Abigail. Other women could be envious of her for marrying a rich man but I don’t think she had a happy marriage. He husband was crude and mean. When she went out to meet David, her husband did not even know about it. He was busy getting drunk. This shows us that he did not care for her at all. Despite all these, she remained faithful and loyal to him.

When she learned that her husband had made a serious mistakes that could caused the entire household to be killed, she took immediate action to personally bring provisions to meet David and pleaded for him to spare her husband. I am sure everyone in David’s camp was impressed with her loyalty.

In the end she had a good ending. That mean husband of hers died and she married to David, the legend and the future king. This tells us that loyalty is very attractive.

How should we be loyal? First of all, it means no backstabbing. If you don’t like about someone, you can talk to this person privately. Don’t go around talking bad things about people behind their backs. Personally I find those who do that to be very ugly and repulsive. Think about it, if you can talk bad about others in front of me, what makes me think that you will not talk bad about me when I am not around? Backstabbing is a betrayal and those who do that are plain repulsive.

Secondly, loyalty means never resort to sabotage. If you think your boss is bad, find a new job and quit. Do not resort to any form of actions that causes troubles for him. Never say bad things about your present boss in your job interview. It will make you look bad. Your prospective boss values loyalty. Your disloyal behavior toward your present boss will only turn him off. God is the same. He wants us to be loyal. Loyalty is attractive to him.

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