Sometimes young sisters may feel that they do not have a very important role to play in the service of their God, but the Scriptures clearly show that there is much positive work for  them to do in the work of the truth. There are many  ways a sister can contribute to the work of serving  her Master. To take one example, sisters can play a very important role in the way they influence others in their walk in the truth. References to certain young women in the Scriptures indicate that their influence for good has been outstanding. Esther and  the little servant maid to the wife of Naaman are two examples that come to mind.

Whilst the Scriptures clearly teach that it is not  a sister’s role to teach in the public assembly of the  ecclesia, yet there are many other areas in which  she can contribute, not only ecclesially, but also in  the home and elsewhere. The apostle Paul makes  it very clear that the domestic role for married  sisters is valued highly by our heavenly Father. And  whilst the following words apply to those who are  married, our single sisters also have much to offer  in so many ways. Paul writes: “I will therefore that  the younger women marry, bear children, guide  the house, give none occasion to the adversary to  speak reproachfully” (1 Tim 5:14)—and “guiding  the house” as enjoined by Paul is not always an  easy matter, as most mothers would agree! Again  he writes: “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in  childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity  and holiness with sobriety” (1 Tim 2:15).

The gentle, self-sacrificing qualities of sisters, so  important in the home in the training and nourishing  of children, are also needed in the ecclesia and  beyond, and both the younger and older sisters’  role here is very important to the development and  maintaining of the truth.

However for a young sister to be involved in  domestic matters of life does not mean that she  needs to (or should) neglect her own spiritual  development. She will find that there will be many  occasions in life where her sound understanding of  Biblical principles will be very helpful to herself  and others she seeks to encourage and help.

Abigail—A Woman of Good Understanding

One such young woman who showed an outstanding  understanding of divine principles and gently used  this to help her brother was Abigail. As we consider  this event when Abigail went out to meet David,  we should bear in mind that David at this time was  in his mid to late twenties. It was some time after  this when David was thirty that he was anointed  king in Hebron (2 Sam 5:4–5). It would therefore  seem reasonable to accept that Abigail was a young  woman of a similar age.

Abigail came into the life of David at a time of  great extremity in his life. He had been on the run  from Saul for some time and the death of Samuel,  who had been such a tower of strength to David,  would have affected the young man greatly. He  decided to bide his time in the wilderness of Paran,  where over a period of time he and his men came  in contact with the shepherds of Nabal, Abigail’s  husband.

Nabal was a very great man as far as wealth and  prestige were concerned but was totally bereft of  any spiritual qualities. However Abigail was quite  the reverse, to the extent that one wonders how they  ever became married in the first place—perhaps  it was an arranged marriage by parents. We read:  “She was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and  evil in his doings” (1 Sam 25:3). It is interesting to  note that her quality of good understanding is stated  before her obvious beauty. Despite her husband’s  very bad traits of character she somehow was able  to hold the marriage together. But a greater role lay before her.

True to character, Nabal brushed aside the  request from David’s men for assistance, even  though David and his men had been very good  to Nabal’s shepherds over many days and nights  out in the field: “And Nabal answered David’s  servants, and said, Who is David? And who is the  son of Jesse? There be many servants now a days  that break away every man from his master. Shall  I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh  that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto  men, whom I know not whence they be?” David’s  men returned and told him the curt, abusive rebuff  they had received.

Throughout the long days and nights that  David had been pursued relentlessly by Saul, he had committed his ways to Yahweh. He knew that  despite all appearances to the contrary, Yahweh  would ultimately plead his cause(eg 1 Sam 24:15).  But now at a low point in his life David acted quite  out of character—he sought instant retaliation  against Nabal: “And David said unto his men, Gird  ye on every man his sword” (1 Sam 25:13). Had  David carried out his intentions to kill all Nabal’s  household it would have been a stain on his life—he  surely would have regretted his actions later.

Abigail’s Resolute Action

But it was the young woman Abigail who turned  David around. Her strength of character and  understanding of Yahweh and His ways came to the  fore at the right time, and she went forth to plead  with David to change his mind. Here is an incident  that should be of great encouragement to our young  sisters, married or unmarried. Perhaps over the  years many hastily planned, unwise courses of  action have been stopped in their tracks by the wise  counsel of a young woman! Young sisters certainly  do have a role to play amongst God’s people.

