Friday, November 11, 2016, 12:21 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Broken and Contrite.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 147 (Select vv. ESV).
God’s people had been rebellious against him. He confronted them with their sins of idolatry, rebellion, and spiritual adultery. He warned them of divine judgment, and he called them to repentance, but they didn’t listen. They continued to go their own stubborn way. So, he did what he had said he would do. He sent the king of Babylon to conquer them, to destroy their homeland, and the Jewish temple, and to take many of them into captivity into Babylon. The Jews were in exile for a period of 70 years.
Then, King Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and to begin rebuilding their city and the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Yet, not only was there a physical rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple, but there was a spiritual revival and renewal of God’s people who had gone astray, but who had now returned to their God, to worship him only. God also judged those whom he had used as his divine instruments of judgment against his people. He did exactly what he had said he would do to Babylon. [See: 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel & Daniel.]
We have a very similar situation in our world today. Much of today’s church, at least here in America, has joined (partnered) itself with the world, has rebelled against God, is idolatrous, and is living in spiritual adultery against God. I know that God has sent a number of his servants to confront her with her sins, to warn her of divine judgment, and to call her to repentance, but, for the most part, she didn’t listen, but she has continued to go her own stubborn way. And, now God is doing just what he said he would do. He is using his divine instruments of judgment against his rebellious people – his wayward church. But, at least in the case of America, his instruments of judgment against her are largely from within our nation, not from without.
Very simply put, the vast majority of the leaders within our nation, including many within the church, have turned against their own people, have deceived them with many lies and manipulations, and have handed their own people over to the enemy. Our nation, and the church within our nation, and the gospel of our salvation, are all under attack by the enemy, who has judiciously and skillfully (craftily) been taking us down one step at a time. And, there is much more to come in the days ahead, which will make it even more clear as to our leaders’ true intentions. So, be warned and be wise.
The Brokenhearted (vv. 1-3)
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
God’s people were brokenhearted in two respects. One is that they were hurt (injured) over their circumstances, that they had been taken from their homeland, and that their homeland and their temple had been destroyed, and was in ruins, and that many of their friends and family had been killed. Secondly, and this came only after the judgment of God on them for their sins, they were brokenhearted and contrite over their sins of rebellion. I don’t recall if all of them were, or not, but I believe many were. They wept over their sins, they called on God, they turned from their idols and their wicked ways, and God began to heal them and to restore them to himself.
And, I believe this is where the church, at least here in America, is about to be in the near future. God is judging her, but not to destroy her, but to revive her and to renew her, as well as to get her ready for the wedding banquet with her husband and the consummation of their marriage, i.e. he is getting his church ready for his return and for the day when our salvation is complete. He is refining her, and he is chastising (disciplining) her, and he is pruning her so that he might restore her to pure fellowship with her Lord. And, he is using her own leaders within her nation, and within the church in her nation, as his divine instruments of judgment against her. But, the goal is that she may be humbled and contrite before God, repent of her sins, and return to her first love, and to make him her only Lord (owner-master).
The Humble (vv. 4-6)
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
Our God is absolutely sovereign and in control over all things. None of what we are going through right now individually, or as the church, or as people of nations or of the world has taken God by surprise. He is either causing it to happen, or he is allowing it to happen to us. Nothing can get by him. Our enemy can do nothing to us unless it first passes through God and he allows it. Even though he is allowing evil to reign for a period of time, he is still very much in control. He has a purpose for it all, and it is for our good, and one day it will end, and we will get to go be with our Lord forever, amen! On that we can rest secure that all this is temporary, but our true home is eternal, and God is absolutely faithful in that he will fulfill all his promises.
When stuff begins to hit the fan, so to speak, and the bottom begins to drop out of our world, figuratively speaking, there are going to be a lot of upset people. Well, we may already be there, but it is only going to get much worse. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. Yet, God is going to use this to humble us, and to open blinded eyes, and to show us where we have gone astray, and where we need to return to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. I believe when this time comes, if we are not already there, that it will definitely divide us as the people of the world and that there will no longer be those who ride the fence, i.e. who try to live both in the world of sin and in the world of Christianity. We will either humble ourselves before God in true repentance and obedience to Christ, or we will be numbered among the wicked, whom God will cast from his presence.
The humble and the contrite God will lift up. He will heal, and he will restore. And, he will comfort us with his love, his grace, his compassion and his mercy. The church will be revived, and the gospel will go forth to the ends of the earth, and many will be saved before our Lord returns.
The Reverent (vv. 10-11)
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Too many people, including Christians, are putting their hope and trust in men (in princes) and in human strength, power and wisdom, in order to solve the world’s or our nations’ problems. That is flawed, because humans are flawed and are bound to disappoint us and to fail us, and to even betray us and to turn their backs on us, as well as to hand us over to the enemy. So, our hope and our trust needs to be in God, and in God alone. Only he can heal what ails our nations and the wayward church within our nations. Yet, he has allowed us to be broken so that we will call on him in truth, so that he may heal us and restore us.
Our Lord does not take pleasure in our religious sacrifices or rituals. He is not pleased if we get up every Sunday morning, dress our finest (or not), go to a building called “church,” sings our songs, and listen to preaching, but then walk out of that building and live just like the world. He is not impressed by our works of service, if our hearts are far from him. He is also not consoled by the praise of our lips, if our lifestyles do not support what we say (or sing). John wrote that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), that we are liars.
Our Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, i.e. who truly honor, revere and respect him, which is shown, not by our words, but by how we live. If we say we love God, then we need to obey him. Jesus said that his sheep listen to him (heed what he says), he knows them, and they follow (obey) him. These are the ones who can’t be snatched out of his hands. He also said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life (See: Jn. 10:27-30; Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24).
So, where are you today? Are you claiming to know Christ but you are still walking according to your sinful flesh, to fulfill its ungodly desires? Do you think God’s salvation is merely a get-out-of-jail free card and a promise of heaven when you die, but that nothing is required of you at all? Then, you would be wrong! Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; & Tit. 2:11-14). So, turn from your sin today, humble yourself before God, and decide today to follow him in obedience.
Broken and Contrite / An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.