Pursuing the Metaphor

In John Bunyan’s work Acceptable Sacrifice, he delves deeply into the passage Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, o God, thou wilt not despise.”

This morning I was reading more on the section concerning the actual metaphor he was using about the broken-hearted man and how he sees himself.  For instance, a man with a broken leg knows he is in poor condition.  If asked, “How are you?” He answers, “In poor condition indeed.”  The man that is poor in his own eyes, for of him we discuss because he is sensible of his wants and knows he cannot help himself.

  • The broken hearted now knows his wants, and he knew it not till now.  Just like a man with a broken leg never had need of a doctor to set the bone until his leg was broken.  The person who finds themselves spiritually poor discover that they ‘want’ of God and His mercy.
    • the desire a right and title to Jesus Christ and all his benefits (giving us a right to the kingdom of heaven)
    • He also desires a saving faith to be rich in Him (giving the soul the comfort of heaven)
  • The broken hearted is poor because he knows he cannot help himself to what he knows he wants. (Psalm 51:16) The only one with spiritual ‘gold’ to sell is Christ (Rev 3:18)
  • The broken hearted man is poor and sees it; he begs for mercy (Psa 34:6)
Another sign of a broken heart is crying, both real and metaphorically.  Pain as you know will make a person cry.  Go to any place where people are physically in pain, and pain makes a person cry out.  When the soul sees its brokenness it cries out.
  • Anguish will make you cry.  David experienced much of this in his life time and many of his psalms speak of his anguish, his crying out to God for salvation (Psa 119:143)  Not the type of pity party found in Jer 31:18 where Ephraim bemoans himself,
  • When we cry out, we often cry to another person. “Oh the bitter cries and complaints that the broken hearted have and make to one another! Still every on imagining that his own wounds are deepest, and his own sores fullest of anguish, and hardest to be cured.” (Eze 33:10)
  • The broken hearted finally cry out to God  (Psa 88:1-3, Psa 130:1, Jonah 2:2)  By these words they express what painful condition they were in when they cried.

Acceptable Sacrifice is such a great read!  If you are feeling broken hearted yourself, Bunyan offers rich passages to read on mercy and grace.  He uses scripture to lead you down the path to peace.  I really believe this should be a must read for any believer, even with the old English to work through 😉

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