Explore the Bible Study: Protected

11:43 AM

Have you ever been so angry at someone who wronged you that you could just hit something or that person? Did you allow your anger to get the best of you or did you back off? Did someone help you back off? Well, in this week's Explore the Bible study, Protected, we will get to have a front row seat as David's anger almost gets the best of him when he is wronged by a man named Nabel. Fortunately for him, God uses the wisdom of a servant and a woman named Abigail to protect David from what could have been a tragic response that would have harmed people and done long-lasting damage to David's character.

As believers, we want our actions to be guided by prayer, patience, and love, but it is very tempting to settle for homegrown justice. Many times we lash out in anger instead of waiting patiently on God to deal with the situation. Sadly, if we react, we might feel some sort of short-term satisfaction, but usually it creates even more problems. God gives us a different standard for responding and will protect us if we just trust Him. This is the direction the teaching ideas will go for this session.

I have expanded the passages beyond the suggested passages from Explore the Bible. I hope the following teaching ideas will help you as you prepare to teach this session:

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.
  • Who has a favorite baseball team?
  • Have you ever watched a game where the pitchers retaliate by hitting a batter?
  • What usually takes place when this happens? (more retaliation; bench clearing brawls; pitchers ejected; etc.)
  • Have you ever been tempted to retaliate in these situations: a driver cuts you off driving down the interstate; a boss treats you badly; a family member treats you badly?
  • What other kinds of insults, conflicts, or personal attacks have you experienced?
  • How did you react? Were you tempted to “get back at them” in some way?
LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

1 Samuel 25:1-11
  • How did the Scriptures contrast Nabal with his wife Abigail?
  • How would you summarize Nabal’s personality based on these passages?
  • Was David’s request unreasonable?
  • Did David demand the supplies, or did he humbly request help?
  • Considering that David was the established power figure in the region and had offered protection, how insulting does Nabal’s response sound? How would you have responded to such insults?
  • Do you feel David’s response was a “knee-jerk” response? 
  • How else could he have responded?
1 Samuel 25:14-31 
  • How did the young man (the servant) describe all David had done for them?
  • How did the young man (the servant) show great wisdom? (He knew Nabal had put everyone in danger; He went to Abigail, someone who was wise; He gave a reasoned argument; He told Abigail that she had to act; He acknowledged that Nabal was not the best person in the world and that somebody needed to help him.)
  • Wisdom can take many forms. Sometimes we must deal with a problem ourselves, and sometimes we must appeal to another person to deal with it. Why didn’t the servant deal with the problem himself? How does his approach serve as a model for us? 
  • What could you learn from this young man that might help you deal with someone in authority over you who might have made a terrible decision?
  • How would you describe the actions of Abigail? What was her motive for appealing to David
  • What are we to make of her description of Nabal?
State: Even before we look at David’s next response we must consider the sad state of Nabal. His leadership and actions led everyone around him, including his wife, to view him as an incompetent leader and husband.
  • How do you think you are viewed by those you lead and your family members?
  • How can we avoid becoming like Nabal?
1 Samuel 25:32-35
  • How is David’s response to Abigail a picture of complete repentance? (He simply accepted the gifts and backed off.)
  • Had he done any of the following would he have truly repented? - Sent an angry message to Nabal telling him that, but for his wife, his head would now be on top of a spear. Warned Abigail to make sure Nabal never did something like this again.
  • What leadership lesson can we learn from David’s willingness to back off?
  • How willing would you have been to listen to Abigail had you been David?
  • Had David not changed his decision, what would have been the results?
  • Can you recall episodes in your life when someone stopped you from making a “knee-jerk” decision? How did you respond initially to their intervention? How did their intervention strengthen your faith?
1 Samuel 25:36-38
  • Explain: It appears that Nabal is blissfully ignorant of what has just taken place. He is completely unaware of how close he came to being destroyed by David. It seems that, on top of everything else, Nabal was a coward, and the account of David’s anger gripped him with terror resulting in him having a seizure. Verse 38 concludes by stating that the Lord struck Nabal dead.
  • Read: Romans 12:19
  • Discuss: Does this mean that we hope people who have wronged us will “get what they deserve”? Had David backed off, yet said, “God give him what he deserves” would he have truly repented? (No)
  • Read: Romans 12:20-21
  • Explain: If we only isolate verse 19 of Romans 12, then we miss out on the complete principle. David did not hope for any kind of retribution against Nabal. He simply backed off. The rest was left up to God. 
LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.
  • State: It is hard to refrain from retaliation when we feel someone has wronged us in some way.  We immediately desire to put them in their place. We react instead of waiting on God to deal with them. We need to remember that God is always in control and is always watching our backs!  Our job is to respond in a manner that reflects our relationship with Christ and our trust in Him, knowing that He will take care of the situation however He chooses.
  • (In PSG, p. 112) Where is the line between defending yourself and trusting God to step in on your behalf? How do you know when to wait patiently on God when the only thing you want to do is defend yourself or those you love?
  • What triggers your desire to retaliate? It could be something as common as someone cutting you off on the road or as serious as someone harming one of your family members. What can you learn from the lessons of this passage?
  • What did God do in order to prevent Himself from the justifiable retaliation we deserved because of our sins against Him? (He gave His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.)
  • Challenge: When you are tempted to respond with retaliation to any situation this week, ask God to give you the strength to let it go, back off, and trust Him to deal with the situation. Even if the outcome isn’t pleasant, your relationship with Christ will be strengthened. God gave His Son so that we could avoid His wrath. His sacrifice should be our motivation to offer grace to those who have wronged us.

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