A Contrite Spirit

“For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
‘I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’ ” Isaiah 57:15

” ‘For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,’ Says the Lord. ‘But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.’ ” Isaiah 66:2

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18

It is comforting to be reminded that God draws near to the contrite in spirit. The word contrite used here means crippled, broken or crushed. This is a person who has come to the end of himself and is broken by his sin and his inability to live a godly life in his own power. This is best illustrated by the passage from Psalm 51 written after King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and covered it up by having her husband murdered. Despite being described as a man after God’s own heart he had a fallen nature to battle as we all do and committed two terrible sins. However, once confronted with his sin by the Prophet Nathan he acknowledged his sin, humbled himself and became broken, contrite in spirit. David believed that God would purge his sin and make him again “whiter than snow” and restore to him the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:7-12). He learned that only God could renew a steadfast spirit within him (Psalm 51:10) as David was not able to live a holy life without staying close to God and allowing God to continually renew his spirit.

In the same way God will draw near to us who are contrite/humble in spirit, who acknowledge our total dependence on Him. Even then our fallen nature will betray us at times, as we stray from walking close to God, and we will sin. Our job is then to again offer a sacrifice of a broken, contrite heart to God as we repent of our sins. Then the one who inhabits eternity will dwell with us and revive our spirit and restore to us the joy of our salvation.

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