Adversity To Victory

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As I was writing this teaching. . .I had just prayed over more prayer requests than I can count. People facing unknown transitions and difficult choices.

Are you going through a transition?

Does it seem that you're facing difficult problems without seeing an answer in sight?

If so, this teaching is for you.

David was in a time of transition. . .He had been anointed by the Prophet Samuel to be King of Israel.

However, David was far from the throne. He was living as an outcast on the run from the current King, Saul, and dwelling among his enemies the Philistines.

On top of all of it, David’s spiritual guide and mentor, the Prophet Samuel, had just died.

1 Samuel 25:1 says:

“Then Samuel died; and the Israelites gathered together and lamented for him, and buried him at his home in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the Wilderness of Paran.”

There was no closure for David. He would never see the Prophet Samuel again in this lifetime either alive or ready for burial. He had only the Lord Himself for consolation.

This may sound familiar to you. If not now, then you remember what transition was like from a time in the past. It is not easy.

Do you realize God gives us these biblical stories so we can find the courage to see He will bring us out in the end?

Here are seven thoughts on how to handle times of transition.

First, David was likely undergoing financial pressure.

Living as a raider, pillaging Philistine villages while pretending to be their ally, was likely “tough sledding.” He was probably searching for answers wherever he looked. . .and everywhere he went.

Consider what happened next. He was about to bump into someone who would change his destiny or at least keep him from making a profound mistake. Have you ever had someone like that in your life? You might want to remember to thank them again today.

In re-reading this teaching which is a favorite of Bev’s and mine . . .when I came to my previous sentence. . .the Lord clearly directed me to tell you. . .that you are about to bump into someone who will change your destiny.

1 Samuel 25:2-3 in the New King James Version says:

 “Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb.”

David had already sown into Nabal’s life, even though the pompous man did not know it yet.

When David heard Nabal was doing business in his area, an idea quickly formed in his mind. “I have blessed Nabal. Surely he will be open to blessing me in return.”

David quickly formulated what he believed to be a proper approach.

Typical of the day, David’s emissaries were directed to approach in a humble manner that heaped effusive praise upon a successful man whom they hoped would become their benefactor.

1 Samuel 25:4-6 in the New King James Version says:

When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have!”

David was specific in his proposal. Here was an opportunity to reap where he had sown. He was bold enough to articulate and propose the blessing in a well-mannered way.

Regardless of their social station, every rational person desires respect. David approached Nabal in the way he believed a son would approach a father.

1 Samuel 25:7 in the New King James Version says:

“Not only did we not steal from you, we protected your men. 7 “Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel.”

David wisely proposed the witness of Nabal’s employees as verification of the truthfulness of what he was saying.  “Ask your young men, and they will tell you.”

Having David and his men as a wall around them actually allowed Nabal’s men the assurance that they would not lose sheep to the wild animals or other unexpected predators. David had proven himself a protector not a predator.

David asked to participate in the feast day of celebration.

1 Samuel 25:8 in the New King James Version says:

“Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.’”

David knew the power of wise association. We see a depiction of his men doing exactly as instructed.

1 Samuel 25:9 in the New King James Version says:

So when David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David, and waited.”

Second, you will not always receive honor in return from where you have sown honor.

Unfortunately, David was about to experience an unexpected emotional blow in the form of a terrible insult. It was an opportunity for him to be knocked totally off course.

1 Samuel 25:10-11 in the New King James Version says:

“Then Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. 11 Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?”

Nabal’s response was a shock to David. Not knowing the man or his personality, David’s immediate response was not a model of turning the other cheek.

1 Samuel 25:12-13 in the New King James Version says:

“So David’s young men turned on their heels and went back; and they came and told him all these words. 13 Then David said to his men, “Every man gird on his sword.” So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword. And about four hundred men went with David, and two hundred stayed with the supplies.”

BUT GOD. He already had David’s deliverance scheduled. Even if it was not going to come from the source he anticipated.

David was going to respond one way. . .but not the way God would have wanted.

There are going to be times in life when we will totally be taken off guard. We will not see it coming. But God has promised His faithfulness if we use wisdom and claim it.

I Corinthians 10:13 NLT says:

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

After all, He’s the One who can change every situation around by changing hearts and opening doors we can’t even imagine.

Third, favor will manifest as result of sowing good into the unknown servants of a great man.

One of my friends worked for a number of years with a high-profile minister. He can recount numerous instances of how his life improved because he not only dealt righteously with the renowned but those who served them.

1 Samuel 25:14-15 in the New King James Version continues:

Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he reviled them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields.”

The Testimony of Someone Close to a Person of Greatness Can Change the Seasons of Your Life.

Someone has already noticed the times you were a wall to their enemies. They have noticed the times you kept watch while they simply tried to live.

