Sermon delivered February 14, 1998

by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Bible quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted

How To Be Happy Even Though You Are Married

Can you remember when marriage was a good word? Now the news headlines are filled with smut, some of which is flowing from the oval office. The white house is finding out that low living has a high cost. News commentators broadcast loathsome reports including hot steamy words we wish our children would not ask about.

But the claim of adultery in our white house is not the worst part. What incriminates Americans is the fact that we don't even care. The popularity of this leader is up to 68%! We are more concerned about Dow Jones than Paula Jones.

Most folks think the hanky-panky life of a leader is his own private business because what he did was not illegal. But it was certainly immoral. As we throw out the Ten Commandments from our court houses and toss Christian values from our nation, we are reaping further moral decline.

Perhaps if some of these leaders had more vision they would have fewer nightmares.

Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Our little children are picking up on these things. One small 4 year-old boy brought a neighbor girl to see his mommy and said: "Mother, this is Marcy, she is going to be my first wife!"

The girl who remembers her first kiss now has a daughter who can barely remember her first husband. "Till death do us part" is still a part of the wedding vows. But far too often, it isn't a part of the real commitment of the heart. A groom said: "I'm getting married and thereby saving enough on my income tax to get a divorce if it doesn't work"..... Almost as if he were planning on divorce.

    Wedding vows are a life-long COMMITMENT to stay married. Vows are made to four different parties:
  1. God
  2. Their new spouse
  3. Family members
  4. Friends and witnesses

Marriage is not a contract. Contracts can be broken. Marriage is a life commitment to be kept. Let's study the exciting account of a godly woman who was zealously committed to her rotten marriage and what eventually happened to her.

I Samuel 25:2 A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel.

This Hebrew word for wealth is HEAVY, .. he was loaded! How often God gives to the Nabals of life. 3 "His name was Nabal and his wife's name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman," She was beautiful on the outside and the inside. Brains and beauty are nature's gifts, but character is an achievement made by personal effort and a daily relationship with God.

3b -"but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings (dishonest)." Even though Nabal inherited Caleb's land he acquired none of Caleb's fine qualities. Nabal was like a snapping turtle, snarling and mean. His name means Fool.

Beautiful Abigail stayed married to this drunken crusty, sour man. How many an attractive Abigail is tied down to a harsh Nabal. Any other woman would have considered leaving. But Abigail was a person of commitment. Nabal was abrasive and violent. Their marriage appears to be one of the worst in the Bible. But, sour crabby behavior does not neutralize marriage vows.

Verse one says Samuel died. This put David in greater personal danger from king Saul. So David was hiding in the outback. He and his band of mercenaries needed food. One day Nabal was out shearing his sheep. David's men came up and politely asked for a little food. David's men had been like a wall of protection guarding Nabal/s property from the vigilante-like Philistine raiders.

Here is a bizarre thing. The evil Nabal abounds in surplus while a prominent a saint like David suffers want. How often the saints go begging while deplorable sinners flourish with money and goods.

Nabal said: "Who is David?" and he ordered them away empty handed. "Don't ever expect any help from me." He hurled obnoxious words at them. Nabal was short sighted and short fused. He sent David's famished men away destitute.

I Samuel 25:12,13 "David's men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. David said to his men, "Put on your swords!" So they put on their swords, and David put on his. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.

You don't put on swords to have a friendly discussion at the neighbors. 400 troops set out to exterminate a selfish stubborn cheapskate.

verse 14-17 "One of the servants told Nabal's wife Abigail: 'David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them. Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him."

Here was Abigail's opportunity of a lifetime. All she had to do was sit back and watch David's troops handle her marriage problems. In just a few hours she would be free. As the galloping horses rounded the mountain in a cloud of dust she could simply pray, Lord, take him quickly, don t let him suffer. All this is his fault, now he is going to reap what he has been sowing all these years. Thank you Jesus!

That is exactly what a carnal husband or wife might do. That is the way a non- Christian employee might think. But not Abigail! At Nabal s weakest moment she protected her vulnerable doomed husband.

Proverbs 12:4 A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

Proverbs 31:10 A wife of noble character......

12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. Abigail protected her worthless husband (I Samuel 25:18) Abigail lost no time. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two (leather bags of fresh grape juice), five dressed sheep, five seahs (10 gallons) of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.

