Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Touching Base! Part 148

Wherever You Are, Someone's Been there.
Part 4 - Abigail

(This article can also we found on our website
at http://www.bethelkingston.com under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

On Sunday we picked up on our fall series entitled, “Wherever you are, someone’s been there”. The issue we looked at was that in our relationships, there are certain kinds of people that can get under our skin. They have the ability to irritate us and possibly even to control us. The big idea on Sunday was, “the landmine of people can wreck you”. Not all people represent landmines but some of them really know how to throw us off course.

The Text: 1 Samuel 25
The context of our story is that David has been anointed by Samuel to be the future King of Israel. Saul is still on the throne and David’s relationship with Saul is anything but pleasant. In various encounters David has with Saul, he has opportunities to kill him; even his men encourage him to wipe Saul off planet earth. However, David represents incredible self-control, patience and wisdom. He realizes for now that Saul is God’s anointed King, and God is the one who will ultimately deal with Saul, not David. However, as we come to chapter 25, David encounters someone who gets under his skin. He straps on his sword and is ready to rumble! Note that on both sides of this story, chapter 24 and 26 we see David handling Saul with great patience. But chapter 25 tells another story.

As a group read the entire chapter and do the following:
  • Identify the major characters
  • What do we know about these characters?
  • What details are important in understanding this story?
  • Other observations?
On Sunday these are the points I developed in light of the big idea.

1. Your “skin dweller” likely resides under the skin of others.
Note v.17: Nabal has no doubt left a wake of angry people in his travels. How come people can become like this? So obnoxious and rude! Here are some of my answers:
a. They are acting out of their own pain - often people can be downright nasty and cantankerous because something in their past feeds such behaviour. Ugliness comes out of brokenness.
b. They are not open to honest conversations - whenever you sit down to talk about the issue they cut you off. They turn the tables. They start accusing you. THEY DON’T LISTEN. In a world where they don’t listen, and receive counsel they can become nasty because there is no accountability, no honest conversation.
2. God might be calling you to be a “game changer”.
Some of us might be in a position to be a game changer. We see what is happening between two people. We are witnesses. Abigail was that person in this story. She is not just good look’n but she is smart and enters into this story as a second-to-none peacekeeper. Notice what she does well - here are some tips from Abigail on keeping the peace:
a. She models great courage. (v.18,19) Note the issue is a hot one and no one is stepping up. She courageously steps up and does something. If she had done nothing the outcome would have been drastically different. Do you need courage these days?
b. She understands the issue vs. makes assumptions. She knows what her husband has done and she knows the injustice that David has felt. This is evidenced in v.18-19 by what she brings to David. Have you ever made assumptions about two people in disagreement and thus offered up the wrong counsel?
c. She goes face to face (v.20) - No e-mail can be a great blessing.
d. She does what can be done. Peacekeeping assignments are hardly ever clean, textbook and bloodless. Notice she can only talk to one party involved in this problem. Notice that, as far as we know, David never actually meets up with Nabal.
e. She helps David think clearly. (v.25-31) On Sunday I listed the areas that she helped him think clearly about. Can you identify those areas in these verses? She didn’t really tell him anything new. However, when some people get under our skin, we can forget the basics.
As a group discuss these peacekeeping tips. Which ones do you most identify with?

3. We may need to repent. Sure, the skin dweller has their issues but we can often find that our hearts are led astray in encountering these kinds of people.
Notice David’s response (v.32-35) - David does exactly what Nabal was known for not doing, LISTENING. This is a great picture of repentance. David’s sword is strapped to his side, and he is ready to kill Nabal. He was going down the wrong path, but repentance meant that he took the sword off and changed direction. Repentance – it’s changing your whole way of thinking and giving up your agenda.

Ever had to do a U turn in this kind of scenario?

Discuss the following quote by Charles Swindoll:

“Be careful to test what you think to be a prompting from the Lord. ....It is true that you have living within you the Holy Spirit of Almighty God, and He always gives good guidance. But you also carry with you many pounds of carnal flesh that makes wrong seem right. A transformed mind will tell the difference, but that doesn’t take place overnight. Maturity comes with time and experience; it’s a product of a growing intimacy with the Almighty. So I urge you to put your promptings to the test. ... Refuse to act impulsively. Instead, weigh your words carefully, sleep on decisions having significant consequences, and remain open to reproof. Does Scripture affirm the wisdom and morality of your choice? Do the wise and godly people in your life have any objections? What has your past experience taught you? Have you asked the Lord to examine your heart over the matter and then prayed quietly?” (Fascinating Stories of Forgotten Lives, page 139)

The Land Mine Of People Can Wreck You! True, isn’t it?

Do you identify with David and need to repent?
Do you identify with Abigail and need to step up and bring some peace?
Do you identify with Nabal? Let’s face it we all can get under people’s skin on some days.

Finally read to the end of this story. Where do you see the Gospel paralleled or contrasted? Some clues:

  • David is a future king with feet of clay. The end of this story reminds us that his household is a mess and his marriage practices follow the pattern of the surrounding nations more than God’s blueprint. Check out Genesis 1,2 and Deuteronomy 17:16,17.
  • Where is the perfect King? Luke 1:32,33: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
  • Where is the perfect peacekeeper?
Abigail stood between David and Nabal and took on guilt that was not hers. Did you note that in v.24? Likewise, Jesus stood between God and man and took on guilt that was not His. So one thousand years before the ultimate sacrifice was given to make peace, Abigail prefigures Jesus Christ, the perfect King who makes perfect peace!

We are all in need of a real peacemaker and peacekeeper.

If interested in joining or starting a small group contact us at bethelcommunitygroups@gmail.com

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