GIVE RESPECT to GET RESPECT: So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, "Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person." (1 Sam 25:35)
As an outcast, David struggled for his daily existence out in the wilderness. During this period, he requested for help from a very rich man called Nabal whom he had helped in the past by protecting his sheep day and night. However, Nabal was a scoundrel and a fool (1 Sam 25:17b, 25) as well as harsh and evil in his doings (v. 3b). Due to his evil nature he refused to even recognize David and help him (v. 10-11). "To do evil is like sport to a fool" (Prov 10:23). When Nabal refused to provide provisions for David, matters turned from bad to worse. David took 400 men to destroy all the males in the household of Nabal (v. 12-13). "The mouth of the foolish is near destruction" (Prov 10:14).
In contrast, Nabal had a beautiful wife called Abigail who was a woman of understanding and wisdom. When Abigail came to know about how Nabal had responded to David’s request, she took immediate action. She gathered food for David and his men (v. 18) and through that act atoned for Nabal's denial of David's request. Her behavior was very submissive. Yielding pacifies great offences. She put herself in the place of a penitent, and of a petitioner. She could not excuse her husband's conduct. She depended not upon her own reasoning, but on God's grace, to soften David, so that grace would work powerfully. She told David that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and despicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him no kindness, so he could do him no hurt. She also foretold the glorious end of David's present troubles and requested him to remember her when he was exalted in due time (v. 23-31).
When Abigail gave respect to David by falling on her face at his feet bowing to the ground (v. 23), David accepted her apologies and in turn respected her as a person (v. 35b). We need to understand this universal truth: "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility." (Prov 15:33) "A man (or woman) will be commended according to his (or her) wisdom, but he (or she) who is of a perverse heart will be despised." (Prov 12:8). In ten days time, the Lord struck Nabal and he died for his wickedness (v. 38). "The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom" (Prov 10:21).
As it says in Prov 3:35 "The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools", Abigail became David’s wife shortly and a queen of Israel in due time. All this happened because she was willing to give respect to David and not be proud like her husband Nabal. 'All of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time' (1 Peter 5:5-6). Let us give respect to others to get respect as well.