And should someone pursue you and seek your life, then the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God. But He shall fling away the lives of your enemies like stones from a sling.
1 Samuel 25:29. (CARMEL.)
1. The bundle of life, or the living (the word bundle, tseror, being used once before of the bag or purse of money which each of Joseph's brethren found in his sack of corn, Genesis 42:35), signifies the society or congregation of the living out of which men are taken and cut off by death (Barrett, 'Synopsis of Criticisms'). It contains those who possess life, continued and prosperous life, in the present world in the midst of the dangers to which they are exposed, and by which others are taken away from "the land of the living" (Isaiah 4:3). Life is a gift of God, and its continuance is presumptive of his favour.
2. What is here desired and predicted concerning them is based upon their moral distinction from other men. They are, like David, servants of God, and differ from others, as David from Saul and Nabal, in their character and conduct. They constitute the community of the godly in "this present evil world," and "their names are written in heaven."
3. They are of inestimable worth in the sight of God. He values all men because of their capacity for goodness, but much more some on account of their actual possession of it. Their worth surpasses all earthly possessions and distinctions. "The whole system of bodies (the firmament, the stars, the earth, and the kingdoms of it) and spirits together is unequal to the least emotion of charity" (Pascal).
4. They are his special possession; belong to him in a peculiar manner, because of what he had done for them "above all people," and their own voluntary devotion to him. "Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself." "The Lord taketh pleasure in his people," and calls them "my jewels" (Malachi 3:17).
5. They live in intimate communion with him. "A people near unto him" (Psalm 148:14); "bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God."
6. They are preserved safely from the malicious designs of their enemies, and from all evil. "Should a man arise to pursue thee and seek thy soul," etc. The expression is derived from the common usage of men, who put valuable things together and keep them near their persons to prevent their being lost or injured. "Your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).
7. They have a common participation in the strength and blessedness afforded by his presence and favour. Their life is of the highest kind - life in the truest, fullest sense, directly derived from him who is "the Fountain of life," and involving all real good. "In thy presence," etc. (Psalm 16:11.) The life of others is but "a race to death," and they are "dead while they hive."
8. They are designed for useful service; not merely to be looked upon and admired, but employed according to the will of the owner. It is for this that they are preserved.
9. They have "the promise of eternal life." Their spiritual fellowship with God and with each other in this life is an earnest of its continuance and perfection in the life to come. "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." The pious Jew dies with the words of the text upon his lips, and has them inscribed upon his tomb. "Whosoever is so hidden in the gracious fellowship of the Lord in this life that no enemy can harm him or injure his life, the Lord will not allow to perish, even though temporal death should come, but will then receive him into eternal life" (Keil). "And so shall we ever be with the Lord."
10. Their destiny (like their character) is the opposite of that of the ungodly. "Concerning the bodies of the righteous it is said, 'He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds' (Isaiah 57:21); and of their souls it is said, 'And the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God.' But concerning the bodies of the wicked it is said, 'There is no peace, saith God, to the wicked.' And of their souls it is said, 'And the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling'" (Talmud, quoted by Hurwitz). - D.
The soul of my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of life.
1. This is the beginning of human history. There is but one life in the world, and that life pours itself out and becomes the life of man. And man's life is like the life of God, and it is, in its measure, the life of God. This life is very realistically described as being breathed out from the lips of the Almighty into the muscles of man.
2. Now this is something that gives us not only a very exalted idea of God, but a very exalted idea of man. I do not know of anything that needs to be more impressed upon us today than the dignity of human nature — let me change the word — the divinity of human nature. Nothing can exalt a man above the greatness of his nature, the greatness that is his because his life is a Divine life, his life is in the bundle of life with God. Let us remember this, that whatever happens, we are made of God's will, that God wanted us to be made, that He wanted us to be here. There is something we can do that nobody else could do, and that God's wealth in the world is the wealth of men and women who can meet Him, answering love with love, answering with wisdom and confidence and obedience.
