Items For Prayer And Praise
By Lois J. Stucky
Normally a broken thing is disdained or discarded. How different in God’s Kingdom! “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Psa. 51:17).
The Old Testament speaks of sacrifices and offerings to God as “a sweet savor” to Him (Lev. 1:9; 2:2, etc.). But no longer does God desire from us sacrifices of goats or bullocks or of anything offered in atonement or appeasement. What God desires us to bring to Him as a sacrifice is a broken and a contrite heart—penitent, subdued, and yielded gladly to His will as was Jesus. This is most precious in His sight.
As God provided and prepared for us the sacrifice of the Lamb, Jesus, so He must work in us the sacrifice of a broken heart and spirit which we may bring to Him. He uses many ways to bring us to brokenness—ways that might seem our ruin and shame, might give great pain. But if it breaks pride and independence and works in us the subdued, tamed heart and spirit, the meek and quiet spirit, the lowliness of Jesus—that is precious in God’s sight.
And what a difference the broken spirit makes in the relationships of life—between husband and wife, between parent and child, between brothers and sisters in the Lord, between workers on the job, missionary colleagues, pastors and boards, etc.
Brokenness involves submitting one to the other. It leads to unity, and how precious is unity to God! “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head.... There the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (Psa. 133:1,2,3).
So if you want to give to God an offering of thanksgiving for the wonderful salvation you enjoy, or for the multitude of temporal blessings He bestows on you, the sacrifice, the offering He delights in is your humble, yielded heart. It is of sweetest savor to Him. No matter how joyful your heart or how full of praise, it can still be a humble, yielded heart. It is the humble, tender heart that God can entrust with a burden for a lost and dying world also. This is the kind of heart fitted to be a caring, self-sacrificing heart.
I was set to thinking by reading a few words of an evangelical leader from India. He is aware that many Western Christians look upon India as a materially poor people, a disadvantaged people as regards quality of life, a people of a tiny Christian minority and of multitudes of unevangelized, worshipping millions of idol gods, a needy mission field. While not denying all that, the brother sees also Indian Christians of deep commitment, of spiritual maturity, of self-sacrificing labors for Christ. When he looks at Western countries, what stands out to him is a materially affluent but spiritually bankrupt Church, and a society in moral decay, disregarding God’s law, seeking after “gods of humanism, materialism...New Age.”
What does God see and think when He looks at our country, when He looks at the Church in our country, when He looks at you and at me? We dare not take our comfortable condition as a Christian in a “most favored nation” as an indication that all is well-pleasing to God. We might be in dire need of breaking up the fallow ground of our heart, as Charles G. Finney talks about on pages 3 and 4. Take time, as he exhorts, to examine yourself. We might find ourselves drifting along in a languid mainstream of Christianity and likely to be spewed out with them.
Revival begins with brokenness as the article on page 1 tells. It continues with daily fullness of the Holy Spirit, as page 12 talks about. Might we all respond wholeheartedly to what God speaks to us in the pages of this issue.