Friday, March 28, 2014


Growing up we had two horses.  Regretfully, I never learned how to ride well.  I was too scared of them to get very close when I was younger.  But I loved to watch them.  They were majestic and beautiful.  And I loved listening to my parents tell me stories of when they worked at a stable (I vaguely remember some of those days but I was really young then).  Dad would talk about the personality of the horses and how ornery they could be but also how sweet and gentle they could be.  Or he would tell stories about breaking* horses - some were easy and some were not so easy.  *(See note at bottom of post)

The idea of "breaking" a horse has stuck with me all these years.  And as I studied the Word over the past few days, I was reminded again of that imagery.  You see, a horse has to be broken because they are naturally wild.  They are unable to follow your lead or be taken care of properly if they keep resorting back to those wild tendencies.  Once broken, the horse is better able to follow the trainers lead and the trainer is better able to take care of the horse.

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

God requires that we have a broken spirit and a broken heart when we come before Him.  This doesn't mean 'broken' in the sense that you are sad or depressed, but broken in the sense that you are able to listen and respond to what He has to say.  Much like the trainer has to break the horse, our Father has to break our spirit.  We are naturally sinful.  We are unable to follow His lead or be taken care of properly if we keep resorting back to those sinful tendencies.  Once our spirit is broken, we are able to follow His lead and He is better able to take care of us.

A little over a year ago, I was at a get together with some old high school friends, most of which do not exactly follow my lifestyle.  The subject of drinking came up, as it usually does.  While I'm not opposed to drinking on occasion (wine is one of the few things that will instantly bring relief to my stomach condition) - I do believe that getting drunk is a sin.  The Bible states that pretty plainly.   Someone asked me what I thought about getting 'tipsy', or 'buzzed'.  I thought for a moment and replied with, "I'm not sure that it's okay because it alters the state of your mind."  The reply came, "Well it just brings out who you really are, so isn't that a good thing?  Shouldn't we always be our true selves?"  

At that point I didn't have a reply - all of my theology courses and ministry schooling left my brain apparently.  But on that drive home, and sometimes to this day, that question haunts me because I know the answer.  We are all inherently sinful.  Because of the fall of man, sin is a part of us, which is why we have to choose every day to pick up our cross for Christ and choose Him over self.  So when you become tipsy or drunk, chances are that the inherent sin, present in all of us, is going to surface.  Yes, our true self will show, but that isn't who we are in Christ.  And that is not a good thing.

The point here is not about drinking, the point is that we need to be broken.  Because, if we aren't, that inherent sin will rear its ugly head.  And it never ends well once it shows.

You see, "It is a work wrought upon the heart; that is it that God looks at and requires...It is a heart breaking with itself, and breaking from its sin; it is a heart pliable to the Word of God, and patient under the rod of God, a heart subdued and brought into obedience: it is a heart that is tender...and trembles at God's word.  Oh that there was such a heart in us!" (Matthew Henry).  

Have you run across a person like that?  A person with that sort of heart?  They are different.  In a beautiful way.  Their heart shows through in every part of their life.  They are broken.  Not sad or depressed.  But broken so that God can live in them and through them.  What walls does God need to break in your life?  Is there a sin you don't want to give up?  Or fear of not being good enough?  Or maybe there is a wall built from the guilt of your past (or present)?  No matter what the wall or how big - God can still break through.  You just have to let Him.

When David wrote this Psalm, he was suffering from a severe case of guilt.  He had committed adultery and then killed a man to try and cover up his sin.  Adultery, murder, deceit - he had every right to feel guilty.  

In fact, his words preceding vs. 16 and 17 are as follows:

Psalm 51:14-15
14 Delivery me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.

He desperately craved the Lord's forgiveness, wanted to openly sing His praises again without the feeling of guilt or inadequacy.  And he knew the power of our Lord - he knew the Lord was capable of forgiving even him.  And he also knew what the Lord required - not an animal sacrifice, as was routine in David's day, but, rather, a broken spirit and contrite heart.  

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

What is holding you back from allowing the Lord to break down the walls around your heart?  What will it take for you to let Him break your spirit?  To allow Him to use you?

Allow your heart to:

  • Break with itself and from its sin
  • Be pliable to the Word of God
  • Be patient under the rod of God
  • Be subdued and brought into obedience
  • Be tender
  • Tremble at the word of God

Then and only then will you be broken and able to follow the Lord completely.  Then and only then will He be able to use you for the purpose He intended.  David was a murderer, an adulterer, a deceiver – God still forgave him, broke his spirit, and used him!  If God can do this with David, can He not do so with you?

*When I speak of 'breaking' a horse - I simply mean training.  However - using the term 'training' didn't work for my illustration purposes.  My dad was never cruel towards any of the horses he dealt with.  :)

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