We’re not always busy; there are times when we will have an off-season. An off-season is a period of time when the least of amount of activity or involvement is required; it’s a time period when there are low points in our schedule; a time when we are the least busy. It is at those times that many of us relax our focus and lessen our stride – even our stride in the Word of God. It’s a potentially dangerous period of time. Christians must never sit back with our hands folded behind our head, taking it easy and coasting in our victory in Christ. We mustn’t be fooled into thinking that because we are not consumed with work, bombarded with ministry issues, and solving dilemmas among people, that we shouldn’t be employed in the renewal process the Bible describes in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. This period of time could be a short gap between the last major calamity and the next one on the horizon. Satan has no such off-season, so the people of God have no off-seasons either. Since the Enemy doesn’t take a break, neither should we take a break from reading, studying, and adhering to the Word of God. Remaining in Him and abiding in His word has eternal benefits.
There is at least two similar characteristic of Christians who continue to study and develop greater intimacy with God, regardless of peak pressures or smooth sailing: they succumb to godly wisdom, and they are able to make decisions that please God during the most difficult circumstances. Abigail must have been one who developed a great intimacy with God during the times when everything was even keel. She couldn’t have interceded for her husband, her family, and her entire household had she not been communing with God during the off-season.
Scripture teaches that Nabal, Abigail’s husband, was a rich man; not rich in the things of God, but rich with material wealth. He was a cruel, harsh, and stubborn man. Unbeknownst to Nabal, David and his men helped Nabal while his shepherds tended sheep in the wilderness. David and his men did not allow any harm to come to Nabal’s shepherds, and they protected his possessions in the wilderness (1 Sam. 25:7, 21). So at shearing time, which was a festive time of indulging in food and entertainment, David sent ten of his men to ask Nabal to provide for their need at his own discretion in gratitude for protecting his possessions. Nabal was adamant that he was not going to give them one morsel of bread; he was quite insulting to David’s men. The men returned and told David of the whole conversation. David, livid at this point, gathered together four hundred men to attack Nabal and his household. One of the servants confided in Abigail and told her all that happened.
Abigail responded with ingrained wisdom. She didn’t fall down and pray, for she must have been a woman of prayer already. She didn’t try to recall a Scripture, for she had been with Him who inspired all Scripture. She gathered her supplies and headed out to meet David. Upon dismounting her horse, she fell to the ground in humility. She called David, “My lord,” though he wasn’t king over Israel yet. It was clear from her speech to David that she was a great woman of faith in God – courageous and intelligent. She reminded David of his future reign as king, and she reminded him that God is the avenger of his enemies. Abigail was able to divert the future king’s anger and convince him that God had met his needs abundantly. David blessed and thanked her. He praised God for sending Abigail to him with the advice she rendered. And so he aborted his plan of attack.
Sometimes there is a short time between the off-season and the on-again-season, and we must be ready. We cannot act upon wisdom we do not possess, and we cannot gain wisdom unless it is given of God (James 1:5). There may not be time to look in the concordance; no time to phone the pastor or text a friend. The Spirit helps us to act quickly pursuant to the wisdom that God gives us when we read and study His Word. Take off physically to rest, but never spiritually. Calamity could be just around corner gathering forces. We need humility and wisdom in all seasons, including the off-season.