God’s People Are a Broken People


“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).


A broken heart, a contrite spirit and a subdued will are rare things. In this day of human rights, everyone extols the imaginary dignity of man, and every man does that which is right in his own eyes. Self-esteem, self-worth, and self-promotion are the cry of the day. All men demand what they call “their rights”. All men by nature are exceedingly proud and selfish. 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, majesty, and supremacy of the eternal God. But the smooth-tongued prophets of deceit in our day exalt the dignity, majesty, and supremacy of man. The religious world around us is dedicated, not to the honor of God, but to the honor of man. It’s 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.


Must be Broken


Of this one thing you may be sure — “The sacrifices of God are (still) a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, 0 God, thou wilt not despise”(Psalm 51: 17). The Lord God declares, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my Word” (Isaiah 66:2). God will have broken material with which to build his kingdom. He accepts and uses nothing he has not broken. Until the Lord God brings us to nothingness before his presence, we will never experience his salvation. God’s people, all of them, are a broken people. No one has experienced the grace of God in salvation, until his heart is thoroughly broken before the Holy Lord God as he is revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. If ever a sinner finds out who he is, who God is, who the Lord Jesus Christ is, and what he has done for sinners, — if a man ever really learns these things, he will be broken.


God’s Servant Job


When God’s servant Job saw himself, in the presence of his three miserable friends, he vindicated himself, and even cursed his day. He said, “Why did I not perish from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?” 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 majesty. Then he said, “Behold I am vile! I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 40:4; 42:5-6). 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 he had seen the Lord, he honored God and vindicated him. The truly broken heart will always vindicate God.


A Work of Grace


Such brokenness is a work of grace. It can be produced in us only by a saving revelation of Christ in our hearts. Brokenness is found only at the cross. The Lord God declares that when he pours upon the hearts of his elect the Spirit of grace, “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10). Have you been to the cross? Has the crucified Christ been revealed in your heart? Is your heart broken before him? O Lord God, our Savior, evermore break our hearts before Thee!



Don Fortner



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