After Abigail heard the news, that they were coming to destroy her whole household, she “made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn,and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.”
Even if I “made haste,” it would take me days/weeks to get this amount of food together. I’m sure Abigail had help, but the sheer magnitude of her effort amazes me!
“And it was so…that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.”
I have this image of David’s army of men coming over a hill and through a valley, hundreds of hungry, angry people intent on exacting vengeance on her husband’s household.
And Abigail met them. What courage!
David’s grievance? While they’d been in the area, they’d protected Nabal’s servants and flocks. How much this entailed, the scriptures aren’t entirely clear, but one of Nabal’s servants told Abigail that David’s men protected them and Nabal railed on David when David’s men asked for hospitality.
So basically, David served someone who wasn’t grateful for the service and insulted him. David felt offended to the point of declaring war on Nabal’s household.
It’s so easy to see how this applies today. You help me. I’m snarky and ungrateful. You’re offended and angry. Thank you for not coming to attack my family.
Upon Me Let This Iniquity Be
“And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,
She acknowledged her husband’s weakness and reminded David that she hadn’t heard his request. Abigail asked him to consider the long-term effects of his revenge. She reminded him of the Lord’s good promises of protection and kingship to David– “but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God.” She presented the food, which David requested of Nabal.
And then she bookends acting as proxy for the sin with this–”I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid….”
Abigail’s statement here floors me. I’ve thought of it over and over and over.
She could have just rushed to David and said, hey, my husband was a jerk, but I brought you this food to apologize and make amends. Here you go, have a nice day.
Why would she substitute herself for Nabal’s actions?
She took the “iniquity.” She stood in the place of Nabal—not just apologizing for him or justifying him. She stood there AS Nabal as if she committed the grievance. And she asked David to forgive her as the trespasser. She stood in the place of Nabal and prevailed.
Another example of someone stepping up in a life threatening situation occurred when Lamoni and Ammon encountered Lamoni’s father. As Lamoni’s father drew his sword to kill Lamoni, “Ammon stood forth and said unto him: Behold, thou shalt not slay thy son.” Unlike David’s experience, Lamoni’s father wasn’t placated. Anger consumed him and he fought with Ammon. Ammon conquered.
As the old king saw Ammon could destroy him, he pled for his life. Ammon stood in Lamoni’s place again and asked that “Lamoni may retain his kingdom, and that ye be not displeased with him, but grant that he may do according to his own desires in whatsoever thing he thinketh, then will I spare thee; otherwise I will smite thee to the earth.” Ammon stood in the place of Lamoni and prevailed.
Seeing Christ in Others
Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ stands in our place and absolves our repented sins. He says He suffered for the sins, trespasses, wrongs others do to us. Thus, if we’ve accepted His atoning Grace, He stands in the place of EVERYONE around us.
Instead of Nabal, David saw Abigail. Instead of Lamoni, Lamoni’s father saw Ammon. Instead of our offender, we should see Jesus Christ.
Nephi gave the perfect example of seeing Jesus instead of his offenders who tied him to a pole on a tempest-tossed ship. The cords made his hands, wrists, and ankles swell “exceedingly.” “Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long.” Nephi looked to God and prevailed.
While recounting Israel’s history and testifying of Jesus Christ, Stephen enraged the crowd. They gnashed him with their teeth! Stephen saw past their anger and saw Jesus Christ, literally. “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. …
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Stephen looked to God and prevailed.
We all make mistakes and those wronged by us have the same opportunity to cast their burden on the Lord, feel His atoning power in their life and see Him standing in our place. Jesus promises to mediate for our sins to others. He provides justice, mercy, and the way to truly love our fellowman, because we see Him.
If I truly accept the Atonement, I won’t be distracted by what good or bad things happens “to me.” The Atonement keeps my eyes fixed on the Savior.
The change in perspective spreads to seeing Christ not only in offenders, but in everyone.
“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. “
“Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. “
And then everything changes. If Jesus Christ stands in place of an offender and says “upon me let this iniquity be” and “forgive the trespass” how could I ever refuse to forgive my Savior?
David immediately accepted Abigail’s propitiation. “And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light….
So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.”
“And when [Lamoni’s father] saw that Ammon had no desire to destroy him, and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly.
The king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.”
Not everyone we encounter has a change of heart. So what? That’s not my business.
If we’re applying the atonement in our lives, the issue isn’t between me and them, it’s between me and Jesus and Jesus and them. My responsibility is simple, to forgive. If the issue is between me and Jesus, can I forgive Him?
His Image in Our Countenance
As we accept His Grace and begin to see and recognize the Savior in everyone around us, the Atonement actually changes us. This sanctifying, refining change is our goal. Then, when someone looks at us they see Him in every attribute and characteristic.
“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?”
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”
Am I receiving and applying the Atonement to allow this change? Are you?
One day I will see Him as He is. At that moment, and in every way, I hope He sees Himself in me.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.