Sermon #28 Micah Series
Title: Blessed Brokenness
Text: Micah 7:9
Subject: Bearing God’s Indignation
Date: Tuesday Evening — May 22, 2012
Tape: Micah #28
Readings: Don Raneri and David Burge
In the 27th chapter of the book of Acts we find the Apostle Paul a prisoner onboard a ship sailing to Italy. He is being taken to Rome, where he would soon be put to death for preaching the Gospel of Christ. As he sailed, there arose a great tempestuous wind which caught the ship. Luke tells us in verse 15 that when they “could not bear up into the wind” they “let her drive.”
Everyone on the ship was scared to death, except Paul and his companions. Paul assured them, “there shall not a hair fall from the head of any of you” (v. 34). Now, let’s begin reading at verse 36 — Acts 27:36.
“Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took [some] meat. 37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea. 39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. 40 And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed [themselves] unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. 41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. 42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. 43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from [their] purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast [themselves] first [into the sea], and get to land: 44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on [broken pieces] of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.” (Acts 27:36-44)
Read that 44th verse again. — “And the rest, some on boards, and some on [broken pieces] of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.” Those who could not swim were brought to shore on boards and “broken pieces” of the ship. The Lord God used broken pieces of the ship to bring his servant Paul to Melita to preach the Gospel to an elect barbarian tribal chief! — “Broken pieces,” that’s what God uses, “broken pieces.”
(Psalms 34:18) “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
(Psalms 51:17) “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
God won’t have anything except broken things. He will not use anything except broken things. He will not have you, if he does not break you. He will not use you, if he does not break you.
Nothing more hopeful, nothing more blessed than a broken heart. You may think that sounds strange. But a heart broken before God is a heart touched by the finger of his grace for whom the sweet balm of salvation is prepared. God specifically promises grace and healing to the brokenhearted (Psalms 34:18; 51:17; 147:3).
(Psalms 147:3) “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”
Proposition: Every sinner saved by the grace of God is broken by his grace. Every person God uses as an instrument for good in his hands, he first breaks with his own hands. And those he uses he continually breaks, that they may be the more useful.
I cannot think of a better portrayal of this brokenness than that which Micah speaks of in Micah 7:9. My subject is Blessed Brokenness. Our text is Micah 7:9. What heaviness, what great, great heaviness of heart Micah experienced.
Here is the confession of a broken man — Micah 7:9.
“I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness.” (Micah 7:9)
Divisions: Keep your Bible open on your lap. Let’s look at this one verse of Holy Scripture with intense care, asking God the Holy Spirit to graciously inscribe its message upon our hearts. I want to show you five things in this verse.
1. A Broken Sinner — “I will bear the indignation of the Lord.”
2. A Believing Confession of Sin — “Because I have sinned against him.”
3. A Divine Advocate — “Until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me.”
4. A Sweet Hope — “He will bring me forth to the light.”
5. An Assuring Revelation — “And I shall behold his righteousness.”
Holy Spirit Conviction
Without question, that which we read in Micah 7:9 are words that we might expect to hear falling from the lips of anyone who is saved by the grace of God. Micah’s confession might be read as the confession of any who experience God’s salvation in Christ. It is a confession that arises from Holy Spirit conviction. — “I will bear the indignation of the LORD, — because I have sinned against him, — until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: — he will bring me forth to the light, — [and] I shall behold his righteousness.”
But it is clear that in this context the words here recorded are the words of a saved sinner, a faithful prophet of God, under the painful rod of Divine chastisement. Here is a man being broken by God, a faithful man, but a sinful man, a prophet of God, but a man under since of God’s indignation.
A Broken Sinner
First, we have here Micah, God’s son and God’s servant, a broken sinner before God. Hear his lamentation. — “I will bear the indignation of the Lord.” The present circumstances of God’s church and of his prophet had the appearance of Divine indignation and wrath. I said, “the appearance of Divine indignation and wrath.” Be sure you understand this.
God’s elect are never under his wrath. Sinners redeemed by the blood of Christ and saved by the grace of God shall never have to bear God’s wrath and indignation in any penal way.
But God does chasten his children not with the rod of a judge, but with the rod of a loving Father. And when he does, his indignation is felt, not against us, but against our sins (Hebrews 12:5-11; Isaiah 54:7-8).
(Hebrews 12:5-11) “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
(Isaiah 54:7-8) “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”
'Tis my happiness below
Not to live without the cross;
But the Savior's pow'r to know
Sanctifying every loss.
Trials must and will befall;
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all —
This is happiness to me.
God in Israel sows the seeds
Of affliction, pain, and toil;
These spring up and choke the weeds
Which would else o’erspread the soil:
Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Bring me to my Savior's feet,
Lay me low and keep me there.
Did I meet no trials here,
No chastisement by the way,
Might I not with reason fear
I should prove a castaway?
Bastards may escape the rod,
Sunk in earthly vain delight;
But the true-born child of God
Must not — would not, if he might.
