Analyzing Anger (1Samuel 25)



–        This weekend I officiated the wedding of my cousin…

o   Someone said in marriage there are 3 rings: engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.

o   Today’s passage will examine a marriage of misery and how anger can destroy not only our relationships but our own character.

o   Principles for analyzing our anger…


EXAMINE                       1Samuel 25               Analyzing Anger

1Samuel 25:1 Anger arises from all sorts of circumstances.

David is the focus of this chapter and the author writes to show David’s faults yet teachability. So far, David is viewed to be a man of godliness and great strength in defeating his enemies. However, since David has been fleeing from Saul’s evil and violent pursuit, his character flaws are being revealed. Specifically, David’s flaw was his impatience resulting in anger.

Where does David’s anger arise?

–      David’s history

o   Youngest son and often overlooked

o   Sheep tending while brothers were in army

–      David’s present

o   Saul violent toward David

o   Lost friend Jonathan (no FB or cell phones… no proximity meant gone)

o   Samuel died (1Sam 25:1) representing Israel’s present calamity & future uncertainty

o   David roaming the wilderness (1Sam 25:1); lost Michal (25:44)

–      David’s future

o   When will God act to so he doesn’t worry for his life against evil Saul

o    When will he become king

–      David’s sin…

o   David was a man of integrity but at times we also see instances of his impatience. David wanted Goliath gone, he wanted Saul to stop his sinful jealous pursuit, he was curious about his kingship for how God would bring it about. Therefore, David’s impatience was boiling to a point of overflow with Nabal going to receive the aim of his anger.

o   Likewise, our impatience for God to meet our expectations or even demands often result in sinful anger and actions. Too often we worry about how speedily we grow while God is more concerned with how strong we are growing. God uses all sorts of circumstances to shape our character into the man/woman God created and calls us to become.

è Commit to seeing your life circumstances from God’s perspective. Ask, what does God want me to learn and how does God want me to respond in this very situation?

o   Psalm 86:11 “teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”

1Samuel 25:2-13 Anger is instigated from other’s foolishness, but you still must accept responsibility.

–      V.2) Nabal was a wealthy but rude man with a beautiful & brainy (discerning) woman; “she was lovely within and without”[1]; life is unfair!
–      V. 2) Nabal was harsh (hard to get along with) and badly behaved: greedy, demanding, depraved
–      V.8) Anger has expectations… David protected Nabal’s property with expectation for return generosity in future. He sought peace (v.6) but received contempt (v.10-11). See vv.21-22 “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good.”). Nabal was in the clear wrong for not paying favor to one who was fulfilling a service (Lev 19:13; Deut 24:15); yet David should not have sought revenge (Lev 19:18).

à Expectations have the power to clarify, confuse, or crush any relationship or organization. We must talk about problems when they’re not problems and communicate your expectations as early as possible to aid in cultivating trust in our relationships.
è When we serve to be served we invite conflict and diverge from Christ’s character. When we serve with in our hands a clock counting the minutes or a ruler measuring our actions then we are doing so with the wrong motivation (cf. Mark 10:45).

–      V. 13) Anger turns you into a fool and causes you to act in ways you least expected; it’s a momentary madness & fleeting foolishness… Nabal was a nobody yet David was ready to kill Nabal and all his servants (of whom were innocent). David sent 400 men to take out Nabal; gives definition to the word “overkill”. In all, David was lacking self-control.

Provers 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

David was learning how to be a man and a king, which takes time and multiple circumstances of challenge and

conflict. Therefore, when such circumstances enter our lives we should learn to view them as God’s care and grace to continue teaching and preparing us for future works and positions He has for us.

è What are the challenges and conflicts in your life that God is using to teach and prepare you? Are you trying to escape them or embrace them? 

Proverbs 29:22 “A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.”

David’s intended actions would have likely spiraled into consequences he would never have been able to overcome. Sin always oversteps its welcome into our lives. As possible, we must learn to not only avoid sin but be attentive to areas where we are tempted to sin.

