Day 220 – August 8
14 One of Nabal’s servants told his wife Abigail, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he just yelled at them. 15 But the men were very good to us and didn’t mistreat us. Nothing of ours went missing the whole time we were out with them in the fields. 16 In fact, the whole time we were with them, watching our sheep, they were a protective wall around us both night and day. 17 Think about that and see what you can do, because trouble is coming for our master and his whole household. But he’s such a despicable person no one can speak to him.”
18 Abigail quickly took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep ready for cooking, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes. She loaded all this on donkeys 19 and told her servants, “Go on ahead of me. I’ll be right behind you.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal.
20 As she was riding her donkey, going down a trail on the hillside, David and his soldiers appeared, descending toward her, and she met up with them. 21 David had just been saying, “What a waste of time—guarding all this man’s stuff in the wilderness so that nothing of his went missing! He has repaid me evil instead of good! 22 May God deal harshly with me, David,[e] and worse still if I leave alive even one single male[f] belonging to him come morning!”
23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and fell facedown before him, bowing low to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “Put the blame on me, my master! But please let me, your servant, speak to you directly. Please listen to what your servant has to say. 25 Please, my master, pay no attention to this despicable man Nabal. He’s exactly what his name says he is! His name means fool, and he is foolish! But I myself, your servant, didn’t see the young men that you, my master, sent. 26 I pledge, my master, as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, that the LORD has held you back from bloodshed and taking vengeance into your own hands! But now let your enemies and those who seek to harm my master be exactly like Nabal! 27 Here is a gift, which your servant has brought to my master. Please let it be given to the young men who follow you, my master. 28 Please forgive any offense by your servant. The LORD will definitely make an enduring dynasty for my master because my master fights the LORD’s battles, and nothing evil will be found in you throughout your lifetime. 29 If someone chases after you and tries to kill you, my master, then your life will be bound up securely in the bundle of life by the LORD your God, but he will fling away your enemies’ lives as from the pouch of a sling. 30 When the LORD has done for my master all the good things he has promised you, and has installed you as Israel’s leader, 31 don’t let this be a blot or burden on my master’s conscience, that you shed blood needlessly or that my master took vengeance into his own hands. When the LORD has done good things for my master, please remember your servant.”
Comment: I love this woman! Would anyone ever want her to be silent in “church”? God calls all sorts of prophets. What a perfect argument: “don’t let this be a blot or burden on your conscience, that you shed innocent blood through vengeance.” David will remember her indeed!
The Gospel of Luke 1:1-17
Dear Theophilus: Many people have done their best to write a report of the things that have taken place among us. 2 They wrote what we have been told by those who saw these things from the beginning and who proclaimed the message. 3 And so, Your Excellency, because I have carefully studied all these matters from their beginning, I thought it would be good to write an orderly account for you. 4 I do this so that you will know the full truth about everything which you have been taught.
5 During the time when Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife’s name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family. 6 They both lived good lives in God’s sight and obeyed fully all the Lord’s laws and commands. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old.
8 One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service. 9 According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord, 10 while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burned. 11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar where the incense was burned. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid. 13 But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John. 14 How glad and happy you will be, and how happy many others will be when he is born! 15 John will be great in the Lord’s sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, 16 and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will go ahead of the Lord, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; he will turn disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord’s people ready for him.”
Comment: having read the story of the church emerging, and Paul’s letter to a particular church, read the Gospel of Luke with Acts and Corinthians in mind.
1 Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
6 The LORD sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.
Prayer: may we see your hand at work in our midst, dear Lord. Amen.