," he said, "who was the wife of a very mean and unspiritual man called Nabal. Now you may remember that Nabal refused to help David and his friends when he was an outlaw fleeing from King Saul in spite of the fact that David had treated Nabal's house well and with consideration, protecting him against bandits. Abigail was of a very different temprement and nature to her surly husband and went out of her way to help David with food and provisions. In spite of her husband's wickedness, she did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh and supplied David with his needs. Ten days later Yahweh struck Nabal dead.
"Now I have often preached to you that when God punishes wicked men He frequently gives their wives to others who are good and honourable. Abigail bore with her wicked and drunken husband as a good wife until he died. And then, in humility before God, said:
"Here is your maidservant, ready to serve you and wash the feet of my master's servants."8
"As soon as she had prayed she "quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five maids, went with David's messengers and became his wife" (v.25), joining David's polygamous household as the sister-wife of Ahinoam of Jezreel (v.26) and the absent Michal.
"Now you may be a little shocked that she married David so soon afterwards. The very clear impression we get from the text is that she married him the same day her husband died. But what you must remember is that this was no "worldly romance" but a direct response to revelation. She knew what was right and she obeyed immediately. And she pospered, later bearing him a son called Kileab.
"Brethren and sisters, patriarchal marriage isn't the same as marriage in the world. As sons and daughters of God, we don't court like the world, but live in the light and will of Yahweh, our Heavenly Father. He knows what is right for us and what is best. Don't you imagine that Abigail had inner struggles? Don't you think she suffered after years of being married to that foul man Nabal? Don't you think she was emotially wounded inside? Of course she was! But what distinguishes noble Abigail from your modern woman is that she walked in the light of Yahweh. When she knew that it was right to marry David she simply placed herself in the hands of God to take care of all her needs - physical, emotional and mental - and He did.
"People have got to get this wordly idea out of their heads that before we are ready to live polygamous marriage that we have got to be completely "healed" inside. I'm not saying that marriage heals problems as you know, for I have always taught you that marriage was not designed by God to be psychotherapeutic. What I most definitely am saying, though, is that if you walk in faith and obedience to Yahweh's commandments, you can be healed whilst you are being married by Him.
"I have always been struck by the nobility of Abigail. She was a very, very special lady. I would consider it an honour to be married to a woman like her. Praise the Lord that such women do exist though they are very, very rare."
Jenny had not read this sermon of Stan's because it was not on his website or the CD-ROM which she had studied so carefully otherwise things might have turned out a little differently. As it was, Stan's proposal sent her into turmoil.
Jenny's problems were many to be sure. Not only was she still carrying all the emotional baggage that Marcel had bequeathed to her, but she was also carrying a lot of spiritual baggage from the Lutheranism she had grown up in and with which she had become too comfortable. In spite of being shown biblical truths by Stan she clung on to her Sunday observance and treated the Sabbath like an ordinary working day. She knew the truth but chose to reject it. And not only the Sabbath question, but many other biblical truths as well.
When Stan received Jenny's reply and refusal, he was stunned. Always cautious in making proposals, he had acted in obedience to a word from Yahweh - one as clear as that received by Abigail to go and marry David. This was the first and only time that anyone had refused Stan and he was deeply shocked. And though he knew and understood many of the reasons for Jenny's refusal, yet he was knocked flat for a few days.
On the first day Stan was utterly stunned and unable to work. He had not realised how much he loved her until that painful "no" had come in the post. Jenny had withdrawn after that letter, making contact or discussion impossible for while. Though in his heart he wished to talk it out with her, his honour forbade him from taking advantage of her whilst she was undoubtedly vulnerable. Indeed, the whole household was stunned too for everyone of us had received the same witness as Stan.
Contact was resumed a few months later but it was as though a slice of cake had been stolen from what they had known and shared before, and the spiritual intimacy that they had shared seemed to have gone. Stan knew only too well the mental and emotional make-up of women and the mechanisms they employed to deal with problems, amongst which was denial. He knew that often they, like men, would simply pretend that a part of their life had never existed if it meant not having to endure the wearniness and pain of spiritual struggle and wilderness wandering. He knew all of these things. And yet he was frustrated because he knew that he was powerless to do anything.
He had a choice to imitate the way of the world and put pressure on her (and so drive her even further away) or to simply accept the situation and leave it in the hands of Yahweh. The first choice was no choice at all. Resigning to the will of Yahweh and fellowshipping with Jenny on the level she was willing to fellowship on was the only choice he really had.
After her refusal, Jenny withdrew back into her old world and things pretty well continued as before. She also found another Patriarch in the polygamy movement with two wives whom she looked up to and was attracted to even though he had told her that he had no intentions of marrying again. She also had Fritz, her friends and her former habits to shelter and cocoon her. Stan, shocked at how vulnerable he had been, also picked up the pieces and continued. But he was never the same after that. It was as though something had died in him, or was at least deeply wounded. And it was then that I began to see something of the burden that a polygamous husband must carry. I hadn't expected it. Moreover, this wounding became our wounding too. I had never realised just how much it hurts when you want to love in a special way and it is turned down, nor how much our Lord suffers when we reject His love towards us.
For a while, Jenny disappeared out of our lives, save for the occasional email, and life continued onwards.