è You may be aware of your strengths, but are you aware of your weaknesses or where you are tempted to sin? If you cannot self-evaluate this, do a 360 inventory with those who know you (spouse, children, co-workers, classmates, friends, neighbors). Further questions to identify weakness/temptations: fear, shame, guilt – where do these show up in your life?


1Samuel 25:14-38 Anger is alleviated through humble & wise confrontation

–      V. 14-17) Abigail’s servant wisely seeks to avert trouble by telling her and not Nabal (wonder how many times this happened?)
o   V.18-20) Abigail listens and discerns how to respond. She responds with a gift offering (v.18, 27).

  • While David has sword in hand and kicking up dust to pursue Nabal, he is stopped in his tracks by a beautiful woman with food in her hands.
  • Propitiation… hints of sacrificial offering making atonement
  • Overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21)
  • Value of food & hospitality to overcome challenges and conflict.
  • Wives, if man is moody then: feed him, rest him, romance him.

–      V.20-31) Abigail confronts David humbly

o  When Abigail meets David, she humbled herself at his feet.  She refers to herself as David’s “servant/handmaid” six times and calls him “my lord” fourteen times.
o   She admits that David and his men have suffered wrong at the hand of Nabal.  She admits that her husband is a wicked man and a fool. She knows her man, for good or bad.

o   Assumes responsibility and takes initiative (v. 24)

o   Asks to clarify and correct Nabal’s errors (v.24-25).

o   Appeals to David’s legacy & character. She tells David that God sent her to stop him from murdering a man in anger, v. 26.  She tells David that if he kills Nabal in anger it will hang over his legacy like a dark cloud.  If he does what his anger is telling him to do, he will regret it forever. She appeals to the spiritual side of David (v.31)!

o   Asks for forgiveness (v.28).

  • How many times in conflict do people not apologize? Whom do you need to seek/give forgiveness?

o   Trusts in the Lord’s reckoning (v.28-30)

  • Why was David trusting of God’s reckoning with Saul but not Nabal?
    We are often undone by the little things, as also when/where our character is revealed. ex. Olympics: runners dropping a baton, Phelps relay with torn cap,      ex. Muhamad Ali “it isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, but the pebble in shoe”      ex. When white dress shirt is turned pink, when toilet seat is up but you need down, when appt runs 10 min late, stuck in traffic, etc…


–      (Vv. 36-38) Abigail waited for appropriate opportunity to confront Nabal, not when he was drunk, but waited until next day sober. Abigail shows wisdom for not just the “what” but the “when” & “how”, too many conflicts go unresolved because of little care to the latter. abigail with david_spiritual growth

è In Abigail with David, we learn that we need each other. I need the church and the church needs me. Spiritual growth is not just added knowledge but depth of community; it’s facts, truth and application with accountability. God uses others – the church – to sanctify your character and sharpen your life.

The result of humble confrontation is

–        David listening (V.32-35)

–        David loving. Following Nabal’s death, David asks Abigail to wed.

o   *David’s request to wed Abigail is not contemporary romantic as he sends servants but would have been cultural tradition.



Abigail is patient yet prompt, generous with gifts, wise in words.

Abigail is like the Holy Spirit compassionate, confronting, convicting, coaching

Are you confrontable? – Also Parents must cultivate confrontability in their children.

Proverbs 15:31 “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.”

Proverbs 17:10 “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.”


Are you confronting your brothers & sisters for Christ-like character? Be sure your Christ-like!

Abigail is like Christ – mediating for guilty (25:17, 25), willing sacrifice (25:18), atoning and taking blame (25:24), peacemaking (25:26-28), silent in midst of fools (25:36), speaks wisely (25:29), declares kingdom & prophecies David’s future (25:30-31), servant to wash feet (25:41), rose from “death” after Nabal unto David (25:42).

–Can you adore Abigail as Christ?

[1] Charles Swindoll, David.

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