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How to Change in Changing Times

God does not change, but I must learn to pivot in terms of how I respond to an ever-changing world.

In changing times…

Thank God for the stable, sensible people in my life

Now Samuel died, and all Israel gathered for his funeral. They buried him at his house in Ramah.  Then David moved down to the wilderness of Maon. There was a wealthy man from Maon who owned property near the town of Carmel. He had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats, and it was sheep-shearing time. This man’s name was Nabal, and his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was crude and mean in all his dealings. 1 SAMUEL 25:1-3 NLT 

Don’t choose sides, choose what’s right 

“Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?” 1 SAMUEL 25:10-11 NLT

Surround myself with honest people

Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail and told her, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he screamed insults at them. These men have been very good to us, and we never suffered any harm from them. Nothing was stolen from us the whole time they were with us. In fact, day and night they were like a wall of protection to us and the sheep. You need to know this and figure out what to do, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He’s so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!” 1 SAMUEL 25:14-17 NLT

Listen to people who know how to pivot

As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her. David had just been saying, “A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!” When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say.” 1 SAMUEL 25:20-24 NLT

Follow God’s word and not your emotions

I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests. But I never even saw the young men you sent. “Now, my lord, as surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, since the LORD has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is. 1 SAMUEL 25:25-26 NLT

David replied to Abigail, “Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. For I swear by the LORD, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.” 1 SAMUEL 25:32-35 NLT

Allow space and time for God to judge

When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until dawn the next day. In the morning when Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke,a and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone. About ten days later, the LORD struck him, and he died. 1 SAMUEL 25:36-38 NLT

My Notes

Personal Reflection Guide

Take a few moments to settle yourself before God. Turn off and tune out the distractions around you. Release any burdens you may have and ask God to lead you into his presence during this time. When you are sitting attentively in the presence of God, begin a conversation with him. As Christians, God wants us to respond to changing times in a way that reflects his unchanging nature. Staying anchored to him allows us to respond with wisdom and integrity in the way he would want us to, instead of allowing emotions to control us and reacting out of our sinful nature. Think of a time when you allowed your emotions to control your reactions. What intense feelings drove those reactions? Ask God to help you explore what was going on in you that triggered such strong feelings. Was there damage done to a relationship? How did you feel when you got your emotions back under control and realized how you and others may have been affected by your initial response? Talk to God about your reactions. Share your strong emotions with him and explore where they are coming from and what you might need to do to overcome or change them. Ask him to help you control those negative emotions and seek wise and Godly counsel instead. Pray that he will grow you to a place where your initial reaction will be closer to his unchanging nature. Ask God to help you to be more self-aware this week and recognize when you are about to react emotionally. Make a strong effort to catch yourself and make a plan for what to do instead, keeping yourself anchored to God to guide your reactions.

Discussion Questions

  1. What have you been learning about yourself, God or others in your personal Bible reading time? What stood out to you this week?
  2. Read 1 Samuel 25:1-11. We can tend to focus on the negative or challenging people in our lives, but who are the sensible people in your life?
  3. Read 1 Samuel 25:14-19. In what ways have the sensible people in your life helped or protected you from circumstances (or even from yourself) and what did you do (or can you do) to thank them?
  4. Read 1 Samuel 25:20-22. Emotions are powerful things. When have you recently given in to your anger and what did it cost you?
  5. Read 1 Samuel 25:32-35. What specific things do you do with your anger to make sure you don’t become like the evil you are angry with?
  6. Read 1 Samuel 25:36-38. In the end, God’s justice was done to Nabal. What specific things do you need to stop holding on to and release to God as you trust in his justice?