“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contri te ones.” Isaiah 57:15
The first two kings of Israel were Saul and David. There are many similarities between these two men. The prophet Samuel chose both from similar backgrounds. Both were shepherds. Both were chosen as outstanding young men. Both were outstanding leaders and fighters, and developed an amazing devotion from those men who followed them. Both were apparently extremely loyal to their fathers. Both had numerous battles against the Philistines. Both came to a situation in their life where they sinned against the Lord and had to be reprimanded by a prophet; Saul by Samuel and David by Nathan. This is where the similarities seem to end. From this point, on they took totally opposite courses in their lives.
The Lord rejected Saul and his life deteriorated until his eventual death. David rose back up, was forgiven and was given a new opportunity. His life was filled with many more great accomplishments while Saul’s ceased. The difference between them, was that when they sinned, David reacted with a contrite spirit. Saul reacted with rebellion. It is amazing how many people are not contrite, and thus cannot be rebuked for their own edification. Many lives are sealed to destruction because they lack a contrite spirit.
1. A contrite Christian makes no excuses.
Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. Psalm 141:5
When Adam and Eve were found in the Garden of Eden, both of them began to make excuse. Too often we are on the defensive so much that we make excuses when we are rebuked. We seem to be trying to justify the way we are living. When you are rebuked for something in your life, do not make excuse for it. When you hear a sermon preached that rebukes something in your life that ought to be changed, have a contrite spirit. Contrite spirits make no excuses.
2. A contrite Christian will not justify.
As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. Proverbs 25:12
Saul tried to justify what he did. He made rationalizations to attempt to justify why he had disobeyed God. Many Christians try to justify what they do by making various excuses or by making justification for the reason why they do what they do. There is no justification for that which is wrong in the Christian’s life.
3. The contrite Christian will not rebel.
When Cain was rebuked, he rebelled and destroyed his own life. Saul was rebellious in his spirit and the Bible says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. A lot of Christians rebel when the preacher rebukes them, yet they love it when he rebukes others. Rebellion comes because our spirit is not contrite. A contrite spirit always submits and never rebels.
4. A contrite Christian will not fight back or attack.
A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise. Proverbs 15:12
Saul was wrong when he refused to fight Goliath, and yet he tried to kill David because David did that which was right. Cain was wrong in the sacrifice that he brought to God, yet he rose up and killed Abel because Abel did that which was right. Isn’t it strange how many times a Christian who is wrong, is the one who tries to wrong another Christian who is right? A contrite Christian never tries to attack another Christian because of that which has been revealed in his or her own life. Criticism is something that we ought to put upon ourselves, never upon others.
5. A contrite Christian will never cast blame.
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:5
We live in a society where it is always somebody else’s fault. We blame friends, family, backgrounds, personalities, circumstances and even our genes for that which we do. When we make a mistake in our lives it is important to say with David, I have sinned. Psalm 51 shows that wonderful contrite spirit that David possessed.
6. A contrite Christian will not harden.
He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, and shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy. Proverbs 29:1
When your heart is hardened, you are in danger of having your life destroyed. A contrite person has a tender heart. Many people have their lives ruined because their heart is so hard that they cannot be corrected, therefore they do not heed the warnings given to them.
7. A contrite Christian will not be proud.
Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Proverbs 9:7-9
David humbled himself before the Lord for the sins he committed. Saul was filled with pride and refused to confess. When we know that something is wrong in our lives and we have been rebuked, we should be willing to make things totally right in our lives. Tragically, some Christians are too proud to come to the altar and make right the wrongs in their lives.
8. A contrite Christian will not ignore it.
And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. II Chronicles 36:15-16
Do not laugh it off. Do not take it with a grain of salt. Do not simply put it aside. You ought to hunger for rebuke, correction, reprimand, instruction and the things that preaching is supposed to do in our lives. We should come to the Lord each day and say, “Oh Lord, teach me today how I might be more like thee.” This ought to be the desire of all God’s people; to have an attitude of facing our sins and tenderly repenting before our God.
Many lives could be salvaged if God’s people would have the contrite heart that we are commanded to have in God’s Word.