Lesson 4

Wives as Advisers

(1 Samuel 25, Genesis 3)
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Introduction: This week we are going to have the men sit on one side of the church and the women on the other. That way we can keep the wrestling to a minimum! Ladies, what kind of title is this anyway: "Women as Advisors?" Shouldn't it be "Women as Decision-makers?" How about "If Momma Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy?" OK, calm down, put the hymnals back. The Bible records that sometimes women give really lousy advice (as Eve did) and sometimes they show they should be making the decisions (as in Abigail's case). How should ladies advise their husbands? When should husbands take their advice? Let's dive in and find out!

  1. The Carmel Controversy

    1. Turn to 1 Samuel 25:1-3. We've got the beginning of a story with three main characters. A wealthy sheep-rancher, his beautiful wife, and someone new to the neighborhood. Let's examine each of these three characters.

    2. David

      1. Who is David and what has his life been like? (1 Samuel 16 records that David is God's new choice to be King. Samuel secretly anoints David as King, even while King Saul, the old king, is still in office. Because of David's success in battle, and his popularity with the people, King Saul becomes jealous of David (1 Samuel 18) and tries to have him killed (1 Samuel 19-23). The Bible spends a few chapters recording how King Saul is chasing after David and his band of soldiers (1 Samuel 21-24.)

      2. Now tell me why the death of Samuel had anything to do with David moving into Nabal's neighborhood? (Samuel may have been a moderating influence on Saul. After Samuel's death, David and his men move out of the country into the desert.)

      3. Would you want David and his band of soldiers moving into your neighborhood?

    3. Nabal

      1. What kind of fellow is Nabal? (He was rich, successful, mean and surly. The Hebrew means he was not a nice guy!)

      2. Our story tells us that he descended from Caleb. What does that tell us? (He shared the same heritage as David. Caleb was fearless. (Remember, as an old man (85), Caleb claimed as his portion of Canaan the section occupied by the giant Anakites. The catch was that he got the land if he drove out the current inhabitants - which he did(Joshua 14 & 15).)

    4. Abigail

      1. What kind of person is Abigail? (Intelligent and beautiful.)

      2. How would you guess married life was for Abigail?

    5. Let's get into the story. Read 1 Samuel 25:4-8. As a practical matter, what is "sheep shearing time" to a sheep owner? (The time you cash in on your investment.)

      1. What do you think about David's greeting?

        1. What do you think about David's request?

        2. Why do you think he sent 10 men?

        3. Assume you live in a townhouse with community parking. At Christmastime your neighbor comes to you and says, "During the entire year I never scratched or scraped your car, I never threw soda or food on it, and I never broke into it or stole your fancy wheels. How about giving me some money because of the season? Is this what David is saying to Nabel?

    6. Read 1 Samuel 25:10-11. Is this what you would say to your townhouse neighbor?

      1. Does Nabal just say no? Or does he say something else? (He insults David. He says David is a nobody. He refuses to recognize David as a contender for the throne, much less the anointed King. Worse, he calls him a runaway servant!)

      2. Do you think Nabal justified in saying, "No." (I think David is saying that his men protected Nabal's men and sheep so that they lost none of them. If I am right, then David could legitimately claim something was due to him.)

    7. Read 1 Samuel 25:12-13, 21-22. How does David view his work for Nabal?

      1. Is David ready for translation?

      2. What does he have in mind for Nabal?

    8. Read 1 Samuel 25:14-17. Maybe the lesson should be entitled "Servants as Advisors." How smart is this servant?

      1. Why does he go to Abigail instead of the man of the house? (Verse 17 - my master is too obnoxious to reason with.)

        1. Is this servant looking out for his own life? (Yes - see verse 22.)

      2. How about your life? Do you listen to the "little guy" when he has an idea? Or, do you figure that you are the boss, and your thoughts are the most important?

    9. The servant tells Abigail to think it over. Let's read 1 Samuel 25:18-19. Recall our lesson is entitled "Wives as Advisors." What do you think about Abigail's advice to her husband? (Sort of makes you wonder why the author of the lesson used this as the first illustration!)

      1. Well, wives, what do you think about this Biblical model of advice to your husband?

        1. Why did Abigail not tell Nabal what she was doing? (Verse 18 tells us that time was a big issue. She did not have time to argue. Verse 17 suggests that talking would have done no good. We know that David is racing their way with armed men.)

