David was living and hiding out in Carmel with his men, on the run to avoid being killed by King Saul. David found out that Nabal, a very wealthy man from Maon, kept 3000 sheep and 1000 goats in Carmel, and Nabal’s men were there shearing the sheep. While there, David and his men offered protection to Nabal’s men and sheep, and kept them safe from thieves, bandits and predators.
Because David had been on the run, and they were running short on provisions, he sends ten men to speak to Nabal about the safety he and his flocks were provided while in Carmel, and to ask for provisions in return for the protection David and his men provided. Nabal, a rude and evil man, refuses the request and refuses to even acknowledge the existence of David and his men.
David, in response, is angered and prepares his 400 men to travel to the home of Nabal and destroy his entire household. One of Nabal’s servants tells Abigail, Nabal’s wife, about what happened and how good David’s men were to them while in Carmel. Abigail, being a very wise and discerning woman, recognizes what happened and immediately prepares provisions and takes them to meet David.
She meets David, bows before him and explains that her husband, Nabal is a cruel and worthless man. She asks David’s forgiveness for the trespass and asks that David accept the gift that she brought in return, asking that the folly be upon her head.
This story is brief and comprised of a single chapter in 1 Samuel 25. However, this is one of the most profound stories in the scriptures, as it is a story that is symbolic or a “type and shadow” of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Some important points should be noted for more clear understanding of how Abigail symbolically teaches us about what the atonement of Christ really means to those on both sides of sin.
- Nabal’s selfish response created significant hardship and burden for David and his men. Essentially, Nabal’s sin injures David and his men, just as rude or selfish actions usually have a victim who sustains injury from the sinner.
- In a clearly understandable way, Abigail’s actions save Nabal and her entire household from destruction.
- What we frequently don’t recognize is that Abigail saves David and this is the more important lesson of the story. Although we recognize that David is justified in redressing his wrong with Nabal, David’s anger and vow to annihilate the entire household of Nabal violates the second of the two great commandments. David in his anger sins against the commandment to love his fellow man. We commit sin when our hearts are sinful. The two great commandments are love God and love your fellow man. If we fail to love, then nothing can save us.
- We are told that David’s heart filled with anger, rage and envy once he had been wronged. What we fail to see about this story is that it is a story of David responding sinfully to the sin of another.
- The atonement has been provided for the sinner, however, this story teaches us that the atonement was also provided for the victim of sin. The effects of sin and wrongdoing often invite those injured to become sinful themselves. The atonement of the Savior provides escape for others from the effect that sin can have on them.
- Abigail falls before David and asks that Nabal’s sin be placed on her head, “I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid.” Even though she was innocent of any wrong doing. This is in similitude of what Christ does for us. Christ was innocent of any wrongdoing, yet took our sins upon himself that we might be clean. However, this story is not about Nabal’s repentance. And, this is where we often miss the point, it is about David. Nabal’s sin had caused David to sin with rage and anger and the desire to slaughter an entire family and household.
- In asking that David to forgive the trespass, she requests that he accept her offer of supplies to turn away offence or the needless shedding of blood that David’s sin would lead to. She only asks that he accept the gift and remember her when the Lord has blessed David in the future.
The greatness of this story is that Abigail demonstrates a profound and life altering principle. The Lord offers to those who have been harmed by others the sustenance they need to be made whole even after they have been injured due to the initial transgression. Abigail, who is innocent of wrongdoing, takes the sin of Nabal upon her head and provides for David and his men the deficiency of supplies caused by Nabal’s sin.
The Lord stands before us and will provide the help we need after we have been wronged, but there is a condition that must be met before we can recognize the Lord’s hand in all of this:
- Abigail (like Christ) took the sin upon her own head. “Upon me let this iniquity be.” We must be willing to forgive the debt as taken by Abigail (or the Savior). “Forgive the trespass of thine handmaid.” Yet, Abigail had done nothing wrong herself. However, she was not asking for forgiveness for Nabal. She took the sin upon her own head and asked for forgiveness as if it were her own. (The Savior, Jesus Christ does the same).
- The Savior, Jesus Christ, was sinless. He takes upon himself the sin of others and then comes before us, metaphorically on His knees, pleading for forgiveness from us. The sinless man takes upon Himself all the sins of the world, and then, after providing the sustenance we need to make us whole, He asks the one who was sinned against for forgiveness. This follows the verse, “I the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”
- We can begin to forgive those who have wronged us through love. If we refuse to accept the request of the Savior, we are in essence saying, “Your atonement was good enough for everyone else, but it isn’t good enough to heal me and make me whole.”
David immediately recognized the hand of the Lord in this, but did his men? Were they ready to accept and acknowledge what was happening as well.
I found myself looking at this story as if I were one of David’s men on the road to Carmel. Was I also willing to accept the gift of Abigail? Did I seen the similitude of Abigail’s offering as that of the Savior, Jesus Christ?
