If you have not done so before, please review the Background on the Program
As you start to review this episode, please know that YOU matter. Regardless of what you are struggling with, regardless of the depths of your sorrows and regardless of how lonely you feel, the Good News is that YOU matter. I hope the message below nourishes you in the most meaningful way to comfort you and strengthen you to keep climbing into the ring to face your battles.
Episode #12: Decide and Commit (Part One)
Today’s episode starts with a song from Van Morrison, Brown Eyed Girl.
Please spend a few minutes listening to any version you can find on the internet.
I am sure the song Brown Eyed Girl brings back some great memories for all of us. It is one of those songs that transcends generations and provides a joyful lift to people’s spirits. Van Morrison continues to blend his working-class roots from growing up in Ireland into many of his songs. He also weaves in a great deal of faith into his songs that have comforted many over the 6 decades of his musical career. Van Morrison has effectively managed the challenges of fame and fortune to continue to create a positive impact on so many around the world and certainly his hometown of Belfast, Ireland.
The song helps us connect with love and a reminder of how special a loving relationship is to a meaningful life. When we move beyond just an adolescent crush or passionate connection and we move to an adult choice to love someone with a commitment that is intended to last forever, we quickly learn that it is not easy.
Making a commitment to love someone through sickness or health, through riches or poverty, and in good days or bad days, is not easy. The adolescent like feelings of a crush or infatuation or hormone driven passion eventually faces the reality of two deeply flawed humans coming together and trying to make a go at becoming committed for the long haul…and it is not easy for any of us.
In the journey of building a long-term commitment with that “special someone,” times will get tough (despite what the fairy tales will tell us, there is NEVER a “happily ever after” …there will always be tough times in any long-term relationship). In those tough times, we can often feel all alone and perhaps feel that “quit looks good” and we should break things off, cut our losses and move on. We find some helpful guidance to address difficult relationships in the ancient scriptures that guide the Jewish and Christian faiths and, in this instance, we look specifically to the first book of Samuel, Chapter 25 (1 Samuel 25) (please find a version of this scripture on the internet).
The background of this situation is that David, who has not yet become king of Israel, is building his base of loyal followers and earns a living by using his posse to provide security for the land and possessions of some wealthy landowners in and around Israel. One of those wealthy landowners is a man name Nabal.
As described in 1 Samuel 25, Nabal is mean and surly (a real jerk) and his wife Abigail is “intelligent and beautiful.”
- Before getting into the story further, it is important to note how ancient scriptures describe women as having both intelligence and beauty. It is a stark contrast to what a lot of people today, who are unfamiliar with the facts, think about “traditional” teaching from Jewish and Christian scripture. Many people have a false impression that ancient scripture does not bring reverence, respect and honor to women. That misconception could not be further from the truth. The ancient scriptures that guide the Jewish and Christian faiths consistently reinforce the strength and intelligence of women as critical to the building of effective communities, families, and society as a whole. Modern times and many individuals may have perverted this view recently, but that facts are that the ancient scriptures that form the foundational guidance of Jewish and Christian faiths have always reinforced the important and unique character of women as strong, intelligent and beautiful.
Now back to the story of Nabal and Abigail.
David and his followers have been protecting Nabal and his property over the farming season. As part of providing this protection, it was customary for wealthy landowners to pay for this protection. When David’s men came for payment, Nabal basically said “no” and insulted David with a comment, “who is this David?” that he should seek payment from me?
When David’s men returned with Nabal’s message, David planned to seek revenge and ordered his men to “put on your swords” as they were ready to go kill Nabal and destroy his property.
One of Nabal’s servants observed what happened and ran to tell Abigail about Nabal’s rude response to David’s men. Unfortunately, this was a common behavior that Abigail had witnessed over the many years of her marriage to Nabal. Nabal would be described in modern times as someone who was a drunk, a verbally abusive person, and a “selfish pig” in all of his close relationships, especially to his wife Abigail.
In summary, here is the situation:
- Nabal is a rude, arrogant jerk and is about to be killed for his poor judgment and behavior
- Abigail was placed into an arranged marriage to this jerk and has endured his selfishness for many years
- Abigail knows what is about to happen and she has a choice about what to do…silently and passively let things play out and Nabal will be killed and this miserable relationship will be over, or take some action
What would you do? You were forced into a terrible relationship and a long-term commitment to someone who is an absolute jerk…and now you have a potential “face saving, no blame” way out of it.
In verse 18, we see how Abigail responded. “She lost no time” and made preparations to meet David and his army far away from her home with Nabal to jump out in front of David’s threats for revenge and try and plead for David’s mercy to not kill her husband.
The scripture is clear in that Abigail made a commitment to build this relationship for the long term no matter how difficult it was in the present. She decided in a very difficult moment, to stand in the gap between David and the certain death of her miserable husband Nabal. Abigail ends up saving Nabal’s life from the hands and swords of David’s army.
Abigail, whom this ancient Jewish scripture described as “intelligent and beautiful” now had options in her life, but she made a decision to stick with the commitment to build her marriage for “better or worse” when clearly she was experience much more “for worse” than “for better.”
The story of Abigail, Nabal and David is a good reminder that close relationships, especially marriage, are never “happily ever after.” We make choices every day that help build on our commitment or detract on our commitment. Sticking with a relationship or ending a relationship are all very personal and often very difficult decisions between couples. Our place is not to judge but to provide love and support to those working through what is the most heart-breaking of all of life’s conflicts…struggling relationships in the home.
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions:
- When did I realize that “happily ever after” was indeed a fairy tale in my closest relationships?
- What actions am I currently doing that help support my closest relationships and what actions hurt my closest relationships?
As you continue along with your closest relationships, please remember that we all find ourselves feeling all alone and at times when “quit looks good.” It can feel almost too much to endure. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed in a dark valley of your closest relationship, please remember that (1) God promises and is always faithful to help comfort us and we should call on Him in our time of need and (2) Please reach out to a close friend to talk and please consider me one of your friends today.
As you continue to reflect on the message, please take a moment to search the internet to find and listen to If I needed You. This is a song written by Townes Van Zandt and there are various artists who sing this wonderful song of love and support.
How can I help you today? My mobile is 269-370-9275 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please download some FREE resources at www.harvesttimepartners.com I hope you will find them helpful in your journey.