It’s pretty clear what 400 men armed with swords plan to do. Frustrated and hungry, they plan to make mince meat out of an idiot and his household. At least, that was David’s plan.
David and his men had been in exile, hiding from Saul for some time. But they were not idle. Among other things, they had been protecting the property and livelihood of fellow Israelites from invading forces.
After providing protection day and night to a man by the name of Nabal, they became hungry and, since Nabal was a wealthy man, they thought to go to him for some food. Nabal’s name means foolish, as can be witnessed by his response to David’s men.
Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where? (1 Samuel 25:10-11)
Thankfully, Nabal had a smart servant and a wise wife. The servant ran to Nabal’s wife, Abigail, and told her what her husband had done.
David also got wind of Nabals’ response and had his men strap on their swords with the intention of wiping out Nabal and all that he owned.
Abigail pulled together a very large picnic and went out to meet David.
The disaster was averted. But the disaster was not so much the fate of Nabal but the fate of David and the Kingdom if he had followed through with his plan. Both he and Abigail acknowledged this.
… as your soul lives, because the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand…
..blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! For as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male. (1 Samuel 25:26, 33-34)
God frustrated David’s plan for David’s sake, not Nabal’s. Frustrating David’s plan was an act of kindness toward David, whom He loved.
God frustrates the plans of the wicked in judgment (Job 5:12). But He also frustrates many of the plans of His children to keep them from falling.
Perhaps it is the letter you were going to write, the phone call you were going to make, or the coffee break you were hoping to take. Perhaps it was the gift you were planning for your wife or the job you were going to take.
We rarely see the reasons for the frustration at the time. But as His children, we are taught to see these frustrations as an act of kindness. Kindness from a God who is bent on saving us from ourselves.
A kindness we should be quietly thankful for.