Hope in Brokenness 9/25/22
It always amazes me how fast time seems to fly by. Every one of us gets 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 168 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Yes, each of us gets the exact same amount of time, but we never know when our time is up. We never know when we will breathe our last breath. We never know when we will find ourselves before the Lord to receive judgment and our choices in life are laid out before us. Did we accept his gift and grace, or did we deny it? Did we make the most of each moment to live effectively for his glory, or did we squander the time we had? We have the hope of God’s mercy, forgiveness, grace, love, justice, and eternal life. Jesus said,
Now this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.
We are going to carry the theme of hope with us through the month of October. We all need a little hope. We all need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Especially as the days grow darker and it seems like the world is falling apart. We need hope that this is not the end of the journey, but really it is just the beginning.
Today, we need to find hope in brokenness. For some, they may have never reached the point of absolute brokenness. Others of us have, and it’s highly likely you also know someone who has been or is broken. Do you know what it’s like to be broken? Do you know what it’s like to be unmade?
When I think of brokenness, and I look into the scriptures; I think of one person more than any other. Let me give you some hints, and I am sure you’ll figure it out fairly quickly. Once you figure it out, don’t say anything until I ask you to, okay?
This person started life as a shepherd.
Was the youngest of the family.
Inexplicably was chosen to succeed the leader of the people.
Was a musician.
Was indignant on the behalf of God when an enemy jeered the armies of Israel.
Singlehandedly defeated an enemy almost twice his size.
He was promised the king’s daughter’s hand in marriage.
By a show of hands, how many of you think you know who I am talking about? Don’t say anything yet. Here are a few more highlights.
His best friend was the king’s son.
Although the king loved him, the king suffered from paranoia and tried to kill him over and over again.
He was known as the apple of God’s eye, and a man after God’s own heart. Although, in the original language, neither of these titles had anything to do with actions he took, but being chosen by God himself.
Finally, after the king’s death, he became king of Israel.
Okay, who is it? That’s right. King David. Who is known as the greatest king in the history of the nation of Israel.
King David has a list of some serious highlights in his life. The 2nd king of Israel, he expanded Israel’s influence throughout the region creating political alliances and defeating enemies. He is known as Israel’s greatest king. He received God’s personal promise that his line will rule the nation forever. A promised that is fulfilled in the person of Jesus, not only LORD of lords, and KING of kings, but Savior of the world and eternal king of not only Israel but also the whole world. David united a kingdom, created Jerusalem as the capital city that is still there today although it has been sacked and destroyed several times. Gathered all the materials to build the first temple to God. David was a skilled battle commander, skilled warrior, and a good king.
David also gives a picture of what brokenness and restoration look like. In addition to the highlights, he has some real low points too.
Saul, the king before David, became extremely paranoid and feared David’s popularity and tried to kill David many times. While on the run from Saul, he lied to the priest in Nob taking the sacramental bread and taking Goliath’s sword from the synagogue where it was kept. Saul found out and murdered the entire town of priests and their families. David hid in caves multiple times. He pretended to be insane, drooling on himself and commanded armies for his nation’s enemies, although he didn’t lead troops against Israel. David took for himself many wives and had many children. One son raped his half-sister and was then killed in vengeance by his half-brother. David had an affair with another man’s wife, then learning Bathsheba she was pregnant; he tried to bring the Uriah back from the battle lines to have him sleep with his own wife to cover up the child being David’s. When Uriah didn’t, he arranged for him to be killed in battle, in all truth murdering him. David’s first child with Bathsheba ends up dying shortly after birth. Later in life, in David’s passivity, his son Absalom, seizes the throne from him but ends up dead. David sinned and was confronted by his own brokenness several times.
Roy Hession says this about brokenness, “To be broken is the beginning of revival. It is painful, it is humiliating, but it is the only way.”
In AA there is a saying, “We can either go to our knees before God in humility, or we will be brought to our knees in humiliation.” To be truly broken, it is only in understanding the depth of our depravity, that we truly understand the depths of grace. Understanding just how bad we could be doesn’t mean we need to have acted out in all those ways. To understand that given the right circumstances that we have that potential is to also understand how broken we really are. Whether we have lived it out or not.
The biggest danger for ‘Church people’ that have grown up in the church. Lived life following the ‘rules’ and checked all the boxes, is self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. Thinking somehow, we are the ones who have lived the good life and forgetting that the power of Christ is what makes all things possible. The Pharisees and Sadducees fell into this trap of pride. The Pharisees were the seminary grads, the devout, the pastors and teachers, the Bible scholars, and spiritual leaders, but Jesus’s harshest words were against them. Jesus probed past their external appearance and acts of apparent devotion. Over and over, he exposed the proud, self-righteous attitudes and motives. He insisted that the ones with broken, repentant hearts were the ones he came to save, that God rejects the proud, self-righteousness shown by the ‘church people.’
Brokenness goes far beyond our feelings or the sins we have lived in. Nancy Leigh DeMoss says in her book entitled Brokenness,
“Brokenness is not a feeling or emotion. Rather, it requires a choice, an act of will…True brokenness is an ongoing, constant way of life…Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will-the absolute surrender of my will to the will of God…The broken person has no confidence in his own righteousness or his own works, but he has cast in total dependence upon the grace of God working in and through him.”
David’s brokenness and hope in restoration can be found over and over in the Psalms. Listen to Psalm 32,
‘Then I confessed my sin; I no longer covered up my wrongdoing. I said, “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord .” And then you forgave my sins. (Selah) How blessed is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven, whose sin is pardoned! How blessed is the one whose wrongdoing the Lord does not punish, in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I refused to confess my sin, my whole body wasted away, while I groaned in pain all day long. For day and night you tormented me; you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer. (Selah) For this reason every one of your faithful followers should pray to you while there is a window of opportunity. Certainly when the surging water rises, it will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you protect me from distress. You surround me with shouts of joy from those celebrating deliverance. (Selah) I will instruct and teach you about how you should live. I will advise you as I look you in the eye. Do not be like an unintelligent horse or mule, which will not obey you unless they are controlled by a bridle and bit. An evil person suffers much pain, but the Lord ’s faithfulness overwhelms the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be happy, you who are godly! Shout for joy, all you who are morally upright!’
David is humbling himself before God confessing and repentant toward his sin and humbling himself before countless future believers, like us, who would read his confession and learn of his failure.
Listen to Psalm 51 this time,
‘Have mercy on me, O God, because of your loyal love! Because of your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts! Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin! For I am aware of my rebellious acts; I am forever conscious of my sin. Against you – you above all – I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me. Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me. Look, you desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom. Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven! May the bones you crushed rejoice! Hide your face from my sins! Wipe away all my guilt! Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do not reject me! Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me! Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance! Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and sinners will turn to you. Rescue me from the guilt of murder, O God, the God who delivers me! Then my tongue will shout for joy because of your deliverance. O Lord, give me the words! Then my mouth will praise you. Certainly you do not want a sacrifice, or else I would offer it; you do not desire a burnt sacrifice. The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit – O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject. Because you favor Zion, do what is good for her! Fortify the walls of Jerusalem! Then you will accept the proper sacrifices, burnt sacrifices and whole offerings; then bulls will be sacrificed on your altar.’
In our brokenness, just like David, we find hope in the faithfulness of God. We find hope in the forgiveness found through our relationship with the Father through Jesus, his Son, and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. All our hope is found in seeing ourselves as we really are, broken in a broken world, and turning our will and our lives complete over to God in humility.