I have found, over time, that happiness in life seems to be the greatest when I strive for balance in the three basic aspects of life: Mind, Body & Spirit. Yes, I am a physician, and I spend the majority of my day applying advise and treatment plans that have been demonstrated to be effective through the tried and true scientific method. However, I know from personal experience, and from working closely with patients for over 15 years, that science alone, does not bring fullness and happiness to life. Truth and learning can be found through study and also by faith. Finding balance and peace physically is important, but finding that balance emotionally and spiritually are often essential. Being able to follow a Ketogenic Lifestyle effectively over the long term (longer than 6 months) actually requires understanding of some basic principles. This is the first in a series of articles regarding The Principle Based Ketogenic Lifestyle.
I treat patients with obesity, one of the most difficult diseases to address in the medical office. I find that just applying diet alone doesn’t always solve the problem. If the patient’s life is out of balance emotionally or spiritually, the stress this causes often halts effective weight loss and metabolic healing. You may disagree with me on political or religious issues, but healing is not about politics nor is it about religious doctrine – it is about understanding where we are, the path forward, and our potential to get there. The mind, body and spirit are deeply interconnected. Often, until we recognize and treat those connections, true healing cannot occur.
The first step in treating any illness, including weight, is recognition of the problem. The Medical Community has recognized Obesity as a disease, but obesity is also a symptom of underlying physical metabolic dysfunction that may be tied to the mind and spirit. Daily journaling is the tool that lets one see if the dysfunction is tied to mind or spirit. I ask my patients to keep a daily food journal. This is very important in looking at the patterns of macro-nutrient intake. But the more powerful effect of journaling allows one to see how food is tied to emotion – mentally and spiritually.
Simply writing down what you eat each day, when you eat it, and how you felt after you at it is actually quite profound. The patterns that emerge are usually seen and identified by the patient long before I ever see them. In fact, patient’s often bring those patterns up before ever showing me their food journals.
I’ve found, in keeping a food journal myself, that combining my journaling with other other daily goals, uplifting thoughts and reminders was even more helpful and powerful. This can be done on paper, a notebook, a planner or even on the computer. (I have a few patients who are accountants or engineers – they bring in complex spread sheets). What is important is daily consistency. It takes about 3-4 weeks of journaling to begin to see patterns.
I have taken the advise of one of the leaders of my church to “ponderize” a scripture, meaningful poetic verse or truth filled quote each week as part of the journaling process. He defined “ponderizing” as the act of pondering and memorizing a scripture or a favorite uplifting poem or verse each week. This is done by writing the verse on a written card or note in a place that you will see it frequently each day during the week. When you see it, read it and ponder it. Just the process of frequently reading it will lead to memorization each week. I have found that reading and pondering a verse 3-4 times a day for a week, lends itself to easy memorization. Each time you read the verse, think about it and ponder it for a moment, then go on with your day. This will give you a brief opportunity to elevate your thoughts each day, and will give you a place your mind can go and think when you don’t have to think. It gives your subconscious mind the ability to solve complex patterns at a higher level.
Said David O. McKay, “Tell me what you think about when you don’t have to think, and I’ll tell you what you are.” “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he . . . ” (Proverbs 23:7).
For some reason, with all the cares of the day, work, family and the challenges of life, I have fallen out of this habit for some time. When this leader mentioned this process in his comments, I was reminded of the peace and balance I used to feel each week when doing this simple activity. I have recommitted myself to restart this activity and I invite you to do the same. This time to ponder opens your mind and allows you access the deeper worries and fears holding you from what you what to accomplish. It takes great courage to make permanent lifestyle and dietary changes. When someone can’t clearly see what lies ahead, it fills them with fear, doubt or both. But journaling, even in its simplest form, gives a person the ability to resist and then master the patterns that have kept them from change. As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
Courage is tested when we purse difficult goals, fight against disease with unknown outcomes, or work to regain health. The testing can be painful. Journaling, and ponderizing in the process, gives courage to take small steps, one day at a time. Admitting to, journaling when we fail or make mistakes, fear of failure or feeling unsure actually increases our courage. Being given a week to ponderize an uplifting scripture or verse enhances that courage . Journaling successes and failures empowers us individually. The psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote:
“There appears to be a conscience in mankind which severely punishes the man who does not somehow and at some time, at whatever cost to his pride, cease to defend and assert himself, and instead confess himself fallible and human. Until he can do this, an impenetrable wall shuts him out from the living experience of felling himself a man among men. Here we find a key to the great significance of true unstereotyped confession – a significance known in all the initiation and mystery cults of the ancient world, as is shown by a saying from the Greek mysteries: ‘Give up what thou hast, and thou will receive.'”
Journaling and ponderizing allows one a form of confession and renewal. It gives one courage that you have survived today’s challenges and seen the pattern of fallibility in them. It is actually energizing. And, the path to healing begins to become clear.
Feel free to ask me about the verse that I am ponderizing each week. I will happily tell you which verse I am pondering and memorizing; but, I will in tern, ask you which verse you are ponderizing.
This week, the verse I am ponderizing is Genesis 35:2-3:
“Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Beth-el; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.”
Did you begin your food journal? And, what verse are you going to ponderize this week?
“We’re going to a place where daylight savings doesn’t exist . . . We’re going to Arizona . . .!”