The Contrite Heart
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isa. 57:15).
God's right to dwell among men has been challenged by evil forces in every age. Every opposing spirit has sought to claim the affections of men so fully that no one would desire His presence. But God has chosen to dwell "with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit." The Psalmist also tells us that – "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" (Psa. 34:18).
The words of Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, may seem strange in an hour when the powerful dealings of God with the heart are not deemed necessary. We live in an hour when the searchings of the Spirit are not appreciated; His probings are not welcomed. An atmosphere of proud independence in the heart is an insult to a holy God. It is only the broken heart and the contrite spirit that is prepared to have his need fully met. Our seeking must get us on the bottom of humility before God.
Isaiah had gotten a glimpse of what could and would happen if the fallow ground of a hard and impenitent heart could be broken up. The trouble lies in the fact that many have been content to go along religiously without going in for an old-fashioned, Holy Ghost revival. When we find our place in humility before God, He takes His place in our hearts. He comes in to abide.
Isaiah was not ashamed of the tie that forever exists between a contrite spirit and a revival atmosphere. That peculiar tie yet exists. God still revives the hearts of the contrite ones. Across the years it has been the place of lowliness and brokenness before God that has brought Heaven on the scene. It was this route of humility that caused Isaiah to anticipate a breaking out of revival fires. When we take God's way, we get through.
Heartbrokenness Too Rare
A sophisticated approach is being demanded more and more rather than the humble way of repentance. An intellectual treatment of the truth is destroying its effectiveness in too many lives. Struggling in a religious way has caused many to evade the humbling process. Heartbrokenness and contrition are too rare today.
What do hearts know about sorrowing after a godly sort? Where are those strange reactions that testify clearly as to "what carefulness is wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!" (2 Cor. 7:11).
The reproach is upon taking the way of humility before God. This could mean that having God's presence dwelling with us is at stake.
Pride goes cross-grain with God's breaking process. Pride has left many souls stubbornly independent from being molded by the divine Potter. It has left many hearts seeking around an altar of prayer without crumbling on the inside. God's leadership promotes this crumbling; it is the way down.
The opposition in spirit toward the breakdown necessary to having a true, Heaven-sent revival has become strong. The real issue of surrender is the despised issue. The truth that brings on that issue is becoming more and more a despised message.
We need to be awakened to the fact that we are not making any spiritual progress when we have a "hands-off" attitude toward the Holy Ghost. So-called seekers who are the victims of self-determination and a wavering unbelief are not true seekers. God always comes on the scene when He finds a contrite spirit. It has been the shocking absence of this brokenness of heart that has left many a child of God yearning for a real revival. We must see the tide turn Godward. When the breakdown comes, the revival will be on, and not until then.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise" (Psa. 51:17). The contrite heart is a sacrifice to God that goes beyond all external religious duties. A spirit rightly broken and a heart truly contrite is an excellent thing in God's sight. It is what saints of other days have called "being on the bottom." Soul trouble has stemmed from not getting there.
One sure cure for our whining efforts is a broken heart. Revivals still come on the same rugged lines that they always have. Heaven's favor rests on the obedience of the brokenhearted. God is ever on hand to assist the contrite one into the glorious certainty of hope and assurance. We do not need to fear the bottom of humility, for it is God's appointed meeting place with a contrite heart.
Make the Sacrifice
Do you want to find God? Make the sacrifice. Let the Holy Ghost bring on a revelation of your real need. Let your heart be rent and broken down in humility before God. Face the issues of perfect obedience.
Hearts need to stop living on the memory of the wretched failures that they have made and do as the Apostle exhorts in Romans 12:1 – "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." We can welcome God's humbling process by a reckless abandonment of ourselves to Him forever.
– From Emmanuel Herald.