Messages from Pastor Raddatz

August 15, 2021, Mount Olive Lutheran Church Houston TX Other texts for today: Proverbs 9:1-10, Ephesians 5:6-21 and John 6:51-69


Dear People of God,

Psalm 34:18ff, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit”.

Psalm 34:18 is the psalm for the day.  It brings together all the readings for the day. Today, this psalm reminds us of the blessing of brokenness.

Will you pray with me?  “Dear Heavenly Father, Often I want my own way in life.  I depend on the strength that I think I have, so you allow events to happen that break my pride and shatter my independence.  You desire my contrition and my remorse.  You desire my obedience and my respect.  In your word you call this submission.  Through Christ’s death on the cross you save me and all people from eternal damnation. Through your kindness you break us from our desired independence from you to desired dependence on you where we find true freedom.”

A long time ago I used to think that spiritual freedom meant freedom from trouble.  I have learned that true spiritual freedom means that God and only God can give me the strength and wisdom I need for life.


              Psalm 34 is a Psalm of David when he faked madness appearing mentally unstable before Abimilech.  David and his men ran and hid in a cave called Adullum.  It was probably there that David penned this Psalm of praise for deliverance.  It is a Hebrew acrostic, using each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, except for “waw”, to begin each verse.


  • Brokenness is not suffering.  Suffering is used by our Heavenly Father as a vehicle for spiritual freedom, but suffering alone is not brokenness.  For the Christian, suffering is to be expected.  Jesus said, “…in me you have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” -John 16:33
  • Brokenness is not unresolved pain. Today it is common to hear someone say that they are sexually, emotionally, relationally or some other type of “broken” because of events in their past, which are causing negative consequences in their present.


    • A growing awareness that no matter how hard I try, my ability to make my life work is getting worse instead of better.
    • An orchestrated work of God who loves me too much to permit my fleshly coping mechanisms to keep working for me.
    • The results of the Holy Spirit moving me to the other side of brokenness so that I am changed by Him, not by my efforts.
    • A growing experience of the reality of my union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
    • Not a one-time event. Though many people can point to a time when the process of brokenness brought about a huge spiritual shift to greater freedom, they eventually realize that there are other “miniature versions” of brokenness as part of their ongoing conformity to the image of Christ. See Romans 8:28-29. Grace for Living International



              God desires that brokenness bring repentance, which is:

              1. Terrors smiting the conscience through the knowledge of sin.

              2. the other part of repentance is faith, which is born of the good news of the Gospel that for Christ’s sake: sins are forgiven, comforts the conscience and delivers it from terrors. -Augsburg Confession: Repentance



God delivers us from our broken heart through the peace of the cross.   Through Jesus death on the cross for the sins of the whole world, we have peace with God.

God will either provide strength to get through the trouble we are experiencing, or he will end it in eternity.

              The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart: This teaching from David was wonderful for the men at the cave at Adullam to hear. They – being in debt, distressed, and discontent – were likely those with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. They were objects of God’s favor and salvation, not His scorn. -David Guzik

Brokenness to freedom comes to those whose hearts or spirits are truly and deeply humbled under the hand of God.” (Poole)

God draws near during brokenness: “A bird with a broken wing, an animal with a broken leg, a woman with a broken heart, a man with a broken purpose in life – these seem to drop out of the main current of life into shadow. They go apart to suffer and droop. The busy rush of life goes on without them. But God draws nigh.” (Meyer)

“Broken hearts think God is far away, when he is really most near to them; their eyes are holden (clouded) so that they see not their best friend. Indeed, he is with them, and in them, but they know it not.” (Spurgeon)

Spiritual transformation comes through a contrite spirit: “‘The beaten-out spirit’…the hammer is necessarily implied; in breaking to pieces the ore first, and then plating out the metal when it has been separated from the ore.” (Clarke)

Will you join me in prayer, “Heavenly Father we praise you and adore you for who you are.  You love us enough to break us from our desire to have our own way.  Your way is best.  Through your help we can follow it.  We thank you for bringing lasting deliverance through the cross of Christ.   Grant us your strength and wisdom to endure what you allow and help us live out our calling of following you.   Through your Word and Spirit we can be faithful unto death and receive the crown of life.” Amen.

Pastor John Raddatz, “To God Be the Glory” =SDG

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