“[Abigail] fell at his feet and said: ‘Please pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal… The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles… Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God… When the Lord… has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself.’
“David said to Abigail, ‘Praise be to the Lord who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.’” 1 Samuel 25:24-25,28-33
God called David through the prophet Samuel, but he had already developed in David a mind that sought to know Him, and a heart inclined to worship and to listen. In mercy, when David encountered challenges that instigated high emotion, the Lord continued to send people with specific messages to guide him. David’s ongoing communion was the backdrop and foundation for his recognizing true, proper, wise counsel. (1 Samuel 16:1-13; 25:1-22; 2 Samuel 12:5-13; Psalm 8:1-4)
It is often and usual that the Lord speaks directly to us through his Word and by His Spirit. But He also speaks to us through others with whom we engage, and it is important that we listen well and be discerning. When we seek His wisdom, while fearing and trusting Him rightly, He gives us spiritual insight to know His voice wherever it originates.
One key to discernment is an intimate knowledge of God himself. The Bible reveals God’s character, how He deals with man, His high plan and how He incorporates His people in accomplishing it. How committed are we to know Him, how familiar with His word through regular reading, study, meditation, and application so we can trace His hand in our everyday?
Another key is not thinking of ourselves too highly, but approaching each day humbly, soberly, and surrendered. We might think we know better than He, or must inform and instruct Him as we ask His blessing on our plans, but only God is omniscient, and His will good and perfect. (Romans 12:1-3)
When we ask, God is faithful to answer and help and guide. Sometimes His silence is an important message for us to wait. When we do not know which way to go, we can trust what we know of Him, seek godly counsel, and wait for His word. (Psalm 32:8)
How are we cultivating relationships with trusted advisors or friends who will speak truth to us? How keenly are we developing discernment from regular reading of Scripture to know what comes from the mind of Christ and what is of man? (Matthew 22:29; Ephesians 4:15)
And for whom are we a trustworthy confidant and counselor? What are we doing to equip ourselves to speak truth, even if it stings? How clean, prayerful, and careful are we before confronting someone? (Matthew 7:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15,19,23-24)
Father, teach me Your word so I recognize and welcome its truth, and readily share it for the good of others.