3. It is very easy to see what comes out of this. There comes out of it on the one side God's great delight in us. "The Lord's portion is His people." As long as God is rich, we are rich, as long as God is happy we can be happy if we want to be. As long as God is wise we are wise if we want to be. We are in the bundle with Him. You are bound up in the bundle of life, whatever happens to you happens to Him, and if you choose to have it so, whatever happens to Him, according to the measure of your day, will happen to you. And God likes this trust, this confidence. The more we trust Him the more He is delighted in us. God depends upon us. We are in the bundle of life, and when we drop out of the bundle of life and leave God alone — well, did you ever have a child go out of your house and leave you? That is a little bit of the feeling that God has when we get out of the bundle of life, when we seek after pleasures which he has forbidden, when there is anything in our business that He does not approve. It is so ordained that while we are in the bundle of life with God we are free perfectly. We are not compelled to be there. You can get out of the bundle of life any time you want to. We find a great deal going on in the world that does not seem to be consistent with the bundle of God. How can there be all this misery if London is in the bundle with God? But all London is not in the bundle with God. It ought to be, it can be, but it has slipped away. Yet it is pretty plain that a good many of us have got outside the bundle of God. How does God regard it? How do you regard it? I would like to ask what would happen to God if you get out of the bundle. What would happen if your boy, whom you love a hundred times more than you love Him, got out of your bundle? From the first of Genesis we find how man slipped out of God's bundle. One day they came to Christ and found fault with Him because they said He ate and drank with publicans and sinners, and He turned and said, "You do just the same." "Oh, no," they said, "we never do such a thing." "Do you not? You have a hundred sheep and lose one — what do you do?" "I go after it to bring it back." "Why do you do that? Why do you not send someone else after it? Because it is my sheep." "Precisely. That publican, he is not 'a' publican; he is 'My' publican, 'My' sinner, 'My' boy." God is trying to get you back into the bundle. Every man who is unhappy, every man who does not love Christ and confess Him has dropped out of the bundle. Christ is trying to get him back into the bundle.
(A. Mckenzie, D. D.)
1. Does it not, for one thing, imply, very specially, safety? They are safe who are bound in God's bundle of life. It is a great word in the Bible sense — safety — greater than we shall ever comprehend here. God's desire is to save men from themselves, from their sins, from their spiritual foes.
2. Another thought implied in the phrase, the bundle of life, is that of preciousness. So, in the bundle of life, we have to consider not man's but God's estimate of values. The neediest are, in a sense, the dearest. Look at the publicans of old as compared with the self-righteous Pharisees.
3. But one thing more also is suggested by the bundle, viz., that it will not always be a bundle. After all, the bundle is but a temporary arrangement. Only for the time being, when a household would be removing, would the valuables be packed up in a bundle, with little regard to arrangement and order. But in the new home the bundle would be opened, and each article put carefully in a place of its own. And so with God's opening and rearranging of the bundle of life. The words of Abigail, in connection with David, seem to refer to the present life, to David's safety here from the foes that were assailing him. I am aware that the Jews, nowadays are in the habit of using the phrase in reference to the life beyond. But is it not more in harmony with the idea of a bundle to apply the phrase to the present life? It is here, not hereafter, that things are not as they should be, not as we would wish them to be; it is here that there is the medley and confusion of a bundle. The best and the worst are often in strange positions, and juxtapositions, in this world. And look, too, how those dear to us often get separated, far and wide in life. But the time will come when there shall be separation no more, "and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away." May that be our prayer and trust for us all, that, when all is over, so far as this world is concerned, it will not be for us a being slung out as out of the middle of a sling, but only the opening of the bundle, and the rearrangement and final settlement in the eternal home. But remember, too, that while here, just as the contents of the good wife's bundle, though mixed together for the time being, would still be precious, and still safe, amid all the temporary disorder, so, even here, where things are oft inexplicably mixed, and many things are hard to understand, and harder still to bear, they are nevertheless safe and precious, now and evermore, in His sight, who are bound in God's bundle of life.
(J. S. Maver, M. A.)
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