“An ideal Christian home ought to be a place where love rules. It ought to be beautiful, bright, joyous, full of tenderness and affection, a place in which all are growing happier and holier each day” (J.R. Miller). Some have called the Christian home a “taste of heaven on earth”. Yet, how quickly a peaceful home can descend into chaos. How quickly it can give way to contention, uncontrolled anger, hurtful words, and destructive actions.
In our Bible reading today, we see many examples of destructive and sinful behavior that arise from the heart and impact others. In Proverbs 21:9, we read: “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” If the reality of this situation wasn’t so common, this verse would come across as humorous. The “corner of a housetop” is not a pleasant place to live. Sadly, many would prefer the uncomfortable corner of the house over constant conflict with a “brawling” (contentious) person. A home should not be a place where people are hiding away in order to avoid conflict. Rather, a home should be a place where a family delights in gathering together.
In Psalm 52, David is praying about a wicked man named Doeg who did him much evil. Doeg used his words to bring an evil report against David. David mentions the destructiveness of his words: “Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness” (vv. 2-3). Doeg used his words to destroy. They were like a “sharp razor” that quickly cut down others through deceit. And how easy it is for our words to push us away from those we love the most! How easy it is to use our words to destroy through deceit rather than build up in truth.
In 1 Samuel 25, we are introduced to Nabal who is described as “churlish and evil in his doings” (v. 3). Nabal was a very brash and self-centered man who was dishonest in his dealings with others. He would not listen to anyone or consider the needs of others. Nabal’s name means “fool” and he lived up to it. How easy it is to be consumed with self rather than the needs of others. “I-itis” (selfishness) has been the downfall of many relationships in the home.
There is one character that stands in contrast to all others in our reading- Abigail. Abigail was the wife of Nabal and the Bible says that she was a woman of “good understanding” (v. 3). Abigail outshone both David and Nabal in 1 Samuel 25 as she displayed great wisdom and discernment which appeased the anger of David and opposed the foolishness of Nabal!
When our homes are guided by the wisdom seen in God’s Word and displayed in the life of Abigail, we can experience a little bit of “heaven on earth”