Psalm 51:16-18 – For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit
A broken spirit? Why would the Lord appreciate and deem acceptable a broken spirit. Does He want us to be miserable? I don’t believe so, or He would not give us the hope of eternal life with Him. But maybe there are some advantages for us as Christians to have a broken spirit. Lets look a little bit at the concept of a broken spirit. First let’s look at the definition of broken.
Definition of BROKEN
violently separated into parts : shattered
2: damaged or altered by breaking: as
a : having undergone or been subjected to fracture <a broken leg>
b of land surfaces : being irregular, interrupted, or full of obstacles
c : violated by transgression <a broken promise>
e : disrupted by change
f of a tulip flower : having an irregular, streaked, or blotched pattern especially from virus infection
3 a :
made weak or infirm
subdued completely : crushed
heart> <a broken
d : reduced in rank
b : imperfectly spoken or written <broken English>
5: not complete or full <a broken bale of hay>
6: disunited by divorce, separation, or desertion of one parent<children from broken homes> <a broken family>
There are so many definitions of broken. In the different Bible studies I have been a part of over the years, I have met people who have gone through or experienced almost each type of brokenness listed here. Sometimes we feel we’re shattered by life and everything feels disconnected and we don’t know how we’ll ever put the pieces back together again. Or maybe you’ve been injured, and you can no longer perform on your dance team. Maybe everywhere you turn there is a new obstacle, something else making your life harder than you expected it to be. Maybe someone lied to you, cheated on your or stole from you. Maybe your life was interrupted by a storm, damage or illness. Maybe you’ve just gotten married and it’s hard to deal with all the changes happening at once. Maybe you’re feeling week, like you just can’t go on. Maybe you’ve gone bankrupt, and there’s nothing left for anything. Maybe you misspoke and now someone isn’t speaking to you. Maybe there is an emptiness that you can’t understand, but you’re trying to fill with food, alcohol or drugs. Maybe you’ve gone through a divorce. Maybe you’ve been separated from your children.
A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise
When you’re broken, you may feel like God despises you, but that’s not the case (as we see in our scripture today). Our brokenness is like that off a horse being broken. Before a horse is broken, it can be wild and out of control. It can’t be useful, because it’s not able to submit to its masters control. The horse must be broken to become useful for work and for riding. We too must be broken so that we can learn to submit to God’s plans. As humans it is unnatural to think that we shouldn’t be in control, but God’s ways are not of this world. He needs to be in control of our lives so that we might get all the blessings and benefits He has planned for us. He loves us and knows that when we have a broken and contrite heart, our ability to turn over control to Him increases. Not only does that mean we will allow Him to work in our lives, but when we stop fighting Him, our true strong relationship with Him can begin to develop. We can end up with a life that is way more fulfilling than we ever dreamed possible.
Have you been broken?