The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. – Psalm 51:17
While in town, my 91-year old dad was interested in going to some antique shops. While at an antique shop in Columbia he spotted a statue of Abraham Lincoln. It was not a real antique, just a "vintage" plaster of Paris piece, some 41" to the top of his top hat. He bought it. But now the question was how to get it back to my sister's house in Highland, Illinois, where he currently is living. So we took it to the UPS packaging center on Columbia Pike and for around $120 Lincoln was on his way.
Once home my dad anxiously awaited the arrival of the Lincoln statue. It arrived on Tuesday, and the box appeared in very good shape. But upon opening the box, it was discovered that the statue was broken into many pieces: the head was broken off and the legs were broken in numerous places. In effect the statue was destroyed. When obtaining insurance at the UPS store my dad had wanted to put down $10,000 as the value, but I talked him out of it, putting down instead a value of $500 (much closer to what he actually paid. Now I wonder if it wouldn't have been better for him to make his $10,000 claim.)
In the Bible there are some many instances of different things being broken.
- On the night that Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and broke it, saying to his disciples, "This is my body which is BROKEN for you."
- Or how about the time when Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets of the laws in his hands? Upon seeing the golden calf (made by Aaron) and the people dancing, in a fit of anger Moses threw the tablets down and broke them at the foot of the mountain. The people had, in effect, broken the 2nd of the 10 commandments; Moses' breaking of the tablets was a sermon in stone to that effect.
- Judas Iscariot, in an act of contrition, took a rope and hung himself. But apparently the rope broke (Acts 1:18 with Matthew 27:5). It would seem that even the rope didn't want to comply with Judas' plans.
But of all the things that are ever broken, the one that God takes great delight in is the brokenness of our hearts before him. A repentant and broken heart is the one kind of heart that God loves.
My dad's Lincoln statue will likely end up in a land fill. Dad may try and put it back together, but it will never be like it was before. But when our hearts are broken before God, He – the Almighty – is able to put us back together again in a way that is BETTER than we were before. "Behold," Jesus said, "I am making all things NEW!" (Revelation 21:5). That's something neither my dad nor the UPS can ever do.