CARPE DIEM

(SEIZE THE DAY)

 "Abigail didn’t linger. She got on her donkey and, with her five maids in attendance, went with the messengers to David and became his wife."

 1 Samuel (MSG)

 

I love the story of Abigail in scripture. She had guts and grace of equal measure. Oh, how I want a bit of what she had.

Sometimes I imagine writing an entire book about her wisdom, foresight, leadership, and daring nature that didn't dilly-dally at the threshold of opportunity. I could write a few chapters on her donkey alone. Abigail’s life was never perfect; the scriptures tell us she was beautiful and intelligent, yet married a man who was surly and mean. His name was Nabal (meaning fool) and he typified King Saul, and all those who reject the Lord’s anointed. I’d imagine her life would have been a delicate dance to keep the peace, and yet the scriptures remember her for a type of vibrant wisdom of which we could all use a little more.

Abigail’s story is recorded in 1 Samuel 25, and I promise if you read it afresh you will enjoy every second of it. The scriptures paint a significant moment of a breakthrough in Abigail’s life, a moment she increased quickly in discernment to obtain. Abigail didn't miss her moment, and with great courage saved the lives of her household in the process.

In short, her story tells of the anointed-to-be-king David’s kindness toward her family which was greeted with disregard by her brash, hot-headed, disrespectful and ungrateful husband, whose actions placed the lives of his entire house in danger of death. When Abigail heard news of this from a servant, she didn't whinge and whine about her husband’s recklessness, nor did she cry and complain about the mess she had to clean up - she didn't even retreat in fear and run.  Her story tells a more noble account where she moved quickly into action, not wasting a minute, turning her giant obstacle into an incredible opportunity. She ‘carpe diem-ed’. She seized the day! Abigail went to work, loading donkeys with gifts, while instructing her servants to go out before her to meet David and his men. She then followed on her donkey. Abigail rode toward David, risking her life with the same humility and heroic demeanor for which Queen Esther is praised. Abigail bowed before David, taking upon herself full blame for her husband’s wrongdoing, gaining both the forgiveness of David and favor of God. Amazingly, her wicked husband suddenly dies, and David takes Abigail to be his wife. So, in one incredible blockbuster-worthy occasion, Abigail’s life is completely turned around. When we imagine someone seizing the day, it’s more likely we picture a valiant warrior riding a stallion into victory, yet God used a brave girl with a wise heart… and a donkey.

The essence of Abigail’s life is a testimony to the power of godly wisdom partnered with an opportune time, and a ‘carpe diem’ attitude. Abigail’s one wise decision in a tricky situation did more than save the lives of her household that day, it radically changed her destiny by positioning her in a place to ride out of the prison of her past and into the new future God had prepared.

It’s often we can pray desperate prayers, asking God to bring us the kind of breakthrough Abigail received that day, yet with the same breath retreat in fear and apathy when an uncomfortable moment of opportunity arrives at our door asking us to take the risky route of faith. Abigail’s actions remind us we can prayerfully ‘carpe diem’ in the hardest of situations. We can seize the opportunity that is ripe for the picking by abiding in the wisdom God gives through the power of His Spirit at work in us who believe. One moment in God can change everything. One wise word, in season from heaven, can turn everything around. And one unexpected situation can deliver the miracle we’re waiting for.

 

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking."
 James 1:5 (NLT)