What do you call a man who, when asked for food and drink by an army of 400 warriors, deliberately refuses them and then insults them?
How about “fool”?
Coincidently, that was the meaning of the name of Abigail’s husband, Nabal. Backstory (I Sam. 25): David and his mighty men, hungry and thirsty, had come upon Nabal’s men shearing his hundreds of sheep (Nabal was rich) and asked them for food and drink. Since David and his men had often protected Nabal’s herdsmen from danger, it wasn’t therefore asking too much for David to make such a request of Nabal. What was unusual was for Nabal to refuse David – especially considering that Nabal was plenty rich enough to provide food for David and his men. And most especially considering that it was – well, David and his men. Four hundred of them. With swords.
But – was Nabal’s foolish behavior really so coincidental?
Perhaps not. It’s difficult to imagine the impact of growing up and hearing yourself called “fool” every time anyone mentioned your name. Consequently, Nabal might simply have become convinced that that’s all he would ever be – whether he tried otherwise or not. So (I’m speculating), consciously or not, Nabal began to imitate other fools.
That’s what’s known as a “word curse;” we tend to become what we’re told we are. Jesus referred to such words as “idle words” and said that we’ll be held accountable for every idle word we speak. Why? Because people believe what they hear about themselves – for better or worse.