Upside DOWN: Part 4

14 Turn from evil and do good;

seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:14

There is a lot of talk about peace. We all have a desire for peace in life. If you have peace you want to keep it and if you don’t have peace you want it. Our daily lives are filled with chaos and busyness. Every time we turn around there is more and more we have to do and it can seem as though peace is a fairy tale. Psalm 34 is believed to have been written by King David. King David is a man who had many ups and downs in his life. He was a man who experienced great peace and great hardships. He is a man who sought after peace, but in this verse it doesn’t say to stop there. We must seek peace, but also PURSUE it in our daily lives. Those who have found it can easily lose it if you are not activity pursuing it.

Before looking more into the life and relationships of King David…

This is part 4 of Upside Down a study of the beatitudes of Jesus from Matthew 5

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:8-9

Jesus continues to point out different people who are blessed if they do something. These two make sense to connect to each other. It is possible to be pure in heart and not a peacemaker, but it is not possible to be a peacemaker without being pure in heart. The reason for this is if a person is trying to make peace around them, but their motive or heart is not pure it is not peacemaking it is manipulation. Just because someone tries to avoid problems and make others stop fighting doesn’t mean they are a peacemaker; if their intentions are pure they are a peacemaker. However, if they are doing it for selfish motives they are not please God.

This leads to the need to figure out what it means to be a peacemaker. There are a few great examples of peacemakers from the Bible. The one I want to look at is Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. Through this chapter there will be four qualities that are needed to be a peacemaker.

Some background about Abigail…

A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was AbigailShe was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.

1 Samuel 25:2-3

Abigail is said to be an intelligent and beautiful woman. She was the wife of Nabal, who was not a good man. These two people in Samuel connect to King David, because they lived in Carmel where David and his men where camped while they waited for King Saul to die. David had already been anointed king, but Saul was still king over Israel. While in this land David and his men kept the land safe and respected all those who lived there including Nabal and Abigail.

As Chapter 25 continues David heard Nabal was shearing his sheep. This would have been the “harvest time” for sheep herders. This was the time where he would be getting ready to make his profit from his labor for the year.  

King David sent men to talk to Nabal to ask for some help for him and his men. David and his men had protected Nabal’s flocks while they were there from invaders. David felt it was the honorable and just thing for Nabal to give him and his men something for their help. It was not an unreasonable request and it was at the right time. David could have demanded payment throughout the time, but he respected the time and seasons of raising sheep. He waited until it was time for the sheep to be sheared to ask for some help. The men told Nabal…

6 ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

8…Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’

1 Samuel 25:6, 8b

David’s request was not for all of the profit and goods. He simply wanted to something for his protection. At it said “whatever” he did not ask for ALL. As the king David could have demanded ALL of the profit and goods, but he was honorable.

But when David’s men gave this greeting Nabal refused to give David anything and not just because he was selfish, but he went so far as to not acknowledge David’s existence by saying…

 “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse?”

1 Samuel 25:10

Have you ever felt like David? You send so much of your life helping others, but when you are in need they act like you don’t matter or exist?

As you would assume, David was very angry. Similar to us when people we care about seem to turn their back on us; we experience anger, sadness, doubt, and fear. What David experienced caused David to arm his men for an attack.

What has this rejection caused you to do?

This feeling of rejection, anger, and a multitude of other emotions is where our story really begins. This is where Abigail comes back into the picture. In our lives, this is when we need a peacemaker the most or we must be present enough in other people’s lives to see they need a peacemaker. This is the first characteristic of a peacemaker.

1. A Person who is Present

This is more than simply physically in the area. Being a person who is present means you are involved in others lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We find this is true in the life of Abigail.

Once David began marching for attack one of Nabal’s servants explained everything to Abigail. It is important that we take the time to listen and act as peacemakers.

She heard and became present in the middle of the conflict. She met David on the road “between” him and Nabal. Being physically present is an important part of peacemaking and at times; like Abigail, this could mean the possibility of being in danger for the sake of another person. David could have simply killed her knowing she was Nabal’s wife.

Then she went a step further and became emotionally present. She connected with David by understanding what happened from both sides and began to open the door to stop the conflict. This is the second characteristic of being a peacemaker.

2. A Person who is Perceptive

Peacemakers must be present, but also perceptive. Abigail was perceptive in her perspective of the situation. She recognized David was not unreasonable in his request. She understood what was at stake because David was coming with an army out of anger. She knew that if she wanted to stop the conflict she needed to become present between David and Nabal quickly, but also that they request David made was not unreasonable. So before she left to reason with him she packed her bag…

18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.

1 Samuel 25:18

She sought to connect with the honorable side of David. When peacemaking we cant simply take one person’s side over the other, but we must start with the person who is possibly more respective toward reconciliation. In this case  it was David. We must perceive through the leading of the Holy Spirit who will be more respective to changing their mind. She also took an “olive branch” to David with the food.