Abigail could work fast! David and 400 hungry men with heir stomachs growling are coming as fast as a cruise missile on a death mission. I don t know where Abigail could come up with 200 loaves of bread so quickly out there in the wilderness of Paran. Abigail sure was an industrious bride. She was a self starter but her husband was a crank.

19 Then she told her servants, "Go on ahead; I'll follow you." She got spruced up and joined them.

I Samuel 25:23, 24 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: "My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.

Notice how submissive she was. Yielding is often the only way to achieve peace. Don t be slow to yield in an argument. If Both husband and wife will totally submit, then they can achieve reconciliation. Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Notice that sweet Abigail did not leave her fighting, cranky, harsh husband. No divorce here. It was hard, but she stayed with her husband and allowed God to take care of unfairness in His own time.

Make the best of the marriage you have. Marriage is for life. If you are already divorced and now remarried, you can t divorce your currant companion and go back and remarry the first one. No. But from this moment on, stick it out.

Matthew 19:6 what God has joined together, let man not separate. Your marriage is for life.

This was probably not the first time Nabal s life was saved by his wife s wisdom, action and council. You know, we men don t listen to the council of our godly wives like we ought to. If you have a godly companion, listen up. It could save you a lot of grief. Abigail went out as a mediator between the forces of evil. In this respect she represents Christ our Saviour. Notice how Abigail takes the blame upon herself. She was prepared to suffer for the faults of others. She pled with David to forgive her husband for he knows not what he does. The word Nabal means Fool. She tries to atone for his faults.

She speaks with wisdom: David, what you are about to do here is so uncharacteristic of your kindness. Don t spoil your Sterling record with murder. It is true that you have been hurt, but I know that you are a bigger man than to stoop to kill in revenge for personal wrongs. Deep down in my heart I know that you want to keep it that way. She tries to protect David's integrity in view of the office he will soon hold as president of the nation.

David is such a neat Saint. His sword is drawn, his heart is pounding and yet as he listens to this godly lady his heart is changed. How impossible to be angry with a woman holding a tray of fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies! David is humble and flexible. Wisdom wins the day.

I Samuel 25:35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.

Abigail turns and goes home. Imagine her homecoming! Can you just see her husband come running out to thank her? Oh, sweetheart, you saved my life! Thank you so much! I am going to live a different life from now on. I promise! They stand there in a warm embrace. But... not so!

I Samuel 25:36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing until daybreak.

That night he suffered from a massive hangover from his drunkenness. A hangover is something that occupies the head that you neglected to use the day before.

37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and became like a stone. (It was already as hard as a rock!) The Lord didn't intervene and 10 days later, he died.

Nabal had a massive heart attack or stroke.

    Nabal was dead four times over:
  1. Dead Drunk! It is hard to live with a drunken wife or drunken husband. He had died years ago.
  2. Dead in Marriage. The marriage was long since dead. Yet his wife continued to be faithful.
  3. Dead with Despondency. Verse 37- his heart died within him. How quickly he changed. The night before his heart was merry with wine, and the next morning as heavy as a stone. Maybe the reason he had a sudden heart attack was when he realized how much money his wife had just spent appeasing David s hungry men.
  4. Dead indeed! When David heard the news of Nabal s death, he gave God thanks. Abigail must have breathed a sigh of relief. Tears are not shed at the grave side of misers.

Abigail was a person of distinction. No matter what your marital predicament, you can become a person of character and worth.

I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Never marry a selfish person. They will take up more than their half of the checkbook, the bed, the assets, the time. An unselfish husband constantly looks for ways to make his wife happy.

If we could put all known sins in a humongous iron pot and boil them all down to their single ingredient, that component would be selfishness. Nabal was an extremely selfish tightwad. How Abigail ever married him is not known. Especially since Nabal s parents chose a name that meant Fool. His miserly cranky attitude eventually cost him his life.

Abigail s sweet nature and wisdom gained her a better life. Abigail's example lives on through the ages in distinguished excellence. This wife was committed, unselfish, wise, hardworking, patient, and virtuous.

If you married a Nabal, allow Jesus to make you into a person of excellence. God often allows some of His dearest saints to be tried or buffeted by the winds of adversity so that they may be strengthened for His service and prepared to fulfill His highest purposes.

Abigail was destined to be the companion of the King. So are we. Therefore in our homes and work places let us bloom where we are planted until that day when the king of king comes with His eternal reward to give to His faithful children.



Opening Hymn # 88 I sing the Mighty power of God
Scripture Reading: Responsive Reading # 829
Hymn of Response: 335 What a Wonderful Savior


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