Proverbs 16: Ranch Rage

broken castle cinemascope
Proverbs 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Proverbs 16:6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,  and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. 7 When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him…18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Solomon’s dad, David, was awesome and human at the same time. These guys are the epitome of why I love the Bible—I don’t hate myself for being imperfect, because my Bible brothers were wise and loved God but didn’t have 100% control of themselves 100% of the time. They were part Kirk, part Spock. (Miss you, Mr. Nimoy).

David was young when he was anointed king, and it was years before he got his throne. Much of the time, he was running for his life from the guy who had the throne. Once, when David and his gang had been roaming the wilderness, they stopped at a ranch where there was a sheep-shearing festival. They said, “Glad to meet you, we know some of your guys. When they were out watching your sheep, we protected them. Would you mind if we stopped and had a hot meal? It’s been awhile, and we’d be much obliged by your hospitality, Sir.” I imagine they sounded a lot like the Sacketts.

Nabal, the rancher, “screamed insults at them,” according to verse 14. He accused them of being runaway slaves and outlaws and generally acted like the pink part of a baboon.

David gathered his men, they gathered their weapons, and they all headed for no good. That’s when Nabal’s wife showed up, thanks to a fast messenger who saw it all and said, “Abigail, do something quick.” She packed enough food and wine for all David’s men, and the story gets better:

1 Samuel 25:23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. 25 I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests. But I never even saw the young men you sent. 26 Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, since the Lord has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is…30 When the Lord has done all He promised and has made you leader of Israel, 31 don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance.”
Nabal didn’t live long enough to see David on the throne. His bad temper got the best of him the next morning. But David, who had already developed a habit of listening to God, paid attention. He set down his pride, anger and slingshot, and he thanked God for keeping him from sin. And he got the girl. That’s even better than Louis L’Amour!

Lord, we can’t always help how we feel, but we can help what we do. If You find us heading into trouble, please send people to remind us who we are in You, and help us to listen and respond correctly. Thanks, God, for being patient and quick to act when necessary.

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