Proverbs 29:1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Warnings and Instructions
29:1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
23 A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
We’re all going to be broken-confronted with our sin and weakness, made to look into the mirror at the content of our own souls. The choice we have is whether to do it voluntarily or involuntarily. Will we humble ourselves, bow the neck and meekly acknowledge our sins, our weaknesses, our needs? Or will God, in His severe mercy, have to force the issue, dragging us kicking and screaming into the light of His penetrating gaze?
David did it both ways. In Psalm 139 he wrote:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
He knew the futility and destructiveness of trying to hide from God:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
And yet, when he failed with Bathsheba, descending into adultery (actually, more like rape, considering their relative stations) and murder, he tried to hide, covering things up and lie (most of all to himself) about his guilt.
It didn’t go well. I’ve aways suspected he penned Psalm 32 to express the agony and shame of those months of hiding:
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Our God is a Redeemer and a Rescuer. He doesn’t let His children languish forever in guilt and shame and hiding without offering a way of escape. Here’s Nathan in 2nd Samuel 12:
9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.
Ouch!! Fortunately, David’s heart was still tender enough to allow him to break. Psalm 51 is the beautiful, poignant expression of that brokenness:
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
In this matter, David chose the hard road to brokenness. It almost destroyed him. There’s a better option. It’s still brokenness, but it’s vulnerable and proactive. We take the initiative:
1 John 1:6-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.