The LORD is near to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit.
The Lord is nigh. Now to be nigh to one object is to be more or less distant from others. So is it with men, and human language is employed to represent what is here told us of God. He cannot really be far from any heart. But, in a very deep sense, He is nigh the broken heart — to help, to comfort, to save.
I. Look AT THE BROKEN HEART AND CONTRITE SPIRIT. "A broken heart," a "crushed spirit," what is it? The heart before us may be Considered to be like a piece of fine mechanism disordered, or some work of art fractured — some work of art made of exquisitely delicate material, and of very fine workmanship; or like flesh when worn and bruised. We selfish men like to look on things that are pleasant, and we frequently turn our faces away from that which is unpleasant. You always find God's face turned towards objects like unto these broken hearts and crushed spirits.
II. NOW TO SUCH A HEART GOD IS NIGH, AND SUCH A SPIRIT GOD SEEKS TO SAVE.
1. He "is nigh" in knowledge, He knows all its history.
2. In ministration. "He saveth such," etc. When God heals the broken heart, it is none the worse for having been broken. An angel could not do this; God can, and does.
III. LEARN THE LESSONS OF THIS TRUTH.
1. DO not morbidly crave for creature help and fellowship. You can do without them, for God Himself is nigh.
2. Do not think, feel, or act as if He were far off. He has all along known how you would be placed, and He is nigh.
3. Remember that the resources of God are available in the hour of greatest need.
4. Do not despond or despair. You may be broken in heart, or crushed in spirit, without despondency, or despair, being elements of your sorrow; you may either cherish these feelings or fight against them. Now the feeblest fighting against them is victorious, if this struggle be carried on in the name of the Redeemer of men. If you find yourself sinking into some horrible pit of despondency and despair, it is your most sacred duty to cry importunately unto Him.
5. Look a little further by the light of this text, and observe that a broken heart and a crushed Spirit are named not as uncommon things. These are not uncommon things in human life; and you who are accustomed to look beyond surface, and beyond curtains, and draperies, and shams, and masks, know this as well as I.
6. But look once more at the text, and mark, that God being nigh is mentioned as something ordinary. A broken heart is common — God's saving is a common thing. Some of you need this text. You need it as a word of warning. You seem to have set yourselves in a kind of morbid obstinacy to cherish a broken heart and a crushed spirit. You seem to have determined to perpetuate your misery. Now this text tells you where to turn for help. You cannot find it apart from God. No man ever yet healed his own crushed spirit, never will. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Your fellow-Christians, religious books, consolatory hymns — all these are good so long as they lead you to God, but if they come between you and the Great Helper, you are better without them. These books cannot do the work you require to be done for you.
Parallel VersesKJV: The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.