Definition: In the positive spiritual sense, brokenness is the condition of being completely subdued and humbled before the Lord, and as a result, completely yielded to and dependent upon Him also.
1. The Lord loves the broken in heart, who draw close to Him in their brokenness.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite [repentant, regretful] spirit.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
Isaiah 57:15 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 contrite ones.
Isaiah 66:2b But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word.
Hosea 10:12b [God compares our hearts to a garden, and for a garden to bear fruit the ground has to be broken up so that it is able to receive water] Break up your fallow [uncultivated, unseeded] ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you. [See also Jeremiah 4:3]
Joel 2:13 [The Lord wants us to have an inner victory, not just a temporary, fleshly one] And rend [break or tear] your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor [humble] in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
2. If we yield to the breaking process it will be easier on us than if God has to force His breaking on us.
Matthew 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this Stone [Jesus] shall be broken: but on whomsoever It shall fall, It will grind him to powder. [See also Luke 20:18]
Psalm 32:9a [Unyielded people need to be more forcibly guided or restrained:] Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle.
Proverbs 13:15b The way of transgressors is hard.
Proverbs 26:3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
3. God breaks us in order to re-make us into what He wants us to be.
Isaiah 64:8 But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.
Jeremiah 18:3,4,6 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred [disfigured] in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it… 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. [See also Isaiah 45:9; Romans 9:20,21]
2 Timothy 2:20,21 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
4. The Lord draws near to comfort us in our breakings.
Job 5:18 For He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole.
Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Jeremiah 33:6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me [Jesus], because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. [See also Isaiah 61:1-3]
5. Through the breaking/remaking process, God promises to give us an new heart.
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [See also Ezekiel 11:19]
Psalm 51:8,10 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice…. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Jeremiah 24:7 And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.
6. Sorrow often accompanies breakings, but godly sorrow is good for us.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 [There is] a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
Jeremiah 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.
Ecclesiastes 7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. [See also Luke 6:21b]
Matthew 26:75 [Even though Peter denied the Lord and was deeply broken by having done so, he later went on to become a dynamic leader and soul winner in the Early Church:] And Peter remembered the Word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. [SeeActs 2:14-41 for the beginning of Peter’s victorious comeback]
2 Corinthians 2:7 [Paul encourages the brethren to comfort and encourage one who had done a serious wrong, but who had been corrected for it and was sorry:] Contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
2 Corinthians 7:9,10 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of [regretted]: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
James 4:9,10 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.
7. God warns us against being hard and unbroken.
Job 9:4b Who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered?
2 Chronicles 36:11-16 [Young king hardened his heart against God, and though he reigned 11 years, he lost the kingdom in the end, seeing the death of his sons and being made blind by his enemies, thus becoming Judah’s last king:] Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign…. 12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord. 13 … But he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel.… [Zedekiah’s people also mocked the Lord and His prophets] 15 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: 16 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.
Psalm 95:7,8 For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. To day if ye will hear His voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.
Proverbs 28:14 Happy is the man that feareth [God] alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Daniel 5:20 [The prophet, Daniel testifies to King Belshazzar about the hardness of his grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, who lost his power to reign because of hardness and pride] But when his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
Hebrews 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation [rebellion]. [See also Exodus 17:1-7]