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Brokenness

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God breaks the spirit of the proud and arrogant so that in their humility and brokenness they may come to repentance and restoration. A crushed heart or spirit may be caused by tragic circumstances or by God’s judgment.

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Psalm 51:16–19 ESV
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Brokenness before God

Psalm 51:17 ESV
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
See also ; ; ; ;
Psalm 34:18 ESV
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 51:8 ESV
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Isaiah 57:15 ESV
15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Isaiah 66:2 ESV
2 All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Zechariah 12:10 ESV
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Brokenness of heart

Psalm 147:3 ESV
3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
See also ; ; ; ; ;
Psalm 34:18 ESV
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 69:20 ESV
20 Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.
Psalm 109:16 ESV
16 For he did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
Isaiah 61:1 ESV
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
Jeremiah 23:9 ESV
9 Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the Lord and because of his holy words.
Ezekiel 21:6–7 ESV
6 “As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes. 7 And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that it is coming. Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming, and it will be fulfilled,’ ” declares the Lord God.

Brokenness of spirit

Job 17:1 ESV
1 “My spirit is broken; my days are extinct; the graveyard is ready for me.
See also ;
Job 30:24 ESV
24 “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, and in his disaster cry for help?
Job 31:38–40 ESV
38 “If my land has cried out against me and its furrows have wept together, 39 if I have eaten its yield without payment and made its owners breathe their last, 40 let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended.

Brokenness as a result of God’s judgment

On individuals

Isaiah 1:28 ESV
28 But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
See also ; ; ;
Job 24:20 ESV
20 The womb forgets them; the worm finds them sweet; they are no longer remembered, so wickedness is broken like a tree.’
Isaiah 8:12–15 ESV
12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”
Isaiah 65:14–15 ESV
14 behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart and shall wail for breaking of spirit. 15 You shall leave your name to my chosen for a curse, and the Lord God will put you to death, but his servants he will call by another name,
Jeremiah 22:24–30 ESV
24 “As I live, declares the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off 25 and give you into the hand of those who seek your life, into the hand of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die. 27 But to the land to which they will long to return, there they shall not return.” 28 Is this man Coniah a despised, broken pot, a vessel no one cares for? Why are he and his children hurled and cast into a land that they do not know? 29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! 30 Thus says the Lord: “Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days, for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah.”

On nations

Ezekiel 32:28 ESV
28 But as for you, you shall be broken and lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword.
See also ; ; ; ;
Jeremiah 48:4–5 ESV
4 Moab is destroyed; her little ones have made a cry. 5 For at the ascent of Luhith they go up weeping; for at the descent of Horonaim they have heard the distressed cry of destruction.
Jeremiah 48:16–17 ESV
16 The calamity of Moab is near at hand, and his affliction hastens swiftly. 17 Grieve for him, all you who are around him, and all who know his name; say, ‘How the mighty scepter is broken, the glorious staff.’
Jeremiah 48:38–39 ESV
38 On all the housetops of Moab and in the squares there is nothing but lamentation, for I have broken Moab like a vessel for which no one cares, declares the Lord. 39 How it is broken! How they wail! How Moab has turned his back in shame! So Moab has become a derision and a horror to all that are around him.”
Jeremiah 50:23–24 ESV
23 How the hammer of the whole earth is cut down and broken! How Babylon has become a horror among the nations! 24 I set a snare for you and you were taken, O Babylon, and you did not know it; you were found and caught, because you opposed the Lord.
Jeremiah 51:6–10 ESV
6 “Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance, the repayment he is rendering her. 7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad. 8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. 9 We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed. Forsake her, and let us go each to his own country, for her judgment has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies. 10 The Lord has brought about our vindication; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.

Brokenness as contrition

Isaiah 66:1–2 ESV
1 Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? 2 All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
See also ; ;
Psalm 34:18 ESV
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 51:16–17 ESV
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Isaiah 57:14–21 ESV
14 And it shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.” 15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. 16 For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made. 17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. 18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, 19 creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him. 20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
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