Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 5:6
Many times in my mail I receive a letter from someone who is a Christian, but their husband is not. I don't take this lightly, but often times I am at a loss for what to say and how to counsel. I have been so blessed with a husband that loves the Lord, and is easy to submit to.
Most of this mail is in a way saying, "BUT my husband is not saved, so I CAN NOT submit to this can I? Certainly God will understand won't He?" To this I have to say No, He wont understand. What He will do is judge your husband for his ways, and you for yours. As wives we are instructed to Obey our husbands, to be in submission to them. THAT is what we will answer for, God will not take the time to hear "But Lord, I didn't because......" God makes it very clear and plain in Scripture.
God expects a woman to obey her husband because the husband-wife relationship pictures the holy, sweet relationship of Christ and His bride, Christians. This is explained in Ephesians 5:22-23:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
First I would like to say that I KNOW there are times when a husband can and does require of a wife to do that which IS abominable in the sight of God, but rare is the case. For the most part what you have to deal with is him not attending church, allowing the children to do things that you know they shouldn't be doing (movies, activities with friends,,,) he is a drinker, does drugs, has a foul mouth, maybe he won't allow you to go to church? Again God will hold him accountable. The Bible says:
Num. 30: 12-16 "But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the LORD shall forgive her. Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void. But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them. But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity."
This passage teaches two major truths: one, that a husband is given the right by God to prevent his wife from taking a spiritual step she feels led to take; and two, that if he does, GOD HOLDS HIM ACCOUNTABLEHE SHALL BEAR HER INIQUITY.
So there we have it, God is on your side. He wants obedience, He wants submission to His Word, you do that if you are a wife by being submissive to your husband. Not IF he is a Christian, but BECAUSE he is your husband.
So, how do we do this? What example is there that we can learn from? What have others done in this situation? Of course it is necessary to commit each day to the Lord in prayer, in time spent in the Word, for there we find the answers to all our needs. Let's look at a good example of someone who lived with a man who was far from being godly. Let's look at the life of a woman that loved the Lord as you do, who spent her days trying to please her Lord w/o compromising her place as a wife. Let's look to Abigail and her journey through marriage.
Though Abigail was to become David's wife after the death of her husband, Nabal, a drunkard, it is as the wife of the latter that her fine character comes into the sharpest focus. But in this first picture of Abigail we come to know why David later was to have such faith in her wise counsel. From his first meeting with her David's life seems have taken on a higher meaning and a stronger purpose. He is no longer a fugitive and outlaw but destined to become the great king of Judah and of all Israel.
Now mind you as you read this account, that Abigail was married to a drunkard, I'm sure if he was that he also had a lot of other baggage that goes with it. He was an ungodly man AND her husband. Did she spend her days complaining? Did she spend her time thinking about how awful her life was? Did she NOT do the things a wife should be doing in her home because he was tipping the bottle? Because he was not praying or worshiping as she KNEW he should and she was? Let us find out...
When David and Abigail chanced to meet, he was a shepherd hiding from Saul in the wilderness of Paran. He had gathered around him about six hundred followers, who formed a bodyguard and they protected the flocks of many a herdsman from prowling thieves.
In the sheep and goat country west of the Dead Sea, and not far from where David was, lay the town of Maon. Near by was the town of Carmel standing in mountainous country. One of the richest men in this area was Abigail's husband, Nabal, who had some three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. Their home probably was a pretentious place on a plateau that one came upon suddenly after leaving desolate areas.
It was sheep-shearing season at the home of Abigail and Nabal. Many guests had gathered, and there was much feasting. Abigail had provided abundantly for her guests, for she was a woman who had a reputation for gracious hospitality. We can imagine that her hospitable house, run efficiently and well, was a place where the stranger liked to tarry.
We notice here that Abigail did not allow her husbands 'foolishness' to get in the way of being a good homemaker, a help meet to her husband IN SPITE of his ways. She was full aware of the fact that with all the planning she was doing, with all the invitations sent out, with each preparation she completed that there would be drunkenness at this gathering. But I can also imagine that it was not her idea to invite this all in, but rather it was Nabal that requested it. In his standing it was expected of him to entertain, and of course it was expected of her to do her part. She could have stomped her feet and said NO! She could have tried to justify it by the way he lived, but she KNEW that her place was to obey, to submit, in order to please her husband and in doing that please GOD.
On such feasting occasions let us picture Abigail in a dress of fine linen. (She was careful to still look her best, so many times we let ourselves go because we think he is not worth pleasing, or because he lives the way he does, why bother. amen?) We have the Biblical record that Abigail was of a beautiful countenance as well as a woman of good understanding But in the next phrase her husband, Nabal, is described as churlish and evil in his doings" (I Sam. 25:3)His most recent act was directed at David, who had sent ten of his men up to the hills to ask for a little food during feasting time. David's own provisions were running low. His request was polite and just, for, ten men could not carry away much food.
David and his men had helped Nabal's shepherds to protect their master's large herds of sheep and goats. It was quite natural that David's shepherds, who had befriended Nabal's man, would be welcome at feasting time. But Nabal, drinking too heavily, cried out contemptuously when he heard of David's request, "Who is David" and who is the son of Jesse! there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master" (I Sam. 25:10).
When word reached Abigail, through one of the workers on the place, that her husband had railed at David's messengers, she listened attentively. This worker, who evidently had confidence in his mistress reminded her that David and his herdsmen had been like a wall of protection to Nabal's herdsmen. And he added that they had come to the house in peace, asking for that to which they were justly entitled. We can be assured that Abigail possessed an innate dignity and had won the respect and faithfulness of the workers in her household.
