"The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:18
A broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a subdued will are rare things, especially in this age in which men everywhere are taught to demand their rights; and the church has become a place where man is exalted and enshrined as though he were God. Self-esteem, self-worth, and self-promotion is the cry of the day. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes. All men by nature are exceedingly proud, selfish people.
Preachers today, knowing man's natural pride, have capitalized upon it. They have developed a flesh-pleasing theology of pride. Our forefathers exalted the dignity, the majesty, and the supremacy of the eternal God. But the smooth-tongued preachers of deceit in our day have set themselves to exalt the dignity, majesty, and supremacy of puny man! It seems that religion today is dedicated not to the honor of God, but to the honor of man. Its purpose is to make man feel good about himself. Therefore we hear little about . . .
brokenness of heart,
contrition of the soul, and
the subduing of man's will.
The Lord God declares, "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word!" (Isaiah 66:2). God will have broken hearts with which to build His kingdom. Sooner or later, the Lord God will bring us to nothingness before His presence. God's people, all of God's people are a broken people.
No man has ever experienced the grace of God in salvation, until his heart is thoroughly broken before the holy Lord God, revealed in the crucified Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. If ever a man finds out:
who he is,
who God is,
who the Lord Jesus Christ is,
and what He has done for sinners
— he will be a broken man!
When Job saw himself in the presence of his three miserable friends, he vindicated himself. But when he stood in the presence of God, he was a broken man; and he spoke as a broken man. He saw himself in all the hideousness of his sin; and he saw God in all the holiness of His glorious majesty. Then he said, "Behold I am vile! I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes!" There is no pride and egotism here, no haughtiness, no self-vindication. Once Job had seen the Lord — he was broken, he loathed himself and blamed himself. Once Job saw the Lord — he honored God and vindicated Him. The truly broken heart will always vindicate God, no matter the cost.
This brokenness can be produced in proud, stubborn, sinful men and women — only by the saving revelation of Christ in our hearts. Brokenness is found at the cross — only at the cross. Have you been to the cross? Have you had the crucified Christ revealed in your heart? Has your heart been broken by the knowledge of the Lord? O Lord, evermore break our hearts before You!
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." Psalm 51:17