For eleven years (1979-1990) the United Kingdom was served by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her illustrious career made her one of the most recognizable politicians in modern history. She was nicknamed the “Iron Lady” by a Soviet journalist. (“Margaret Thatcher.” Wikipedia) This name became a reflection of her uncompromising politics and leadership style. In the book of 1 Samuel 25, we are introduced to Abigail, an “Iron Lady” of sorts. The Biblical record portrays Abigail as a strong and intelligent woman with significant leadership abilities; The Bible says, “she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance” (1 Samuel 25:3). However, the character trait that largely portrays this “Iron Lady” persona is undoubtedly her uncompromising personality. Consider what the Bible says about Abigail’s husband, Nabal. He was a harsh, stubborn, stiff-necked, difficult, violent and evil man (1 Samuel 25:3). He was a disrespectful and selfish man who verbally insulted David and his servants (1 Samuel 25:10-11,14). Those who worked for him looked upon him as a “son of Belial” (1 Samuel 25:17) which is to say he was worthless, good for nothing, unprofitable or a base fellow. (Brown, Driver & Briggs Hebrew Definitions) His own wife proclaimed that he was a fool (1 Samuel 25:25).
This was the man with whom Abigail had to spend her days. No doubt Abigail bore the brunt of his terrible personality. Yet, the character traits of Abigail stand in stark polarity to that of her foolish husband. Unlike her husband, she was a person one could approach without fear of being verbally assaulted (cf. 1Samuel 25:14). She was also selfless, kind and humble. Abigail maintained her godly persona even in the presence of a corrupt person. This, in my estimation, earns her the title of Iron Lady. In the New Testament, the Lord told wives to continue to act righteously towards their unbelieving husbands in hopes that they might be saved (1 Peter 3:1-2). This principle is certainly not limited to the marriage relationship. Peter exhorted us with the following words: Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12.
This life is filled with people like Nabal whose destructive personalities are repugnant, to say the least. Let us, by our attitude and actions show mankind a better way. Abigail teaches us some valuable lessons to that end. We do not have to conform ourselves to this world even though we are living in it (cf. Romans 12:1-2). Furthermore, our goodness is a light to those who are around us (1 Samuel 25:22-23 & Matthew 5:13-16). It may be the case that sinfulness resides in your home in the form of a spouse, parent, child or relative. You may be surrounded by it at work or in a social circle. You may be struggling to maintain a good Christian character while being bombarded by the actions of ungodly individuals. Do not allow yourself to be negatively influenced by them. Like Abigail, stand your ground and do not relinquish your good character. Remember, it was Abigail’s good character that saved the lives of her servants, herself, and even her husband. Your godly nature can do the same for you and those around you. I do not for one second believe Abigail relished the ugly persona of her husband or considered his attitude a pleasure to endure. Yet, she did not compromise who she was because of it. If you are facing similar difficulties in your life I hope and pray that the Lord strengthens you, that your friends encourage you and that this read helped you. Above all may you be worthy of the title “Iron Servant” of the Lord.