Sadly we join the story at the death and burial of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 25:1). Samuel’s death was the end of an era. Israel had lost it’s prophet and David was more alone than ever.
David thinks it’s a good time to be on the move again and arrives in the wilderness of Paran where he encounters a wealthy farmer called Nabal (vs3). The name Nabal means ‘a fool’. Now, he was not a joker or lacking in intelligence, but rather, Nabal was rich. He had thousands of sheep and goats and had also got himself a discerning and beautiful wife. So, no fool then.
He was also a descendant of the mighty Caleb, a man of great faith.
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30
Yet we read Nabal is harsh and badly behaved. He also rejects David’s approach for help with contempt (vs 9-11) describing David as a run-away servant. David’s response was not the best, it was in fact over the top. I will leave you to read about that.
However, I was struck by the fact that the Bible records the person Nabal as ‘a fool’; what a way to be thought of. I kept thinking over and over, how will we be known? What will we be known for? How will people describe us or record us? This is what the Bible says.
See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” 1 John 3:1
In these days of incredible change, it’s time to live out who we are, to be who we are, to demonstrate what a privilege it is to be a child of God.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17
We have security: We are not to fear, but enjoy sonship (v 15). An employee or a servant obeys, but a child-parent relationship is not characterised by a fear of losing the relationship.
We have the status not of “a slave” but of “sonship” (v 15). In a house, slaves have no authority, they can only do what they are told. Children have the honour of the family name. There is a wonderful new status placed on us. We are given dignity.
We cry, ‘Abba’ (v 15). The original language here, “Abba” was an Aramaic term which is best translated “Daddy” a term of the greatest intimacy and this is how Christians can approach the all-powerful Creator of the universe, who sustains every atom in existence moment by moment!
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “Let us notice the word ‘cry’ or we cry ‘Abba, Father.’ It is a very strong word, and clearly the apostle has used it quite deliberately. It means ‘a loud cry’; it expresses deep emotion. It is the spontaneity of the child who sees the father and not only spontaneity, but confidence.”
When we cry out to God as “Abba,” the Spirit of God somehow comes alongside us (“with our spirit”) and gives us assurance that we truly are in God’s family. That is the Spirit’s work, testifying for us and to us that we truly are sons of the living God.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs” (v 17). This means we have an incredible future. In ancient times the first-born son was the heir. There may have been many children, and all were loved, but the heir got the largest share of the wealth and carried on the family name. This is a miracle for us, because the heir got the lion’s share of the parent’s wealth. Paul is saying that what is in store for us is so grand and glorious it will be more than we can imagine.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs, if indeed we share in his sufferings“ (v 17). Fathers always discipline their children. When parents discipline a child they allow or introduce a milder form of pain in order to teach or mature the child away from behaviour that will lead to far greater pain later. Even if you don’t think so right now it is a (painful) privilege to be put through discipline by the most loving Father in the universe.
“We share in his sufferings” (vs 17). Christians will suffer and some may even die in these unprecedented days. Others will be ridiculed because of their faith, and still others will be told “this is all God’s fault.” Christ faced rejection because of who he was, and because he had come to expose sinfulness, warn of judgment and offer salvation through himself. Likewise, his family will suffer in the same ways as they live for him and speak of him. We get to be like him! God works in us and through our circumstances so that we would “be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (v 29).
There is a world looking for stability and security. It is also searching for answers and God has chosen us to be in this place at this time to demonstrate what it means to be a follower of Christ. He asks us to live up to our name and in living up to our name we point to Him.