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What Do You Feed an Angry Man
09/16/2007
Scripture: Mark 3; 11; 1 Samuel 15; 25; Psalms 40
Track 8 of 19 in the David: A Man After God's Heart series
Running time: 58 minutes, 26 seconds.


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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Anger is one of the most dangerous emotions man has. One of the reasons it is so dangerous, it is so unpredictable. What is amazing to me about anger is how fast it can come upon a person. I don't get angry very often but in the times I felt anger, it happened very quickly. Before I knew it, I was moving to do something I would definitely regret had it not been for others around me to bring me back to my senses. I think that is a very good definition for anger, an intense emotion that causes you to lose all sense of rational behavior.

For those of you who have ever felt the emotion of anger, what does it feel like and what are the sorts of things that can bring you to anger?

All of us probably have experienced anger and it can wear so many faces and come in so many colors. Sometimes we show it through irritation. In other situations, our anger comes out in the words we say and later regret. Occasionally it can come upon a person so hard that it results in hostile actions. Anger can take the smallest and weakest of people and quickly turn them into a force to reckon with.

Another reason why anger is so debilitating is that it is usually very public. You can not hide anger, it's on display. It is there for everyone to witness and remember. Even Jesus, when he felt anger displayed his anger in public and in front of everyone.

Mark 3:5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.

Mark 11:15-16 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.

The answer of course is self control. Jesus, even though he was angry also was in control of the self. But self control is a whole lot easier said than done. To practice self-control is the key to keep anger from becoming a problem. In most angry situations, anger is a reaction to frustration in which you behave in ways you would rather not. In fact, in severe forms, anger really is temporary insanity.

This would be the description of the man of God, David. The Bible records some events in David's life that show a darker side to his personality. What we are going to study today is one of those events. What saves David is the quick thinking of a very wise woman. Her husband had no idea how close he came to being fed to a very angry man who had the ability to eat him alive. Had it not been for this wise woman, David would have committed a very serious sin that might have altered David's future forever.

Have you ever been in a situation where had it not been for the action of someone else, you might have done something that would have been disastrous for you?

Here is what is interesting, David, for years has been a model of patience under the spear of Saul. But over time the pressure will get to the best of men or women. A steady dose of pressure or frustration can lead to bouts of anger and David was no different.

Let's set the scene a little, Saul was the king of Israel but it was David with his ban of 600 guerrilla fighters that had been out fighting various tribes in the wilderness protecting the people of Israel. In fact, those who benefited the most were the shepherds and the owners of the flocks because it was David and his men who were protecting them basically for free.

It was the custom of the day that when the time came for shearing the sheep, the owners of the sheep would set aside a portion of the profit they made and gave it to those who had protected their sheep. It was kind of like tipping the waiter. There was no written law saying you had to do this but it was a nice way of saying thanks to those who protected them. David and his men had been very faithful watching out for the flocks of a man named Nabal.

The Characters:

Nabal: His name actually means "fool". This doesn't mean he was simpleminded. He was a man who believed that there was no God and basically, it was all about Nabal and no one else. From what we know about this guy, he was very rich and he had a lot of influence. But he had some problems, he was a very hard man, he was deceptive (dishonest) and very unfair.

Abigail: Nabal's wife was just the opposite. She was both intelligent and very beautiful. She was wise and her decisions made good sense. She was a logical thinker. It is amazing that a man like Nabal could marry a woman lie Abigail.

David: David and his men have been doing their voluntary police work in the fields of Paran. They have been watching out for the herds of Nabal. In fact, they did a great job just like we would expect from David. Everything David did he did with high quality and loyalty. All of this is behind the backdrop of the pressure Saul is putting on David and his men.

1 Samuel 25:15-16 Yet, these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them.

This was a great report on the work David and his men did. From these scriptures, David and his men just assumed that protection of those close by to them was their duty to perform. They did it gladly and with integrity. They didn't have to do it, they just did because they were men of integrity and were good neighbors.

Natural Conflicts:

There are a number of conflicts here in this story. The first is between Nabal and his wife Abigail.

