"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Raising The Standard: Initiative Is Taking The Lead In Order To Relieve Pressure From Those Around Me

In an effort to save her husband from being murdered, a concerned wife initiated the bold plan which relieved him from the immediate threat. Although her action was motivated by good intention, it was destined to bring ultimate tragedy and grief which would last for the rest of her life.
How Does Scripture Illustrate Initiative In Taking The Lead To Relieve Pressure? A band of men had faithfully protected the vast herds of her husband's sheep and goats. Not one animal was missing. When they heard he was shearing his sheep, the men sent a delegation of ten to suggest that he give them a reward for the work they had done to benefit him. But he scoffed at them and their leader and claimed no obligation to repay them in any way.
This greatly angered the leader, and he planned to kill this man and all the men of his household. When his beautiful and wise wife heard that her husband was going to be killed, she recalled the many times that both she and his servants had tried to reason with him about other matters without success. So she took five sheep, large quantities of bread, corn, raisins and figs and hurried out to meet the offended leader and his band of men. She wisely reasoned that if he killed her husband it would forever remain a grief and a burden of heart to him, especially after he became king. Her generosity and tactful words were so effective that he changed his mind and blessed her for preventing him from shedding blood needlessly to avenge himself. Because of her action, she saved the life of her husband and averted the destruction of their household. But her initiative involved taking matters into her own hands. The next morning she told her husband what she had done. He had an immediate heart attack and died ten days later. By acting on his behalf rather than simply telling him of his danger, she had temporarily protected his life only to precipitate his death. She spared the leader of the band from the grief of having needlessly killed a man. But that memory and grief might have been the very thing which would have prevented him from later killing another woman's husband in order to cover up his sin with her. By sparing him from a failure which might have been excused, she robbed him of the necessary caution that could have prevented a great weakening of his family and kingdom. After her husband died, Abigail became this leader's wife. He removed her from a comfortable home to the hardship of a fugitive's life. She had only one son in her new marriage and she named him Chileab. Later in life his name was changed and the new name is officially recorded in the genealogies. The meaning of the second name is, "God has judged me." (From 1 Samuel 25)
Was Abigail Right To Act Independently Of Her Husband?
The Biblical writer provides one significant clue in the sentence. "But she told not her husband, Nabal." (1 Samuel 25:19) the same writer used the exact same sentence structure concerning Johnathan and his father Saul, "But he told not his father." (1 Samuel 14:1) The two situations are remarkably similar. Both Abigail and Jonathan had good and sincere intentions. They both new that their respective authorities were not acting wisely. They both felt that reasoning would do no good and that their request would be denied. They both felt more competent than their respective authorities in public (cf. 1 Samuel 14:29; 25:25). The Lord allowed them both to succeed in their plans. The Lord Himself pointed out to Jonathan's sin (1 Samuel 14:42), but no lots were thrown for Abigail. We must conclude that, although her motives were sincere, her methods were wrong and displeasing to the Lord who hates rebellion against authority even though that authority be an unwise father or a foolish husband.
What Should Abigail Have Done?
Abigail should have followed the principle established in the Law and further explained by the Lord (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:15-17). Even though she was sure her husband would not listen, she should have confronted him with all of the facts as she knew them. If he refused to listen, she could have asked the shepherds to confirm the facts. If he still didn't listen, she could have cried out to the Lord for justice and mercy. By listening to the bad report of her husband from the young shepherd (1 Samuel 25:14-17) and then initiating her own course of action, she was limiting the possibilities of God to deal with the situation in a more creative way. It is true that Abigail was successful in her scheme, but there may have been a better method.
What Were The Consequences of Abigail's Actions?
Rather than being killed by David's sword, Nabal died after he suffered a stroke when hearing his wife's betrayal. It was a second stroke ten days later which was actually fatal. Abigail became David's wife, but there was no evidence that she enjoyed the blessing of the Lord or her new husband. She lived as an exile with David and his other wife in Philistia for a few years (1 Samuel 27:3). She was taken captive by the Amalekites for a short period of time (1 Samuel 30:5). She moved to Hebron with David (2 Samuel 2:3) where she bore him his second son named Chileab (2 Samuel 3:3). At hebron she was one of six wives, and later in Jerusalem she was just one wife among many (2 Samuel 5:13). Abigail's only son is not mentioned later even though he should have become the crown prince after the murder of Amnon. It is possible that she had second thoughts about her life when she changed her son's name from Chileab (restraint of the father) to Daniel (God is my Judge) (1 Chronicles 3:1). The whistling swan's call is actually a loud, quivering coo. This swan has a wingspread of eighty-three inches and may weigh up to sixteen pounds. It is a migratory bird, breeding in the northern parts of Alaska and Canada and wintering along the coast from the Chesapeake Bay to North Carolina. The majestic swan is considered the most graceful of all birds on the water and in the air.
How Does The Swan Illustrate Initiative In Taking The Lead To Relieve Pressure? The cold months of winter had passed. Northern lakes were beginning to thaw as the snow melted and the ice broke apart.
Flocks of birds gathered in preparation to begin flight to their northern breeding grounds. The whistling swans were also caught up in seasonal excitement. They called back and forth to one another and busily preened their feathers. They had been eating heavily to store layers of fat for their long migration flight to the northern polar regions. This flight would be more hurried than its fall migration. The whistling swan wants to begin building its nest as early as possible. Its nesting season is short, and if the swans are to have a successful brood, they must lay, hatch and rear their young before the water freezes and winter snow once again begins to fall. Swans do not usually associate with other birds but fly only with their own species. Their migratory flocks may be as large as five hundred in number. At the proper time, the flock slowly lifts into the air with strong, steady beats of their outstretched wings. The large body of the whistling swan lifts steadily into the air as it gradually picks up speed. This swan is aided in flight by two advantages. First, it can fly so high that it literally becomes invisible from the ground, attaining altitudes of six thousand feet. With this advantage the swan can fly above mountains and turbulent storms. A second and greater advantage is the swan's ability to fly as a flock in V-formation. Its speed would be drastically reduced were it not for the flock's ability to fly in this manner. The whistling swan is capable of attaining speeds of up to one hundred miles per hour. It has been calculated that twenty-five birds flying in V-formation are able to travel seventy percent farther than one swan flying by itself. This tremendous increase in distance is possible because the lead swan "breaks the trail" for the others which follow. Consequently, air resistance is lessened as each swan benefits from the upwash of the widening wake of the one preceding it. Less total lift power is required. The lead swan has the most difficult task. When it becomes tired, it drops back and a new leader takes over, giving it an opportunity to rest. For some swans the great northerly return flight may be as long as three thousand miles. Because of the initiative of one swan in taking the lead, the swans are able to relieve the pressure from others in the flock and greatly increase the speed in which they travel.

No comments: