The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses."Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses."—1Samuel 25:18.
All this was done to propitiate a man. Some rule of courtesy had been violated, and the wife of the reckless violator undertook to make amends. We may be more careful about etiquette than we are about righteousness. It is possible to be more anxious to placate a human enemy than to assure God of our penitence and contrition because of our violation of his law.—There is a kind of natural religion whose instincts should teach us a good deal about the higher piety.—When we have committed a trespass against human law natural religion urges us to confession, amendment, and reparation: ought we not to carry the teaching of that instinct still higher, and to reason with ourselves that if we have broken the law of God we should go in humblest attitude before him and with a broken heart seek his forgiveness?—The danger is lest the light that is in us be darkness, and then how great is the density of that gloom! We know what to do to one another, and yet we know not what to do to Almighty God.—We have kept our ceremonial life clear of all blame, and yet our spiritual life may be filled with all the mischief of disobedience and rebellion.—In going to God we need not make all this large preparation; we take nothing in our hand, we bring no price along with us; we simply cling to him who is our Surety, our Defence, our Propitiation.—Still the same principle is involved in both cases.—In the one case there has been human neglect to a human king; in the other there has been human disobedience to a divine Lord; in both cases there must be a sense of neglect or wrongdoing, and in both cases the offended must be placated by some action on our part.—The Lord has no need of sacrifices of our making; he asks not that we should serve him by outward decorum or buy his pardon with gifts of gold: we are called upon to avail ourselves of the mystery of Christ's priesthood, and to find in Christ the answer to every charge as to a broken law. We bring most when we bring nothing. All we are required to bring is a broken heart, and faith in him who died that our sins might be forgiven.—This is a great mystery.—There is nothing here that appeals to vanity, or that elicits from us a display of those ostentations which delight the fancy and dazzle the public: we are to be shut up with God in the privacy of unknown and unheard of communion, and in that holy secrecy we are to receive the blessing which comes from the eternal Christ alone.