Devotional: Managing Change Then and Now – Abigail’s Steady Diplomacy

Old Testament Characters and Their Strengths: Abigail

If you’re facing conflict, you want a person like Abigail on your side to help mediate.


Image: Native Foreigner Magazine

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.

Growth Point

God uses Predictables for steadiness during change.


David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!” (1 Samuel 25:32, ESV)

Prayer Points

  • Name a Predictable you know. What strengths does that person offer when a team faces a challenge?
  • Consider a Predictable and a Dynamic that work together. Why might God have put them on the same team or in the same family?
  • What have you learned from observing Abigail’s strengths?

Old Testament Characters and Their Strengths

Solving Problems Then and Now: Nehemiah Gets It Done

Processing Information Then and Now: Moses Gets the Facts

Facing Risk Then and Now: Joshua Goes Off Grid

Strengths In the Christmas Story

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 1: Solving Problems Together

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 2: Two Ways to Process Information

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 3: Two Ways to Manage Change

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 4: Two Ways to Face Risk

Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths

Part 1: Managing Change – Let’s Go or Let’s Make a Plan

Part 2: Processing Information: That’s Wonderful or Give Me Proof

Part 3: Problem Solving: Fix It Now or One Step at a Time?

Part 4: Facing Risk: Outside the Box or Work the System