In our lives, being a peacemaker who is perceptive means recognizing someone is in need; often emotionally. Instead of bringing food to the hurt person; bringing encouragement and love is often the best way to help a person change.

 Abigail shows great respect and honor to David and he replies with grace and mercy for the whole household of Nabal. He tells Abigail…

32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”

35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

1 Samuel 25:32-35

David finds peace in what she had said and done. Then she perceived her husband Nabal would not be as receptive to what she had to say, because he was drunk.

Being a person of perceptiveness means knowing when to speak for reconciliation and when to wait for an opening.

She did that by waiting until the next day to tell her husband what she had done to help David find peace.

In life there are many people who feel, true or not, that they have been rejected by others, by God, by family, by the church, and a number of other people. This feeling often causes a great deal of anger and sadness toward others and themselves. Very often, people who are feeling this rejection simply want someone to reach out and connect with them. Like David, they had gone down a path of emotions and they don’t know how to come back from it without a peacemaker who will reach out to them. Once that happened David quickly changed, we and others around us will likely do the same if they experience a peace. However, this can only come from someone with a pure heart; which is the third characteristic.

3. A Person with a Pure Motive

Abigail had pure motives or a pure heart when she went to David. It is clear that Nabal was not a good guy, but her motives were not to let him get what he deserves. She sought to find peace between the two men. Yes, she would have lost her husband if David had killed Nabal. However, if she was out for herself she could have found David and asked him to kill Nabal and give her the power over the house. This would have gotten a curl man out of her life without losing anything.

The next reason her motives where pure is that she respected her husband enough to wait until the morning to tell him. She did not gloat or brag that she was better than him and got David to turn around. The motive of pride and arrogance could have filled her heart when she got home and found her husband drunk. Instead she waited until he was sober and ready to hear and understand the information she told him. Not in a condescending manor, but simple fact.

37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.

1 Samuel 25:37-38

In the end, Nabal died, but it was not her intention. She attempted to explain and help her husband come to peace also, but instead of finding peace he died. As peacemakers, we must strive for peace and reconciliation in the natural, but ultimately it is the Lord who will bring peace to people.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

As peacemakers, our duty is to help usher in the Holy Spirit into people’s lives and the situation.

The third place we find Abigail had pure motives was after her husband died David asked to marry her and she accepted for this reason…

“I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.”

1 Samuel 25:41b

Her desire was to serve everyone as David’s wife. She did not do it for the fame or fortune, but so that she could help others. Abigail was not a prideful or ambition woman; she had a pure heart to help others. As peacemakers we must have the same heart.

Paul wrote…

 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:7-9

A peacemaker, but have these things in the forefront of their mind and heart or they will not be able to truly help others find peace through the power of the Holy Spirit. Abigail understood what it meant to be a peacemaker and to live a life focused on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

The last characteristic of a peacemaker that we find in Abigail’s and our lives is.

4. A Person of Prayer

I have mentioned the Holy Spirit already and it is only through what God is speaking and doing in people’s hearts that they can truly find people in this life. David was a man after God’s heart. He was sensitive to what God was doing and He trusted and followed God throughout his life. But there are times when people’s words and actions that can come and over throw what we know to be true from what God said. This is where David was when he began marching against Nabal, but Abigail said something that helps us know that she was listening to God. Making her a true peacemaker.

“Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

1 Samuel 25:28-31

She understood what God was trying to do in Israel, by putting David on the throne and what God had done through and protected David. It is important that we recognize what God is doing in the family, marriage, church, school, community, work; in order to understand how the Holy Spirit wants to deliver peace. We do this through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Who to talk to and the words to say. When we are Present, Perceptive, with a Pure Motive and in Prayer we will be able to be peacemakers.

Spend time everyday, working on growing in being present in people’s lives, and perceiving their feelings, hopes, dreams, and fears through prayer and a pure motive to help others we will see God move.

Jesus said…

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:8-9

Abigail showed us that if you live with a pure heart as a peacemaker you will see God and be blessed.

There is one last thing that we find from the life of Abigail that is an important outcome of being a peacemaker.

James writes…

18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:18

Jesus said blessed are peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. People who are peacemakers will be seen as a reflection of their Father.

Abigail had a son with King David named Daniel (1 Chronicles 3:1). He was the second son of David, but he did not act like many of David’s other sons. When King David was old his first son was killed by his third son over the throne. Then his third son was killed by David’s men after trying to take the throne. Then once first and third sons where killed the fourth son took the throne. Then had to be removed by Solomon. All the while Daniel (Abigail’s son) honored God’s decision to make Solomon king.

When we are peacemakers and sow peace we will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace. Abigail sowed peace and taught her son how to be a righteous man and a peacemaker.

Peacemakers create peacemakers. Allow the Holy Spirit to grow those characteristics in your life so you can be a peacemaker and help others become peacemakers and we will see God!

 

God Bless!

BeTheLIGHT

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