Our heavenly Father chastens us in love that he may break us in mercy. Brokenness, humility, and contrition of heart are essential to usefulness in the kingdom of God. Only broken hearts know God and walk with God.
“If you want to see the height of the hill of God's love you must go down into the valley of humility” (Rowland Hill)
Brokenness, contrition, humility is nothing but a just estimate of ourselves. It is neither more nor less than an honest, heartfelt sense of our utter nothingness. Humility and contrition are the knees of the soul. Christ will never take us into his arms until we lay ourselves at his feet, as David did in his closet, as Mary did when she sat at the Savior’s feet and heard his words, broken with a sense of personal sinfulness.
Pray for a broken, contrite heart. God uses broken things (Acts 27:44). Brokenness is the beginning of the life of faith. Brokenness is the root of all true revival in the soul. It is painful. Our flesh opposes it. But we must be broken. We will never break ourselves. We must be broken by grace. Our wills must be broken to God's will.
Brokenness is dying to self. It is the response of the renewed heart to Holy Spirit conviction (Zechariah 12:10). Because conviction is continual, brokenness is continual.
Brokenness is the spirit of Christ. Christ, who is God, took upon himself the form of a servant. He willingly gave up everything for us! As a Servant he had no rights of his own, no home of his own, no possessions of his own. He did not have so much as an hour to call his own. When he was reviled, he reviled not again, but committed himself to God. He went willingly, but with broken heart, to Calvary, where he was made sin for us.
Brokenness can be found only at the foot of the cross.
“Lord, bend this proud and stiff necked I,
Help me to bow the head and die,
Beholding Him on Calvary
Who bowed His head and died for me!”
Brokenness means having no plans, no time, no possessions, no money, no life of my own. It is to be crucified with Christ. It is a constant yielding of myself to God. We must seek it; but only God can give it. If we are his, he will. He receives none but those whom he breaks. He uses none but those whom he breaks.
Let us seek grace to bow to the rod and kiss it, ever submitting to the will of God our Savior and our heavenly Father.
Illustration: The closer you get the less the rod is felt.
A Believing Confession of Sin
Second, we have in our text a believing confession of sin. Micah said, “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him.” John Gill rightly observed, “Sin is the cause and reason of all affliction and distress.”
Many pretend to have faith in Christ who know nothing of personal sin. And many readily confess sins who have no faith in Christ. But there is no salvation apart from a believing confession of sin, a confession of sin arising from the revelation of Christ. I learned something from Dr. Gill here. Gill tells us that the Hebrew word Micah used in confessing “I have sinned” “signifies the offering of an expiatory sacrifice for sin to God.” In other words, sin is confessed only when we bring a sin-atoning sacrifice to God; and the only sin-atoning sacrifice there is is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Illustration: The Publican in the Temple
(Romans 10:1-13) “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down [from above]:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
“12 ¶ For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
(1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
A Divine Advocate
Now, look a the third thing mentioned by Micah in his contrite confession, — A Divine Advocate. Micah was broken. He was confessing his sin. Yet, he was fully confident that Christ was his Advocate still. He said, “I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me!” What a blessed example he is, even in his lowest condition of confident faith in Christ. He says, I have fallen, I have sinned, I am bearing the indignation of the Lord because I fully deserve; but Christ shall yet undertake for me, plead my cause, and execute judgment for me.”
All these things are true of each child of God. Every believer has every reason to be confident of these things. Yet, it must be remembered that Micah was God’s Prophet. As such, he spoke not merely for himself personally, but for the Church and people of God. John Gill wrote…
“The sense is, that he [Christ] will openly espouse the cause of his church, and give her honour and glory publicly before men; bring forth her righteousness as the light, and her judgment as the noon day; and make her innocence appear as clear as the day, and bring her at last to the light of glory.”
(Psalms 37:6) “And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.”
(Isaiah 58:8-10) “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. 9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 10 And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday:”
A Sweet Hope
Fourth, Micah’s soul was sustained with the sweet hope of mercy, that the Lord himself would bring him forth to the light. — “I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light.”
As John Trapp put it, “He will uncloud these gloomy days, and in his light I shall see light.”
Compare Psalm 42:5, Psalm 42:11, and Psalm 43:5
(Psalms 42:5) “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.”
(Psalms 42:11) “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.”
(Psalms 43:5) “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.”
An Assuring Revelation
Fifth, Micah’s soul was sustained in his brokenness with an assuring revelation. — “I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness.”
Truly, in all the affairs of providence, “He hath done all things well!” And that which He has done, He is doing and shall forever continue to do, until He has finished doing all that He purposed to do in eternity. Then, we shall look back upon all things and say, “He hath done all things well!” In that great day, when our mansions are prepared, our bodies raised from the dead and we are perfectly conformed to His image in resurrection glory, when we hear Him say, “Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” oh, with what rapture, gratitude, rejoicing and love shall we shout, “He hath done all things well!”
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