1 Samuel 25:16 in the New King James Version says:

“They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep”

God has placed someone close to you who will not allow you to harm yourself by retaliating against someone else…even if the person who has offended you. . .is someone who deserves to be hurt.

Let me say that again. . .God has placed someone close to you who will not allow you to harm yourself. Do you know who that person is? Do you receive their advice and correction?

1 Samuel 25:17 in the New King James Version says:

 “Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him.”

David thought his relationship would be with Nabal.

His relationship was actually with Nabal’s much wiser wife, Abigail.

David’s deliverer was coming with provision and superior wisdom.

1 Samuel 25:18-19 in the New King James Version says:

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. 19 And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal,”

Fourth, the Holy Spirit Will Help Your Deliverer Understand Your Pain.

David must have felt as if all he had sown into Nabal had been a waste of time that mocked the good intentions of his soul. Even while deliverance was moving toward him, David fumed and plotted retaliation. He was so angry he clearly stated his plans to kill all the males in Nabal’s house.

1 Samuel 25:20-22 in the New King James Version says:

“So it was, as she rode on the donkey, that she went down under cover of the hill; and there were David and his men, coming down toward her, and she met them.21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good. 22 May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light.”

Abigail knew how to deal with an angry man. She had probably learned a great deal through all the rough years living with Nabal.

1 Samuel 25:23-25 in the New King James Version says:

Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. 24 So she fell at his feet and said: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant. 25 Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.”

Fifth, your deliverer will arrive with words of instruction.

1 Samuel 25:26-27 in the New King James Version says:

Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal.27 And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.” 

Your deliverer will pour healing balm over your wounds.

Abigail had done nothing wrong, but her words of reconciliation began the healing process in David’s inner being.

David must have had a mired of thoughts living for months and then years in the wilderness. He knew he was supposed to be king but he didn’t know when. At times he despaired he would ever make it to the throne which he was told was his destiny.

He was pushed and pulled constantly by his men, King Saul’s advances to kill him and the struggle to survive in the wilderness with no peaceful home in sight.

David, like most people, no doubt, tried hard to remain constant and close to the Lord in the midst of sometimes dire circumstances. We have many Psalms we could read to understand his inner conflict.

But God sent Abigail to encourage David and be a ray of hope to keep him on track.

1 Samuel 25:28-29 in the New King James Version says:

“Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout your days. 29 Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling.”

Sixth, when your miracle comes, remember the channel through which it flowed.

1 Samuel 25:30-31 in the New King James Version says:

And it shall come to pass, when the Lord has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, 31 that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

God provides our way of escape … but it will always come through people. We should always remember those to whom God have the command or nudge to be there for us.

We are all parts of the body … to be used to edify and help one another. We cannot make it alone.

We sometimes take for granted the many ways in which we are encouraged by the words or even a smile of another.

When someone gives us insight into our situation or outwardly helps us in our situation, we should always give thanks to them as well as God.

1 Samuel 25:32-35 in the New King James Version says:

“Then David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 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.34 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!” 35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person.”

Seventh, God will deal with the fools who touch His anointed servants. We don’t have to.

We are never directed to ‘get even’ with those who seek to harm us. Our only direction is to trust God in every situation.

Romans 12:19says:

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for itis written, Vengeanceismine; I will repay,saiththeLord.

The Bible is full of examples where we can draw strength, encouragement and resolve and David’s case is one of them.

1 Samuel 25:2-3 in the New King James Version says:

Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light. 37 So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. 38 Then it happened, after about ten days, that the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.”

God has plans we don’t know about.

1 Samuel 25:38b in the New King James Version says:

“So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.”

Look Again: God May Have Even More For You Than First Appears.

1 Samuel 25:39-42 in the New King James Version says:

“And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife. 40 When the servants of David had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying, “David sent us to you, to ask you to become his wife.” 41 Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, “Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42 So Abigail rose in haste and rode on a donkey, attended by five of her maidens; and she followed the messengers of David, and became his wife.” 

When you’re in times of transition. . .keep your eyes focused on the Lord and His Word.

Do not yield to the temptation to take matters into your own hands.

Allow God to direct your faith. . .He will lead you in the way He would have you go as it says in Psalm 32:8.

We will all face times of transition. . .but how we act and react will affect our destiny.

Ecclesiastes 7:8-11 in the Amplified Bible says:

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit (pride). Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,

For anger dwells in the heart of fools. 10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.

11 Wisdom along with an inheritance is good and an [excellent] advantage for those who see the sun.”

Now get ready to SHOUT as I read Ecclesiastes 7:11-12 in the Message Bible to you.

“Wisdom is better when it’s paired with money, Especially if you get both while you’re still living. Double protection: wisdom and wealth! Plus this bonus: Wisdom energizes its owner.”

Told you that you’d SHOUT. Waiting on the Lord … will be worth the wait.