I find the biblical account and relationship of Nabal and Abigail to be one of intrigue and a prophetic signpost of what is transpiring within the religious system of today’s church…Especially the abuse of its prophetic calling and the eventual restoration of its integrity. The story is given to us in 1 Samuel 25. In the story we read that David and 800 of his men were in the land of Maon and in need of provision and food. Nabal, who was in the vicinity, was shearing some of the three thousand sheep that he owned. David, knowing that it was a feast time, assumed that Nabal would supply some of his surplus to the needs of his men. After all, David what fighting on the front lines for his future and peace. This portrait reflects the true prophets of God today in their surrounding territory and lack of receptivity.
The Bible says Nabal was a very wealthy man. Nabal was very rich in worldly possessions but we will soon find that he was bankrupt in spiritual wisdom and understanding. The name or word “Nabal” in the Hebrew language sounds like the native word for “fool” in the native tongue. In the Hebrew language, word play on names was very indicative of a person’s natural, emotional, and spiritual disposition. Nabal, as we shall read, would certainly fulfill the meaning of his name! Likewise, many have and will embrace the culture and disposition of Nabal and experience failure in the near future due to greed which is rooted in fear and ultimately leads to foolish decisions.
The wife of Nabal was a woman named Abigail that the Bible says was not only beautiful, but of good understanding and wisdom. David, as a type or picture of Christ completes the main characters that I would like to parallel in what I believe is transpiring in the church body today.
“Now I (David) 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.” (2 Samuel 25:7)
David, in protecting Nabal’s shepherds in the wilderness, thought it just and right to ask a portion of Nabal’s prosperity and abundance. David sends “ten young men” who are a type or representative of true prophetic messengers to ask Nabal “…to provide and give to your servants and to your son David.” (2 Samuel 25:8)
Nabal responds by denying that he even knows David. Of course this would be untrue and also reflects how much of today’s church responds to the intention and genuine article of prophecy. Surely, Nabal had to have known about David, but did not know David personally. Nabal refused to give of himself and would not so much as offer a flask of water to the messengers. This is perplexing, considering that hospitality was the virtue of this culture and time. To add insult, Nabal says to David’s messengers, “There are many servants nowadays who “BREAK AWAY” each one from his master.” (1 Samuel 25:10) The word “Break Away” is a very important spiritual as well as physical act at this prophetic hour.
Nabal is representative or a type of the religious and dogmatic who knows or has heard about the Lord in social or even text book fashion – but does not know the Lord by the Spirit and Truth. They know the church as a religious system and not as a kingdom ruled by a King. Why would Nabal make this statement about “breaking away” if he didn’t know about David and his relationship with Saul? David would come to a place in his life where he would remain loyal and honest to Saul, but would also to leave the leadership ordained by man and the old order for the anointing and destiny that awaited him from the Lord. Saul’s spiritual jealousy and insecurity would actually force David to pursue a greater destiny. This also would lead to Saul’s ultimate downfall.
We see much of the same in church leadership traits today as well. Spiritual jealousy along with religious insecurity that flourishes outside of the kingdom is forcing many to break away from the old order! When the young men came back to David (Who had been anointed and appointed king by the Lord at this time) and told him all that Nabal had said – David said, “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 (watchmen) stayed with the supplies.”(2 Samuel 25:13) (Note: “Sword” is symbolic of standing upon the promises of the Word of God)
I have heard and read many prophetic declarations of geographical judgment that is coming to various parts and societies of the world. Although I agree that God in His justice will judge the nations and the one whom commits evil, we must not forget that justice and judgment will manifest in the church to an even greater degree. David, at this point, had executed judgment upon Nabal for his unwillingness to share and impart of what the Lord had so generously blessed him with. Likewise, the Lord is exercising judgment upon the current church/religious system for its irrelevancy, lack of generosity, and recognition of His anointed in the wilderness – such as the case with David.
Many leaders have missed the purpose of the corporate church coming together in kingdom dynamics and have replaced it with religious tradition and fruitless agendas that have little eternal significance and a even less ‘everyday’ significance. Twenty-six hours a year (30minutes x 52 weeks) of sermons or outlines is not preparing and challenging the saints for the manifestation of their vision and destiny to mature. Leadership that is moving in kingdom growth are helping to mature and present the diverse visions of the saints (Building the Kingdom). On the other hand, leadership under the yoke of religion is expecting the masses of saints to support the vision of the few for its survival. It’s time to let go and be the encouraging, equipping and Davidic leadership that the Lord is calling forth. It’s vital that we understand that stewardship and control are not synonymous.
