This past Sunday we walked through an account where David came very close to ruining his future as king (1 Sam 25). A harsh, evil man named Nabal rejected David’s request for compensation for protecting his flocks, and he disrespected David in front of his men. I can imaging as David heard the words of Nabal repeated to him by the young men sent to collect the gift, the anger came like a wave. This could not be tolerated. David knew what needed to be done to teach this man a lesson: He would pay a visit to Nabal, and he would kill Nabal, and every single male in his household. Nabal was a fool, and David was going to cure his foolishness. Like, forever!
But wait. I find it interesting that David was able to endure years of indignation from Saul, being relentlessly hunted like a dog, unjustly pursued for no crime at all, and in all of this he trusted the hand of God to be his protection. Yet a few words from a foolish man, and David is ready to commit mass murder! That’s a bit extreme, don't you think? How is it that David became so unhinged over a few words?
It does seem it’s foolishness that catches us off guard; that sets us off. That person that comes out of nowhere and cuts in line, or takes my parking spot, or says something about one of my kids; that is the person that I am most likely to unload on! When that fool gets in my face, that’s when the fool in me comes out!
So what is our defense against the fool, and the fool in me?
First, never dismiss the person God sends to save you from your foolishness! God sent Abigail, Nabal’s wife, to talk David down. Her kind words and soft demeanor saved David from a terrible mistake. It was a truly Proverbs 15:1 moment:
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Second, never answer a fool with foolishness, because when we do, we become part of the foolishness.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.
Third, know your enemy. We need to recognize that we have an enemy, and our enemy is not the fool that is standing in front of us.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12)
Our adversary is Satan, and he will use foolish people to try and set us off, to hurt us, to bring reproach on our Lord by our actions. If Satan can get us to play the fool, then he has won a little victory.
Fourth, pray! We need to recognize the reason that person is acting a fool is often because it’s all they know how to do.
- Maybe that person doesn't know the Lord; so pray for them!
- Maybe that person is a believer, but at that moment they are NOT walking in the spirit. Hurting people hurt people. Broken people break things. So pray for them!
- Think of Jesus, when He was hanging on the cross, put there by people that were doing the most foolish thing in the entire history of the world, and he prayed for them: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Last, remember that we are Ambassadors for the true and living God! In fact, that gives us a greater calling than David; we represent the living God on this earth!
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
(2 Cor 5:20)
Our calling is to represent the truth of God, and his love for all mankind, to the people around us; our family, our neighbors, our work, even the fool at the convenience store that just insulted you!