1 Samuel 25:1-3 Then David moved down into the Desert of Maon. A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife's name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings.

The second conflict is going to happen between David and Nabal.

1 Samuel 15:4-6 While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, "Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. Say to him: 'Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

Now if you heard someone approach you and say the same things, what would be the first thing to go through your mind? What are David's intentions? Why is he being so nice? David instructs his men to say the following:

1 Samuel 25:7-9 Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.' "When David's men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David's name. Then they waited.

Why didn't David go to Nabal himself? Nabal was a very rich man and had a lot of influence. Why send ten men to deliver his message? Most scholars believe David didn't want to intimidate Nabal by showing up with all his men and horses. David was an honest man and meant only good things for Nabal. David assumed Nabal would feel the same way and reward them somehow for their faithful work.

David's men give Nabal David's greeting and then wait for their pay.

1 Samuel 25:10-11 Nabal answered David's servants, "Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?"

From what we see from this passage of scripture, what is going on in Nabal's mind? If you were David, how would you feel if you received the message David received from Nabal? Have you ever felt as though you weren't appreciated? What is your natural response to something like this?

The guy we are talking about is David. This is the guy you studied about last week who refused to kill Saul when he had the chance in the cave. Instead of killing him, he cut off a part of his cloak. David wanted to show Saul he had no ill will against the guy who was making his life miserable. David showed tremendous patience to a man who actually hated him. So one would assume the conflict with Nabal would be nothing in comparison to Saul, WRONG.

1 Samuel 25:12-13 David's men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. David said to his men, "Put on your swords!" So they put on their swords, and David put on his. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.

How many men do you think it would take to overrun Nabal and his household? Not 400 men! What do you think David has in mind? (Your killing a roach with a shotgun) What is going on with David here? Why the overkill? What tragic mistake is David about to make? How will things be different if he follows through with his initial intent? Later in scripture we hear David say this:

1 Samuel 25:21-22 David had just said, "It's been useless-all my watching over this fellow's property in the desert so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!"

Abigail finds out about what Nabal said to David's men. The fool did something very foolish and she realized her husband was in grave trouble and because of his foolish reaction, all his household (the innocent) was in danger. She gathers all sorts of food, dressed sheep and grains and road off to meet David. She had no idea if David would even stop for her or would even kill her but she went out to him anyway on behalf of her husband.

1 Samuel 25:23-25 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: "My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name-his name is Fool, and folly goes with him. But as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my master sent.

What is Abigail doing here? How has her quick thinking saved her people and husband? Do you notice the difference between what Abigail says to David compared to what Nabal said to him?

She fell on her face toward David. 6 times she calls herself "your maidservant". 8 times she calls David "my lord". Even though her husband was a fool, she took responsibility upon herself. But most of all, she wants to prevent David from doing something he will regret forever.

There is an important lesson to learn here, often when we are faced with a terrible crisis, we want to curl up in a little ball and hide in the corner and hope cob webs grow on us. But there is another way to handle things; you can go out and put yourself out there under God's mercy. It takes creativity and it takes determination but when we keep a constant eye on God, he will come through for us. That is exactly what happened with Abigail. Not only did she save Nabal, she also saved David. She stood between her husband and death and she kept David from committing a terrible sin.

1 Samuel 25:32-34 David said to Abigail, "Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak."

Is there someone in your life who might have saved you from a terrible mistake? How many times have you thanked your spouse for the times they saved you from terrible mistakes?

Lessons Learned:

Whatever you do when conflicts arise, be wise (Do things the way God would do them). Don't jump into quick conclusions. See both sides and weigh the differences.

Take each conflict as they come…and handle them separately. You might have won the battle yesterday, but that doesn't count when conflicts come today. God doesn't give you patience on credit. Every day is a new day.

Whenever you realize that there is nothing you can do, wait. Wait patiently. When you think you are going in the wrong direction, apply the brakes. Don't keep going. Restrain yourself from anything hasty.

David wrote the following in Psalms 40

Psalm 40:1-2 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.