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Psalm 51:1–19 ‘You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.’ (vv16–17)

Sacrificially serving the Lord is one thing, but this in itself can become unhealthy if done with impure motives or as a means to demonstrate our spirituality. King David, after committing adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11), thought he could carry on in His God-appointed role without being held accountable.

However, verse 27 of 2 Samuel 11 tells us that, ‘the thing David had done displeased the LORD’. This led to the Lord admonishing David through the prophet Nathan (2 Sam. 12:1–12). Convicted by the Lord’s words, David subsequently confessed, ‘I have sinned against the LORD’ (2 Sam. 12:13). Having further reflected on his actions, David penned Psalm 51, where he would write, ‘My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise’ (v17).

Religious service and sacrifice are no substitute for service that arises out of brokenness and thankfulness. The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, verses 26–31, tells us that, ‘God chose the lowly things of this world… so that no-one may boast.’ 

As we realise our weakness and brokenness before a holy God, and as we offer ourselves to Him with a contrite spirit, in true, heartfelt service, this is true worship. It is only in the light of His holiness when compared to our brokenness and imperfections – that our service becomes authentic and Christ-centred as we offer our broken selves to Him.


Isa. 57:14–21; Isa. 66:1–22; 1 Cor. 1:18–31; 2 Cor. 12:1–10


Think about your motivation for service. Is there anything in your life
that you need to take time to confess?


‘Lord, I pray that my busyness will not be a barrier to hearing Your voice,
to receiving Your correction. Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me. Amen.’

photograph by Harman

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.