32 And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!33 Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation with my own hand! – 1 Samuel 25:32-33
There are few things in this world that can turn perfectly normal people into crazy in the blink of an eye. Working in the school system I know this happens often as parents strive to do their best for their kids. In the weightlifting world this can happen when judging calls don't go an athlete's way. With football season around the corner, it won't be long before we see perfectly normal people lose their minds over a game with an oblong leather object. It's one thing to be excited about the sport it's completely different to lose your mind. I'm often amazed at how easily sports can make normal people lose all discretion and allow their emotions and passions to cause them to do things and say things they would never otherwise do or say.
The same type of reaction was narrowly avoided by King David in 1 Samuel 25. For context purposes, David is on the run from Saul and his loyal but small army are in hiding from Saul who wants to take David's life. They find themselves in the wilderness of Paran. While there, they go out of their way to protect a man's herd of sheep and protect his shepherds. This man's name is Nabal. And while David was protecting his sheep and shepherds, he sent 10 of his men to Nabal asking for food, water, and meat. Nabal, presuming them to be frauds, insults them and turns them away. This message got back to David. David, who must of had a bit of a temper problem, had his army strap their swords to their side and prepare to kill every man in the city where Nabal lives. However, Abigail who is Nabal's wife, brings an elaborate gift to David. She explains that Nabal is not a wise man and bags him to consider the course of action is about to take. She begs David to use wisdom and not be found guilty for the blood that he was about to shed. David, in reaction to Abigail's wise advice, says “Blessed be your discretion.” I think this phrase sums up much of what we must learn from David's overreaction. Discretion, especially in times of high emotion, is something to be garnered.
David, because of Abigail's pleas, showed a great deal of discretion and did not attack Nabal. He did not shed the blood of hundreds of innocent men. The discretion that God reminded him of through Abigail saved him from this bloodguilt. I think when we consider our emotional reaction to sporting events, discretion is something we should consider. Competition is good and competition often can be sanctifying but competition is not ultimate. We can get so wrapped up in our favorite player, favorite team, or our own competition that often the emotions and the investment in those sporting events can cause us to act out of character. Just as David was acting on strong emotion and not using discretion, we often can make poor decisions without discretion. Abigail's warning should also be a warning to us. There's a far greater force in this world than our own accomplishments or the accomplishments of our team. That force is the God who created competition and created sports. He gets glory and honor when we use discretion in our own competition or when we rightly support the teams we love. Remembering that sports and athletics and competition all have a proper place and using discretion in our emotional response to them is critical to Christians making much of God in the midst of athletics.
David narrowly missed making a mistake in his quick-tempered reaction to Nabal. I pray that as football season begins and we continue in our own competitive lives we would learn the same lesson from David. I pray that discretion would be a word we use regarding our own emotional responses regardless of the situation.