Nabal was not a very good leader of his household. He demonstrated past hurts and rejections by his possessive nature and unwillingness to share and impart. His possessive nature demanded an unbiblical submission in his remark that “there are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master.” The Nabal type leadership in the church will now receive revelation through a strong prophetic voice that submission is earned and never demanded. Submission of others is clearly reflected in the anointing. It is not through a degree on the wall and a ministry title. David would honor Saul as king (title) but would break away from Saul because of his failure to fulfill his function as a righteous king. The die had been cast and justice and judgment was proclaimed over the household of Nabal for his unwillingness to help and promote whom God had anointed. Many pastors and church leaders today are respected in their titles, but produce little to no fruit in their lack of function to present the saints mature in Christ.
“Now one of the young men (one of Nabal’s servants) told Abigail, (a type of the kingdom and bride) Nabal’s wife, saying, ‘Look, David (a type of Christ) sent messengers (prophets) from the wilderness to greet our master – and he reviled them. 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. They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping sheep.” (1 Samuel 25:14-16)
What is interesting is that the servant went to Abigail and not the master of the house. This servant is a godly example of how prophetic discernment and communication should be used in the body of Christ. He does not gossip or speak slanderous remarks about Nabal, but speaks clearly to Abigail in regard to a potentially disastrous situation that was coming to those who were related to Nabal. We also notice that Nabal was so consumed with his agenda that he was “ill-natured” toward anyone who would attempt to speak truth to him. This is another pitfall of current and insecure leadership that resides within the religious system.
I started attending a new fellowship some years back (I was relatively new in town as well) and prophesied at a men’s meeting that a spirit and principality of division was over the entire county region. As I traveled back and forth across the county line, I could easily sense this spiritually dark presence that had gripped this county for many generations. There was racial division, division within churches, division within families as divorce was permeating the fabric of this community. I prophesied that this church needed to immediately begin marital enrichment and encouragement along with strategic intercession and repentance. This ‘prophetic direction’ didn’t match the comfortable agenda of this particular leadership…Just like Nabal. Consequently, I was promptly told that I, quote: “missed the boat.” It wasn’t long before an disproportionate amount of married couples divorced and left this church. It also wasn’t long before I realized that people were breaking away from their communication to these same church leaders on spiritual related issues. The servant in this story does not go to Nabal, but to Abigail (someone who would listen attentively) for help and action.
Abigail exercised one of the primary traits of the true prophetic mantle — the willingness to listen. The natural and the spiritual mind-set are interconnected. If you fail listen attentively to people or if your mind is on what you’re going to say next rather than absorbing what someone is speaking to you, then you can assume that this is how well you truly listen to God. If we are not good listeners, we can be assured that our prophetic expression is tainted and corrupted by our fleshly thoughts and agenda. The Bible does not correct or look down upon the decision of the servant to contact Abigail. This is contrary to the demands of submission and chain of command ideals that many leaders in today’s religious and corporate systems expect and demand. If you are a leader in the church and people are talking behind your back, it is most likely due to the fact that you will not listen to criticism of your agenda and your vision for the church and society. If you are a true leader, it is not about your vision anyway. It is about listening and encouraging the dreams and visions of others and then being a part of helping provide a platform for them to grow.
“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. And she said to her servants, ‘Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.’ But she did not tell her husband Nabal.” (1 Samuel 25:18-19)
Through prophetic insight and understanding, Abigail quickly considers what she must do. She gathers and prepares all that David had requested and goes to meet him…without telling Nabal. Abigail had to consider the problem. She then quickly determined a course of action. She implemented the plan, and then failed to seek Nabal’s permission. In fact, she refused or thought it best not to tell him anything. The common and religious viewpoint would be that Abigail was in rebellion toward her leadership and should be disciplined. However, in the Bible, we find quite the opposite view.
“As she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, David and his men came down toward her; and she meet them. Now David had said, ‘Surely it was in vain that I protected all this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; but he has returned to me evil for good. God do so to David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.” (1 Samuel 25:20-22)
Abigail searches out David and finds him coming with justice and judgment. Many in Abigail’s position (those coming out of ill-natured and controlling households) would have simply allowed David’s judgment to pass by. However, Abigail possessed the mantle and anointing of a true prophet. And, “When Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. 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. 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.” (1 Samuel 25:23-25)
We notice that Abigail never criticizes Nabal to his face or to any another besides David. She only brought the truth to her “lord” what had been revealed to her. She goes on to display the hallmark and character of the “burden of the Lord” which is the purpose of prophetic revelation – INTERCESSION. Abigail assumes the responsibility for Nabal’s actions. We see this common denominator in all of God’s prophets – the intercession of vicarious repentance on behalf of the sins of others – The seedbed of true revival.
