Character Trait No. 20
Definition: Forming sound opinions and giving serious attention and thought to what one is doing, especially to details.
“Discretion will guard you
Understanding will watch over you.” Prov. 2:11
A discreet man is an intelligent man. Pharoah called Joseph the most discreet man in all of Egypt. Then he made Joseph the Prime Minister of all Egypt, to save the nation from an impending crisis – a severe seven-year long famine predicted in Pharaoh’s dreams. (Gen.41:9) Another Biblical character demonstrating much discretion is Abigail. A careful reading of I Samuel 25 will show this admirable lady’s great character. Her sound opinion of David can be seen clearly by contrasting it to her foolish husband, Nabal the Fool’s, very unsound opinions and lack of thoughtfulness. When he was asked for a token gift of appreciation for David’s men’s protection of his vast flocks, he instead insulted the anointed one of God. He had no good opinion of the “sweet psalm singer of Israel”, saying:
“Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are breaking away from his master.”
On the other hand, “Admirable” Abigail said to David:
“Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the Lord will certainly make my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you all your days.”
She went on to predict that David would persevere and be appointed ruler over all Israel.
Abigail also paid attention to details. She sent a large gift of food to repay David and his men’s kindness and turn away his wrath. She hurriedly gathered up 200 loaves of bread, two jugs of wine, five butchered sheep, plus roasted grain, raisins, and figs. This was similar to Jacob sending gifts to Esau before meeting him. Jacob was another very intelligent man who could be very discreet. One wonders if David remembered Abigail prudent and prompt action of reverence toward him when he wrote Psalm 2:
“Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence, And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and your perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled.”
Of course, ladies are always smart to feed men who are in an angry mood before asking for any special favors! Abigail’s gifts worked in saving her household from David’s fierce vengeance. She did this without first informing her worthless husband. She was actually successful beyond her dreams when God struck Nabal dead and then David married her.
Paying attention to details takes mental focus. It is so easy to “go through the motions” every day, turning our brains to neutral and mentally hibernating so to speak - just “doing stuff”. So much time and energy is wasted when we don’t do things right the first time. Being discreet means doing things quickly, quietly and efficiently – in a prudent and thoughtful way. It means thinking before acting. Discreet persons can deal with very sensitive and difficult problems without causing more damage by acting rashly. Discretion really is the better part of valor when “valor” is truly not real courage, but rather is the rash and thoughtless mishandling of people’s personal problems or difficult tasks. Showing caution and prudence in such cases is being discreet. Nabal was extremely indiscreet, and his wife Abigail practiced much discretion. She was truly the “better half” in this case!
How about you Christian? Do you weigh things carefully and think before you speak or act? Can your opinions be regarded as sound? Discretion is a twin sister to discernment. David blessed Abigail for her discernment. (I Sam.25:33) May Christ our Anointed King likewise also bless us for possessing the same character trait. Think and carefully judge things, then act prudently.
Be an Admirable Abigail for Jesus!
By Jeff Hostetter