    10. Read 1 Samuel 25:20. The 400 hundred armed me with blood in their eyes come rushing up to Abigail with her presents. Let's read part of what she says. Read 1 Samuel 25:23-25, 27-28.

      1. Does Abigail call David a runaway servant? (No, she calls him (v.28) King!)

      2. Why does Abigail take the blame? (She says two things: Don't blame my husband, he is not smart enough for you to worry about. On the other hand, I am smart enough, but I did not see your men.)

        1. Do you think she loves Nabal?

    11. Let's read some more of Abigail's words and David's reaction. 1 Samuel 25:30-33. Were Abigail's words effective? (Yes!)

      1. How would you characterize her argument to David?

      2. Wives, what does that teach us about disarming anger in your spouse? Husbands, is the same lesson here for you?

    12. David relents of his anger, Nabal literally has a stroke when he hears of what happened, dies shortly thereafter, and Abigail marries David.

      1. Men, what do you think about this story? Would Paul (wives, respect your husbands - Ephesians 5:33) endorse this story?

      2. This surely is an interesting story, but why is it in the Bible - other than to explain where David found this one wife?

        1. Wives, let's start with you. How many husbands do we have in this story? (Two. Nabal and the husband to come, David.)

          1. Did Abigail treat the two husbands differently?

          2. What lessons do you learn about advising your husband? (Advice depends upon the nature of your husband. If he is surely and mean, and no one can talk with him, you may be best off doing what is right without consultation.)

          3. What if your husband is angry and determined to do the wrong thing? (That was David here. In his case Abigail reasoned with him by appealing to his conscience and talking about what was in David's best interest.)

          4. What lesson do you learn (wives) about your obligation to do what is right no matter the views of your husband?

        2. OK husbands, what lessons do you find in this story?

  2. The Eden Controversy

    1. Read Genesis 2:15-17. Did Eve hear these instructions? (No. Genesis 2:18 begins the account of the creation of Eve.)

      1. Men, if you heard this admonition from God, what would you do? (Stay far away from the tree!)

    2. Read Genesis 3:1-3. Does Even know the rule about this one tree?

      1. Does she correctly state the rule? Let's line up Genesis 2:16-17 with 3:2-3. What do you notice? (There is no command that touching the fruit will cause her to die.)

        1. Is this distinction important? (Yes. Both the Old ( Deuteronomy 4:2) and New Testaments (1 Corinthians 4:6) instruct us not to add legal requirements that are beyond what God has imposed. When Eve had crossed the imaginary line she created, and did not die, it gave her confidence that God had not told the truth and she crossed the real line.)

    3. Let's read on: Genesis 3:4-6. Verse 6 says that Adam was "with her." Had Adam been with Eve the entire time? (This story is very compressed. Clearly Adam was not present for the conversation with the serpent because Genesis 3:1 records the serpent "said to the women." If Adam had been present the serpent would have spoken to both of them.)

      1. Was it Eve's "advice" that caused Adam to sin? (Read Genesis 3:11-12 - Adam blames Eve and ultimately God!|)

      2. Read Genesis 3:17. Why is Adam condemned? (For taking his wife's advice.)

        1. Was Adam deceived by his wife's advice? (Read 1 Timothy 2:14. Paul says, "no.")

          1. Then why did he take her advice?

      3. Ladies, what lessons can we learn about "wives as advisors" from this story?

      4. Men, what lessons do you learn about "wives as advisors" from this story?

    4. Nabal would have gotten good advice from Abigail, David did get good advice from Abigail, and Adam got bad advice from Eve. In comparing these two stories, what lessons can we learn about when to listen to our wife? (A critical factor is whether the husband and wife are converted. Abigail thought she could reason with David, but not Nabal. On the other hand, Eve who had not sinned, gave bad advice. This shows that we must always "test" the advice of even Godly wives.)

      1. Do the same lessons apply to listening to our husband? Our Pastor? Other advisors?

    5. Wives, want to be good advisors? Then follow God's wisdom? Husbands, want to be able to discern good advice from the bad, then follow God's directions.

  3. Next Week: Joseph - From Pit to Palace.

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