Anything that is broken is deemed by man to be unfit and thrown away, but to God, only that which is broken can be used of Him. Just as flowers yield their perfume when they are squashed, so too are the vessels of God – his people – ready for revival only when they are broken. God draws near to us when we are broken. The Alabaster Box was broken before the perfume filled the room in Matthew 26.
The word break in Hebrew means: to shatter, smash or crush and describes the breaking of an earthen vessel. It also describes the breaking of a human heart. Psalm 34:18 says: ‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit’, and again in Ps 51:17: ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’
The emphasis must be more brokenness, not more power. He will increase in direct proportion to how much we decrease.
The Disciples of Jesus
Many believers today are like the 12 disciples of Jesus – they argued over who was the greatest, asking to sit on His right hand and left. They protested the need for the Lord to go to the cross and even drew the sword to defend Him in the garden. However, when they were endued with power during Jesus time, they came saying ‘Even the demons are subject to us through thy name’. Puffed up, they argued and refused to wash one another’s feet, but as broken men, they were in one mind and one accord. Thus the Spirit came in power and turned their world upside down.
Unity can be achieved when we take up the cross and die to our differing opinions and lay down our petty arguments and prejudices. A broken spirit is a peaceful spirit, and is able to abide with others.
When one studies the history of revivals, one comes across a thirsting and a brokenness that is administered to the vessel of God, before there is an infilling. They approached prayer with an attitude of brokenness.
David shows us a lesson of a leader who has a broken and a contrite heart after being dealt with by God. He had claimed many natural and spiritual battles, yet when he fell into sin, he prayed to God in an attitude of brokenness – Psalm 51:1: “Have mercy upon me, O God …’. Eventually he was called “a man after God’s own heart”. The difference in how God views him and his predecessor Saul was in David’s response to his sin when confronted. When King Saul was confronted with his sin, he defended, justified, and excused himself, blamed others, and tried to cover up both the sin and its consequences. In short, his response revealed a proud, unbroken heart. On the other hand, when King David was faced with his sin, he was willing to acknowledge his failure, to take personal responsibility for his wrongdoing, and to repent of his sin. His response was that of a humble, broken man. And his was the heart that God honored.
David’s prayer is for mercy, not for more anointing, or promotion or victories. He did not shift the responsibility of his sin by blaming someone. He cried – ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God’.
Peterus Octavianus, a man greatly used by God in the 1973 revival in Borneo, remind us that “Revivals do not begin happily with everyone having a good time. They start with a broken and contrite heart.” We will not see revival until we first meet God in brokenness. As we continue to pray for revival, may we pray that the Lord will release a spirit of brokenness in our own personal lives and over our nation.
In the next edition, we will be looking at the marks of brokenness.