The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1a
In 1 Samuel 25 we read the story of Nabal, who despite David’s graciousness was quite dismissive of David and his followers. David, while hiding from Saul, stayed in Nabal’s area but did not harm Nabal’s shepherds or flocks. When David requested assistance Nabal responded churlishly. This incensed David who was prepared to teach Nabal a lesson. Abigail, Nabal’s wife, went out to meet David and interceded for her husband and took along provisions for David and his men. Later, after after Nabal had sobered up from a drunken banquet Abigail told her husband what she had done. The Bible tells us that “his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone.” He died ten days later.
The name Nabal comes from he Hebrew word for foolish. The question arises: who would give their son a name like that? Or was it a nickname he earned? Then again, Jacob means “deceiver”. Names often have more than incidental meanings in the Bible. In Nabal’s case he lived up, or is it, down, to his name despite being a descendant of Caleb.
The text, above, from Psalm 14 is addressed, not to the world out there, but to God’s people. Our words and outward actions may give a semblance of faith. We may even have the right connections and memberships but what is in our heart? At the deepest recesses of our being is there a relationship with God or are we play acting? What motivates our actions and life? What is spoken in our heart?
David was God’s king elect. When Nabal brushed David’s request aside he was not only brushing aside God’s plans and purposes he was also disregarding God.
The story of Nabal and Psalm 14 are clear reminders that we shouldn’t be a Nabal – a fool.