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Avoiding Foolishness

Humans need to find grace in our folly.
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Beautifully, Tragically, Fully Human". See series.


In the early 1980s a very wealthy Swiss couple started acting like mutual fools. It all began when the husband cancelled a vacation. The wife expressed her disappointment by pouring bicarbonate soda into her husband's fish tank, wiping out his collection of rare tropical fish. A long argument ensued. He grabbed a selection of his wife's diamond jewelry and threw it in the garbage disposal. She proceeded to fling his stereo equipment into their pool. He kicked a hole in her $250,000 Picasso. She was planning to sink his 38 foot yacht when their daughter finally called the police. The police said they couldn't do anything; it isn't illegal to destroy your own property. Finally, the family lawyer intervened and established a truce. It was the case of two fools in a downward spiral of hardheartedness, arrogance, and destruction.

This is not unlike a story from the Bible—the story of David and Nabal. Written nearly 3,000 years ago, this story is as relevant as today's newspaper. It's the story of two men who are acting like fools, filled with arrogance, bent on destruction, ready to descend into a spiral of bloodshed and vengeance. The main character in this story, a man named David, has been chosen by God to the next king of Israel. He is a man with a royal calling and a passionate heart. But in this story he's on the verge of losing it—losing his integrity, losing sight of his calling, and losing his heart to sin and violence. David is in danger of forgetting who he is and forgetting who God is. He wants to take matters into his own hands and ends up acting like a fool … until he gets a taste of redemption.

The Bible is one long story of God's great work to save us in Jesus Christ. Every one of ...

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Matt Woodley is the pastor of compassion ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Act 1: David’s request

II. Act 2: Nabal’s rude reply

III. Act 3: Enter Abigail

IV. Act 4: Abigail’s winsome speech

V. Act 5: David listens.

VI. Act 6: Nabal croaks.