Notice the resolute and determined action taken  by Abigail. Upon being informed by Nabal’s young  men of David’s intentions, she wasted no time in  quickly preparing a gift of many provisions, (which  is what David’s men had asked Nabal for in the first  place), and laid them on asses. Sending her servants  ahead with the gift, she raced behind on her own  ass. She knew that time was running out. When she  finally met David and his men, “she hasted, and  lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face,  and bowed herself to the ground” (v23).

Her Deep Spiritual Perception

What followed was an amazing scene. On one  hand, David was absolutely fuming with anger  against Nabal and his men (v21–22), and prostrate  before him on the ground was a young woman who  was determined to do everything in her power to  stop David acting so foolishly. Abigail addresses  David as “lord” fifteen times in this record as she  implores him to allow Yahweh to plead his cause.  She reminds David in very powerful language that  this was always the right course of action to take:  “Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and  as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden  thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging  thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies,  and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal”  (v26). Clearly there is a hint here in Abigail’s words  that Nabal, whose name means folly (v25), would  have his own folly turned on his head. In other  words, she trusted in Yahweh to avenge David.

This was extremely sound advice. But Abigail  would not have been in a position to give such  advice had her mind over the years been on matters  other than God’s principles. Her godliness was  no accident. Her mind was steeped in Biblical  principles. She had respect for Yahweh and His  word. She had complete trust in the God whom  she worshipped.

Many years later it was the apostle Paul who,  perhaps having the life of David and others in  mind, wrote words so closely allied to those wise  words of Abigail: “Dearly beloved, avenge not  yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for  it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith  the Lord”(Romans 12:19).

It is interesting to note the absolute conviction  of Abigail as she poured her heart out to persuade  David to take a different course. She reminded  David that “the LORD will certainly make my lord  a sure house” (v28). Whilst enemies of David  abounded on every side she knew in her heart that  “the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of  life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine  enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of a middle  of a sling” (v29).

What caused Abigail to be so fervent? What was  in it for her, as the saying goes? There was nothing  in it for her other than (and a very important ‘other  than’) she had the greatest respect for David as  a man after God’s own heart, and she genuinely  wanted such a man to be king. And she wanted him  to be king on the right basis—trust in Yahweh at all  times and not avenging oneself.

Her Confidence in Her God

One can imagine how David would have been  transfixed as such words of wisdom poured from  the heart of a young woman. There was never a  doubt in Abigail’s mind that one day David would  be king and her next words would have been of  great encouragement to David, who certainly at  this time was feeling the effects of being a fugitive  for such a long time. Note again her conviction.  There were no ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ or ‘may-bes’. “And it  shall come to pass when the LORD shall have done  to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed  thee ruler over Israel; that this shall be no grief  unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either  that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord  hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall  have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine  handmaid” (v 30–31).

One doesn’t have to be a speaker on the platform  or a great expositor of the Scriptures to assist  others to the kingdom of God. Sisters can take  great heart from Abigail’s example. In the light of  such a wonderful outpouring of deep conviction  and understanding of Yahweh’s purpose and  providence, what could David say? He knew that  everything she said was right.

Stopped in his tracks David freely acknowledges  the hand of Yahweh in the visit from Abigail at this  most crucial time in his life: “And David said to  Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel which  sent thee this day to meet me” (v32). He accepts  her advice as if it was from Yahweh Himself:  “And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou,  which has kept me this day from coming to shed  blood, and from avenging myself with mine own  hand”(v33).

There is a very happy sequel to this incident as  we know. David was avenged by Yahweh with the  death of Nabal, and Abigail subsequently became  David’s wife. In her fervent plea to David she had  said: “When the LORD shall have dealt well with  my lord, then remember thine handmaid” (v31).  Abigail probably never thought in her wildest  dreams that she would ever become the wife of  the future king!

It is said that behind every great man is a  great woman and Abigail certainly was “great”  in the finest sense—she was a true daughter of  Abraham. So let all our sisters, both young and  older, appreciate the fact that our God is aware of  all their labours in His service, in whatever form  that may be.

Faithfulness to the truth and to the honour of  God’s name will certainly be recompensed, if not  in this life, then certainly in the age to come: “For  God is not unrighteous to forget your work and  labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his  name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and  do minister” (Heb 6:10)