Wise woman, too, that she was, she lost no time, for she knew what happened when strong-minded men like David were angered. He was not one to let such an offense go unpunished. She also knew how rashly her husband acted when he was drunk. She wasted no time in lamenting the threatened danger or in making remarks of her husband's character. Certainly she did not pause to discuss David's anger with her drunken husband.
She didn't nag, she didn't point out his faults, she simply did all that she could to make things right w/o causing more friction in her household.
Instead she hastily made ready to prepare special foods for David's six hundred men. She asked no advice of anyone but went to work as quickly and as quietly as if she had had months to think over her actions and make preparations for the food. She supervised the baking and packing of two hundred leaves of bread.
1Sa 25:18 Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
Only a capable and 'together' woman could have made ready so much food in such haste. Only a woman of good understanding could have left so quietly, without informing her husband of her actions. If she had, she knew he would demand that she not give away his food to strangers. She knew, too, that the safety of their entire household was at stake.
As Abigail came down the mountain, David and his men rode toward her, and she heard David telling them of her husband's ingratitude and of how he had returned to him evil for good. She overheard David say that by morning all that Nabal possessed and all in his household would be destroyed.
I accept all blame in this matter:
1Sa 25:24 "And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid."
The beautiful wife of a drunken nasty Nabal had nothing to apologize for. She was putting out her husband's fire. Abigail, unafraid, hastened toward David. In all humility she began to intercede for her husband and intercede for his bad actions. She admitted to David that Nabal was a base fellow and a fool. She then begged David to receive the food she had brought and to forgive her trespasses. She praised David, telling him that evil would not be found in him so long as he lived.
She also predicted that he would be prince over Israel and that his soul would be "bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God." She confirmed that God's word was sure and that God would exalt him. In not one word do we find her forgetting her own dignity. All of the greatness which she predicted would come to David she attributed to the only source of good, God Himself. And she helped David to know he was the object of God's love and care.
Can you imagine for just one minute how many times Abigail had to undo what her husband had done to wreak some kind of havoc in their lives? But notice that she did it w/o fan fare, she did it in the same way you can do it. When you have your chance you instruct your children in the ways of the Lord, you teach what is right and WHY it is right, you don't have to say Dad is wrong, you simply say This is what God says. Maybe you wont see fruit from these teachings until years later, but we have the promise of God that His word will not return void. We do not have the promise of God that if we berate our husbands to our children, pointing out his faults, that it will bear any fruit for the Lord in any way now do we? We can be Abigails, we CAN live with an unsaved man, or a backslidden Christian and still serve God.
What but the unquestioning faith in God could have dictated such a humble petition! In it Abigail typifies woman in her noblest, purest character. Her actions reveal that she was a diplomat of the highest order and that she understood men and had tolerance for their bad behavior. (not a liking for it mind you but rather a tolerance for what she could not change on her own and accepted as part of her life) Never, I'm sure liking it!
When she had finished her mission, she Quickly mounted and went her way back over the hills. We can imagine that David watched her until she was lost in the distance.He probably had been impressed with her good countenance, and he was not to forget this woman who had brought all of this excellent food to his hungry men. His admiration for her one day would take on a deeper, richer meaning.
When Abigail arrived home, she found her husband still feasting and drinking. But, wisely, she did not tell him of her journey until morning. When the sober Nabal learned from Abigail how near he had come to being slain by David and his men and what she had done to avoid such an attack, he became violently ill. Ten days later he died.
David, later to learn of Nabal's death, would affectionately remember the woman of good understanding who had come over the mountain, bringing food to appease his hunger. He was now free to wed Abigail, and so he sent his servants, telling her that he wanted her to be his wife.
She was now the petitioned and not the petitioner. She accepted David's invitation for marriage, but it was in humility. To his messengers she said,:
1Sa 25:41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.
Though Abigail brought to David a rich estate and a new social position, she felt unworthy to become the wife of one whom God had singled out for His work.
From this we can see that Abigail never once thought she was better than her husband, she never thought that she was right and OH! he is SO wrong. She considered her marriage to Nabal her commitment to God. Whatever it brought. And until the Lord called him out, she served him willingly, and the best she was able. We have to allow God to work in our husbands lives. We have to be obedient to God in OUR walk.
Tit 2:5 "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." & Col 3:18 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord."
And do you see how God worked things out for her in later days? She became the wife of David, she could not have been used by God to be such a blessing to him if it were not for the obedience she commited to in eariler days.
Now, Abigail was just the wife that David needed, for he was willful and tempestuous, while she was humble and gentle. Probably she helped him to learn patience and forbearance and to put aside temptation. She also helped to inspire confidence in him.
She dwelt with David at Gath and also went with him to Hebron, and there she gave birth to their son, Chileab, also called Daniel. Though little is recorded about Abigail after her marriage to David, we can be sure she was continually exposed to danger from the enmity of Saul and his followers and to captivity from neighboring nations.
We can read of her being held hostage, of her rescue at David's hand. Of a life that was used of God BECAUSE she chose not to question why, but rather serve and trust that God would provide peace, comfort, and finally reward for doing that which she was called to do.
I hope and pray that the example we learn of in Abigail's life will give you some encouragement in your marriage. I hope as Abigail looked UP for strength, you can and will too.
1Co 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
FOR FURTHER ENCOURAGEMENT
Continue On! Encouragement from a Sister in Christ
Back to Mom of 9's Place