God Requirement, Brokenness
Category : General
Ps.51: 17 (KJV)
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
What is a broken heart? We use the expression to set forth the effects of heavy affliction and sorrow. And so here, the broken heart tells of deep sorrow on account of our Sin. Before, it had hope for itself; now it has none, and, thus broken, it is offered with shame and grief. Before, it could listen to the truths of the Gospel unmoved, but now it quivers with emotion. How beautifully does the text describe a simple and grateful reliance upon the freeness of Divine mercy! How forcibly does this language express that exalted estimate of the worth of pardon, which will ever be cherished by those who sincerely repent! How strikingly it exhibits the penitent’s humble sense of utter helplessness and incapacity for any service or offering of his own to procure the invaluable blessing.
What is the sacrifices which God desires and approves; the sacrifices without which no other offering would be acceptable? David felt that that which he here specified was what was demanded in his case. As my crimes are such as admit of no legal atonement, so thou hast reserved them to be punished by exemplary acts of justice, or to be pardoned by a sovereign act of mercy: but in order to find this mercy, thou requirest that the heart and soul should deeply feel the transgression and turn to thee with the fullest compunction and remorse. He had grievously sinned; and the blood of animals offered in sacrifice could not put away his sin, nor could anything remove it unless the heart were itself penitent and contrite. The same thing is true now.
The spirit broken all to pieces, and the heart broken all to pieces, stamped and beaten out, are the sacrifices which, in such cases, thou requirest; and these “thou wilt not despise.” We may now suppose that God had shone upon his soul, healed his broken spirit, and renewed and removed his broken and distracted heart; and that he had now received the answer to the preceding prayers. And here the Psalm properly ends; as, in the two following verses, there is nothing similar to what we find in the rest of this very nervous and most important composition.
A broken heart is a heart that God will never despise. We have His word for it. Christ will never despise it, and that for a very good reason. He has suffered from it Himself. He will not despise it. Because it would be despising His own handiwork were He to reject a contrite spirit. Let us deeply regret that we have sinned against a God Who is so good. Let us mourn to think that we have offended against so excellent and admirable a law. Let us grieve that we have sinned against a Savior’s love. Let us set our sin in the light of God’s countenance.
Have a great and godly day!