Friday, May 21, 2010

anyone need a peacemaker?

Have you ever been in a situation where anger flared and peace was needed? We seem to react so quickly to situations without thinking. Maybe if we would just step back before we acted, there would be no more war. Can you really have a war when there is someone acting as a peacemaker? In war you need to sides of anger. What if there could be an end to anger? Just think of the possibilities.
I remember when our kids were young and they would have a little scrabble. You know what I would do? I would make them sit next to each other on the couch, touching mind you, and say good things about the other. Now, lets just say, it took a while for this to work, but after a bit, there were no more words of anger, but indeed laughter. When we take a step back and really think about why we are angry we gain clarity.

In 1 Samuel chapter 25 we read about David, Nabal, and Abigail, the peace maker. I think Abigail is the hero in this story. Isn't it awesome when the hero happens to be a woman? Here you have Nabal, who is mean, angry and on a rampage. He is wealthy, cocky, and unwise. Now, you have young David, serving with his men is Nabal's fields. They are working day and night to protect all that Nabal has. David and his men are wanting to be paid, to be honored for their work, but Nabal refuses. He sees things much different. He seems to think he doesn't owe anyone anything. So David and his men saddle up. (Did they really saddle up back then?) Anyway, they started out. They had their swords ready for battle. They were angry and on the path to go after Nabal. Abigail hears the news. What does she do? This beauty of a woman prepares food and drink and gets herself on a donkey to go out to meet David. She didn't have to bother herself with this. She could have just as easy let David's men kill Nabal, but she steps out. She becomes the hero here in the story as she speaks to David and tells him she is sorry. What? Why is she the one asking forgiveness? She didn't even do anything. But she is filled with humility before God, and goes out to David. In verse 18 it says this; "Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys."

Okay, now that is one mighty big kitchen, many hard workers, and one willing vessel to step in and save the day. It doesn't say Abigail took her time. It says she made haste. She knew this was important, and she needed to hurry before terrible things happened.

I love this picture of Abigail on a donkey going before this angry crowd of men. Sound familiar? I believe Jesus rode in on a donkey as well, surrounded by anger of who He was and what He came to do.

Abigail shows us how to bring peace to a situation that could have been very bad. She shows us humility, and beauty on a single donkey riding before men. As she speaks to David, she calms the situation and David says to her in verse 32-35 "Then David said to Abigail: Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.For indeed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!" So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, God up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person."

Nabal ends up dieing about ten days later, and Abigail never had the chance to share with him the truth of the matter. After Nabal's death, David takes Abigail to be his wife. What a story of peace. Just one woman, one heart, made all the difference that day. Although Nabal never knew the difference, David did, and blessings were in store.

Sometimes all it takes is for one hero to step out and make a difference. We don't always have to be right. We don't always have to speak with anger. If we just step back we can see the truth in the matter and walk away without pride, but humbleness. And in that humbleness honor is found.

If there is a situation brewing in your neck of the woods, step back, pray, and seek God's advice. Seek wisdom before you act. Just one act of peace can change the day.

Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Matthew 5:9 " Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
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