Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of January 27, 2008

Psalm 51;16-17
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-These, O God, You will not despise.

When we break things, we usually figure that they are unusable. God finds His delight in using broken things. He used a broken alabaster box of ointment (Mark 14:3). He uses a loaf of broken bread to symbolize His body given for us ( 1 Corinthians 11:24). He used the lad’s five loaves of bread to feed multitudes (Mark 6:41), but He didn’t use these things until they were broken. And He can use us, but not until we have been broken.

Sometimes we get the impression that our strength comes through our tears. That is really not true, our strength is in our joy (Nehemiah 8:10). But usually sorrow or brokenness precedes joy. It did in the case of Nehemiah’s revival. In the New Testament, the Lord told His disciples that He would turn their sorrow into joy (John 16:20). There was sorrow at the crucifixion but joy at the resurrection. There is sorrow when a woman begins labor, but there is joy when the baby is born. Likewise there is sorrow when we are convicted of sin before we are saved and there is joy when we find deliverance in Christ. When we face our sin as David did, and we say “I have sinned (1 Samuel 15:24)”, that is when the heart is contrite and is prepared to find joy in the promise that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9).” That truth gave us joy when we came to Christ to trust Him the first time and it gives us joy when need our fellowship restored because of sin in our lives. But the tears do not give strength, they prepare our hearts for the joy which is our strength.

Many of us are broken and contrite about the sins of others. We are concerned about the sins of the nation. We are concerned about sin in our church gatherings. We are concerned about the sins of our friends and family. But the broken and contrite heart that God does not despise is a heart that is broken because of our own sin. Both Daniel and Isaiah considered the sin of the nation to be their sin. They did not see themselves as righteous in an unrighteous nation. In Daniel 9:8, Daniel prays, “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.” In Isaiah 6:5 Isaiah says, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” Up until he gets his vision of the Lord, Isaiah pronounces woe on everybody else. He is contrite about the sin of others, but in Isaiah 6, he is contrite about his own sin. It took a vision of the Lord in heaven for him to realize that he was part of the problem. Once he realized he was part of the problem, an angel used live coals from off of the altar to cleanse him. Then he was commissioned to go and became part of the solution.

One of the reasons that John wrote his first epistle was that our joy might be “full” or complete (1 John 1:4). But to accomplish his purpose he had to write about our sin nature, about the need to confess our sins and about the need to cease from sin. He also needed to remind the Christians that he wrote so that they might know that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13). So knowing what Christ has done for us and properly understanding and dealing with the sin in us gives us “full joy”. When we get that kind of joy on one can take it from us (John 16:22).

Joy not sorrow gives us strength. If our hearts are broken because of our own sin rather than because of the sin of others, we are at the place where we can again appreciate the great love that we enjoy in Christ. That should bring us full joy. And since the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10), maybe we could be the beginning of a great revival.

Bruce Collins

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