Facing custody court (again), I was led to the story of Abigail.
HOW with my history, did I manage not to read this before?
Abigail – married to a truly unsavory character (probably arranged, in her defense – he was loaded and she was pretty and we know in the ancient world those two things sometimes led to an unwanted or at least undesirable union). One day he did a truly foolish thing and his wife, after the fact, learned he had laughed at and scorned King David.
I don’t think I would have gotten past the YOU DID WHAT? stage if my first husband had done such a thing. Although he did have a habit of offending anyone who knew him any length of time. I’m envisioning Abigail among her handmaids, doing Old Testament house wife kinds of things – and a servant coming in with a mortified look on his face to inform her “guess what he did THIS time”. The servant was smart to tell her. I’m sure it wasn’t the first time servants ratted on Mr. Nabal.
And Abigail – far, vastly superior woman – didn’t panic when she heard that King David was doing exactly as one might expect of King David and coming to deal with her buffoonish husband. With an army. Rather than chasten the hopeless case who shared her bed, she prepared gifts for the offended king and went out to meet him. Despite her own standing, wealth and apparent beauty, she humbled herself. A wise woman, she understood there was nothing her husband could or would do to avert the marching disaster, but that she might be able to speak reason to the offended king.
Her argument why David shouldn’t destroy her entire household was much cleverer than anything I would have thought of: King David should leave revenge to God, and spare her stupid husband for his own sake. Let her husband deal with what was coming; David should remain above such a trivial and potentially dangerous action.
It is hard for me to discern – David’s ego (it was nice to have praises of such a woman heaped on your head, I’m suire) or David’s better self (after all, his God did indeed claim all rights to vengeance and still does) won out. The twit was spared. The pretty, genteel and very clever wife saved the day. Home she went to tell the drunkard how she had averted disaster, but not until the next morning when he had sobered up enough to understand – you nearly got yourself killed and I fixed this. I am confident she managed to relay this news with grace. I would have likely thrown pottery.
Her husband did her the tremendous kindness of dropping dead very shortly after, and King David did her the even greater kindness of wooing and marrying her. Bathsheba might have set his pulse racing, but Abigail apparently held his heart. They had a long and joyful marriage. She was the advisor, the companion and the consort.
We know enough about King David to understand this: he did like beautiful women, but I’m sure he appreciated a woman of her standing who wasn’t afraid to defend her home and her husband, showing tremendous loyalty to an oaf who didn’t deserve it. Abigail would not have laughed at David for dancing in joy. Abigail would have brought him a glass of water or danced with him. Abigail would never have taken a bath on the rooftops. David likely reasoned that this mature, wise woman would whisper Godly counsel in his ear, guide him thoughfully and gently, defer to him with respect but ensure that whatever he did, she would be there to smooth over or defend the imperfect moments for him. She didn’t gloat over her silly husband, she wouldn’t chasten or gloat over the King. This was a good wife to add to one’s collection.
And for Abigail? Sure, she must have thought, oh my another husband…the streak wasn’t exactly a winner so far. But David was reputedly handsome, and strong, and even with his occasional issues with impulse control he was a steady, Godly man and a fierce warrior too. If I were Abigail, that last one would be enough all by itself. No one is going to mess with me or my family with King David and his sword in front of me.
I know exactly how she feels. I married a wonderful man the second time, but I can’t claim any of Abigail’s cleverness or sense in going about it. But I do see how her patience, her insistentence on the high round was rewarded and very generously. What could be better as payback for time in a special Hell than to marry the most desirable man of your generation? And live in a castle?
I’m not expecting my first husband to be struck dead in quite such a dramatic fashion. And I might have to do some more fighting – that’s okay – it took seven times around Jericho to get those walls down. I can do some more marching. God’s people have faced laughter, scorn, ridicule and overt hatred all over the Old Testament and yet they were never defeated. God only rarely swoops in and does mass destructions. God usually prefers to equip his people and give them the test of the fight, and the rewards of obedience, determination, focus on Him and an attitude of service. Not my war, but Yours. Not my strength, but Yours. Not my glory – but Yours.
As Beth Moore points out in one of her teachings – it’s a fight “for” not a fight “with”. Fight for my daughter. Fight for my family. Fight for the right thing. Fighting “with” my ex is an unfortunate consequence but it’s not the centerpiece, not by a long way. And Fight With only matters when it’s “fight alongside”…when the one you are fighting with is the ruler of the universe, that’s critical indeed. After all, where was I when he hung the stars?
I will Never Leave You or Forsake You. It’s a promise – it was true for Abigail, it was true for Joshua and it is true for me. I will step on those high places – and one of them will be custody court. Those high places are MINE to bring down – not on my own strength or righteousness, by any means. But My God has a plan and he’s going to come out of it looking as amazing as always. All I have to do is keep marching, trusting, obeying. Those things aren’t easy, but they are possible and they are necessary.
Abigail inspired me through the hardest three days I’ve faced in a very long time – in court, listening to the other side list every minor parenting mistake I’ve made in eight years, put them ALL together and then blow them up. It was rough, but I survived. I had a shield.
Abigail probably did it with more grace. But I did it, and My God made sure I did. I’m not sure what he’s planning, but having seen what he did for Abigail – and having seen the charming man he found for me the second time around, I’m okay with letting Him do it His way. We have to finish this fight in a few months. This time, it won’t be my shield that I need, but my sword. I’m relying on and trusting my God to lead me to fight fairly, to fight for and not fight with, and to know that He is there, always.
Anyone who gets in the way had better know, the Mama Lion you’re looking at is the least of your worries. My God hasn’t lost one yet.