Old Testament Characters and Their Strengths: Abigail
If you’re facing conflict, you want a person like Abigail on your side to help mediate.
She was a classic “Listen and Be Patient” woman. Caught between the actions of her foolish husband and the hurt of a magnetic leader during a period of rapid change in Israel, Abigail was able to demonstrate steady calm and diffuse a potentially explosive state of affairs.
What Abigail Did
With Samuel’s death, Saul was poised to become king. Yet David had been anointed to lead Israel. Conflict would ensue. As David and his army hid in the desert to plan their next move, they appealed to a wealthy man named Nabal for food.
When Nabal’s wife Abigail heard that her husband had rebuffed David, she responded deliberately and thoughtfully. She personally delivered a large gift of food to David’s men. Her calm, steady approach assuaged David and averted bloodshed.
Two Approaches to Managing Change: Dynamic and Predictable
When it comes to managing change, a person’s natural approach lines up on one side or another: Dynamic or Predictable. Both are strengths.
While Dynamics manage change with excitement and energy, Predictables are systematic and methodical. Their patient, accommodating ways mark them as diplomats.
Abigail represents the approach Predictables take when managing change. Predictables are tolerant and easy-going, always listening to the other side to seek a steady way to navigate circumstances.
Managing Change: How God Used Abigail
Nabal had broken a cardinal rule of Middle Eastern culture: he had refused hospitality to travelers. Further, David’s men had protected Nabal’s considerable interests without compensation. Nabal added insult to injury with an actual insult: “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?” (1 Samuel 25:10-11, ESV)
David was ready to exact revenge, yet Abigail intervened calmly. She pointed out her husband’s folly and asked forgiveness on his behalf, pointing out to David the legacy he could leave as a leader. In the midst of volatility, Abigail’s ability to navigate change in an accommodating way made her the ultimate diplomat.
Which is why you want someone like her on your team – both then and now.