A Broken Heart

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12
We don’t always feel the weight of our sin. Sure we feel guilty that we messed up or in the least, got caught. But what of true brokenness before the Lord? Sometimes it comes when we have drifted from him. And when we are in this state, can we praise him?
“David prayed, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” In my journey back to the Lord, praise for him was non-existent. I saw afresh how my zeal in worship was mainly predicated upon my approval of myself. Oh Lord, if that’s what I really am, how can I praise you? I didn’t want to praise him. I wanted to feel sorry for myself and hide behind plausible-sounding excuses. When he came walking in the garden, i was busy fabricating my new fig-leaf outfit. I wanted to scurry past the memory of my sin and get everything tidied up so that I could approve of myself again. He taught me afresh that the covering I needed necessitated shed blood. Sweat, cries, beatings, nails, substitutionally death. Nothing to be scurried past easily on my way to self-perfection. Nothing tidy. Only this revelation would open my mouth to declare his praise.”
“…I came to understand again that what he wanted from me was not my good record. Instead, he wanted brokenness and humility that would make me love him and my neighbor.”
Brokenness that generates love and care.
Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 18.

Forbearance does not equal tolerance

“Hear this, O house of Jacob,who are called by the name of Israel,and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the Lord and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right.

For they call themselves after the holy city, and stay themselves on the God of Israel; the Lord of hosts is his name.

“The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth, and I announced them; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.

Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’

“You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’

You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel.

“For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” – Isaiah 48:1-11

Last week Dr. Ware shared this text in a morning devotion and it was poignant and I shared it again this morning with our Theological Life group. In this text God is confronting his people and the hardness of heart toward him. Wrath is still stored up against their sin and disobedience but for some reason, for his glory he defers his anger. For those of us in Christ, this forbearance of wrath is permanent in relationship to salvation. We are made right before God and refined, in Christ. But we are still responsible for our obedience and the consequence of sin. The question of this text is; are we hypocrites or is God our consuming passion?

When it comes to sin in our lives today we too often interpret the forbearance of discipline (think wrath) as the tolerance of God. We figure if we sin and there are no repercussions that things are “good.” Unfortunately as we continue to sin we assume  that our disobedience is ‘okay’ because we are ‘getting away with it.’ But God tells us that he will not share his glory with another, he desires our obedience. In Christ we are motivated toward obedience because of what has been done for us. We live lives of confession and battle against sin because we desire for God to be our only passion and we have found that the life of obedience is the only true freedom. Duty and delight are wedded for us in Christ.

What are the things in our lives that we have assumed tolerance of because discipline is being held back? What afflictions are being used to refine us? Let us be people who pursue holiness and obedience empowered by the Holy Spirit for God’s glory alone.