“Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.”
~Psalm 51:8-9 (NIV).
Psalm 51 must just about be the grandest of all psalms for its sheer power of conviction and personal weight of sin borne, as felt in the one betraying God. We stand at the threshold. Broken beyond comprehension, yet so fantastically close to the freshest revelation of salvation there ever is, we’re suddenly seeing the radiant fullness of God’s light; our place in the recency of our sin-filled reality.
Yet, God causes in us not so such a weight of guilt and shame to run from it, but a seriously-bent conviction to meet it head-on in our abject brokenness. In a moment we’re shown spiritually, in our raw honesty, a way through the guilt and shame to the most paradoxical sense of triumph; his foreboding grace.
This is genuine salvation.
Has our LORD broken you like this yet?
I’m personally very unsure there is a better way to God than via a true ‘rock bottom’ experience; a time where either sinful or spiritual pride (for both are inevitably sinful) are crushed beyond recognition, and sufficiently so, that God then has what’s left, a vessel entirely set-apart (i.e. sanctifiable and hence made holy) for his use.
The great thing about the magnitude of mood of Psalm 51 is it “wants us to realize the deep connection between our sins and our sinfulness”—that we’re spiritually marooned without God’s leading role over our lives. And simply far too many of us just don’t have this recognition before the time of brokenness that God would inflict, for his purposes.
There are exceptions—people seemingly born of humility. These know their weight of sinfulness and naturally make very great Christian disciples, blessed they are “genetically” (it seems) of God.
Hypocrisy is so generally far flung from the person broken by God. This is the great blessing. God has tenderised the soul of this person with his flaming touch and they’ll never ever be the same again. They have an aversion to stayed hypocrisy in their lives. They have an innate hate of selfishness—but not in a self-righteous way. The life has been transformed and a repentant perspective will now characterise the adherent. Life can now be no other way.
And God is praised in all this, for the light truly goes on! Suddenly faith makes sense. The visceral knowledge of God is suddenly awakened; the re-birth is a flourishing actuality.
I truly wonder if God will ever entirely have his way with us—in the specific sense—if we’re not broken first. A person is either entirely for God or against him; there is no middle ground as far as God’s concerned.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
 James L. Mays, Psalms – Interpretation (Louisville, Kentucky: John Knox Press, 1994), p. 204.