To have publicly called her husband a “fool” would have placed a stigma upon his life and ruined his reputation. We see a lot of this in church today. We criticize leaders and gossip to others rather than taking our discernment and concerns to the Lord. What is important is that we act and move in the authority that the Lord has given us. Abigail stated that “I did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.” Why would Abigail make this statement? It would not have made any difference whether or not she saw the young men if she did not have the authority to act on their behalf.
“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.” (1 Samuel 25:26)
We can clearly see Abigail’s prophetic insight into the heart of David. How could she have known about the recent events and mercy of David sparing Saul’s life? This was a prophetic word given to David that would later bear witness in his life as he would face the accusation of bloodguilt before God. Abigail pleaded that if David followed through with his plan, he, and not Nabal, would be the guilty party. Under the law, David would have been found guilty before God in his act of retalliation. When we attack another believer publicly, we also, are found accused of “bloodguilt” – we kill the character and reputations of others.
Abigail demonstrated spiritual maturity in her prophetic gifting. She did not defend Nabal, but offered a prophetic word and prayer for David to fulfill God’s plan and destiny for his life and that he fought for God.(1 Samuel 25:27-30) Abigail prophesied that David walked in the supernatural protection of God and that his enemies would be surely defeated. Why would he want to jeopardize such an anointing and calling upon his life? It’s too bad that David didn’t remember this prophetic word in his dealings with Uriah. Not heeding this prophetic word (bloodguilt) by Abigail would prohibit David from his ultimate dream and greatest purpose – the building of the Temple for the Lord’s corporate presence.
The purpose of this article is two-fold. One, is that we need to understand that the Nabal-type leadership in the church is being judged and dismantled through the breaking away of God’s people. The Kingdom of God will advance and is manifesting on earth as it is in heaven. Neither David nor the Lord chastised Abigail for breaking rank and moving in the authority and destiny that the Lord had called her to. We have got to come to terms with this. We all have only one shot at our spiritual dress rehearsal for all eternity. Our crowns are earned here on earth to be laid down at the feet of our Lord in heaven. We must come to a place of understanding that ‘man’ does not hold the keys to spiritual destiny and gifts. We must seek the heart of the Lord and possess what is ours but yet be willing to impart to another…especially to those in the wilderness.
Spiritual authority comes from God and is ‘recognized’ by man. The problem is that the church has abused the recognition (especially the ‘Davids” in the wilderness) of others based on agenda and misunderstandings of how God anoints certain individuals. We have a tendency as the church to validate a person’s gift to the Body of Christ by our own understanding of how we would steward or operate in that gift. The problem with this line of thought is that we are all very different in our spiritual maturity and emotional makeup. The only way to gain excellence at anything in life is to practice in an environment where mistakes are allowed to be made and encouragement and loving guidance is given as the result of mistakes. Experience is simply mistakes that have been learned from. Spiritual gifting used for dynamic and world changing power takes time to mature as anything else in life. The catch is the church’s unwillingness to provide room for mistakes.
The second is that prophetic maturity will be needed and expected from the Lord as we move into the kingdom order with a fresh wineskin and a unstained bridal garment that Christ is coming back for. We need to understand that the killing fields of gossip and slander will be an irremovable stain on our wedding garment. Like Abigail, let’s not defend the Nabal system and individuals in the religious system. We need to speak truth more than ever before…but without intercession before the Lord, our motives most likely reveal a hurt and wounded spirit which produces criticism.
Although Nabal would not so much as give David a flask of water, God, through the insight, understanding, and obedience of a woman prophet, would supply David with two skins full of wine and more food than what David had asked for! “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.” (1 Samuel 25:35)
The Lord would break away Abigail from a life of natural & spiritual oppression and foolishness into a destiny of being the bride to the king. It’s time to break away from the Nabal spirit and mentality in the church. Let’s pray and intercede for a shift in obedience to our calling as the church. So many understand and realize that something has to change, but are so unsure as of what to do. Well, maybe its time to break away from religion and into the kingdom of new connections that will allow you to move in the authority and calling that the Lord has called you to. It would be a breaking away from the old that Abigail would find and marry her king.