Before David became the king of Israel, he lived a number of years in the wilderness. Saul, who was king, was jealous of David and often tried to kill him and for that reason David fled for safety. Soon, other men, who were also enemies to Saul, came to David and asked him to be their commander. From them David developed a small but fierce army.
During their journeys they came upon a group of shepherds who worked for a man named Nabal. Because of David’s good character, he and his men did nothing to harm the shepherds or their sheep. As a matter of fact, David’s presence near them helped to protect them from others who might not be so kind.
In repayment for their kindness, David made a request of Nabal, asking him if he might share some food with them. But Nabal, who was a greedy and foolish man, replied- “Who is this fellow David?” “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?” (1 Sam 25:11-12 NLT)
How would you respond to such insults? How would you feel towards someone who insulted you after you had tried to show them kindness? Unfortunately David reacted the way many of us would. “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. “A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!” (1 Sam 25:13, 21-22 NLT) David flew into a fit of rage and his first thoughts were to kill Nabal and all of his household. Yet David’s reaction was not wise. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:21, David was overcome by evil.
How do we handle foolish people? Do we allow their evil to overcome us and cause us to be brought down to their level? Do we live by – ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?’ That’s the easy thing to do, but it’s not a very wise thing to do. The Bible says – “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,”says the Lord. (Rom 12:19 NLT)