Day 17

The Sacrifices of God

from the Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross reading plan

Lamentations 2:12-22, Psalm 51:15-19

BY Guest Writer

Text: Lamentations 2:12-22, Psalm 51:15-19

Among the many traits the girls in my family have acquired from their mama (enormously wild hair and enthusiastic thesaurus-reading not to be forgotten), is that fact that we possess some pretty sensitive souls. I mean, we feel all the feels. My mom likes to tell the story of how, at age four, I completely lost it because my dad gave me a goodnight kiss and did not equally place both his lips on top of both of my lips. I’m still reeling from the rejection. What that means in my current household, though, is that during any watching of children’s movies, insurance advertisements or yes, even game shows, my finger must be constantly poised on the remote control so I can power “off” when the offending purple minion, car accident dramatization or embarrassingly wrong Final Jeopardy response comes on screen.

Admittedly, when I read through these very dark, very sorrowful passages in Lamentations, I wish I had my finger on the remote control and could power “off.” The destruction, the groans, the torment—it is unbearable. And the author, once a matter-of-fact eyewitness, is tortured, his heart pouring out on the ground because of the devastation God has inflicted against a sinful people (Lamentations 2:11). In other words, he gives new meaning to “feeling all the feels.”

But isn’t that the point? How can we truly experience real repentance without sorrow?

God wants nothing less than broken spirits and contrite hearts when we come before Him for His forgiveness. Any ritualistic sacrifices, any well-crafted prayers, any flowery pleas for mercy—without being genuinely crushed by the true tragedy of our sins—are utterly and totally meaningless. God wants only your authentic expressions of repentance, no thesauruses required.

God doesn’t want us to just be “bummed out” by the consequences of sin in our lives and our world, He wants us to know what true, godly sorrow looks and feels like. He wants our hearts to break like His, and for us to gather up those messy hearts and bring them before Him laid bare, without pretentiously tying them up in a neat little package.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart…” (Psalm 51:17).  Nothing more. Nothing less.

My remote-control strategy of parenting has backfired into sleepless nights a time or two, with those last-seen images burning into little minds and re-entering them, unfortunately, right at bedtime. I quickly learned that I had to, somehow, help my children get through the hard parts of the narrative if they were ever going to see and appreciate how the story ends. I don’t want them to miss it.

We have a Father who loves each and every one of His children enough to break our hearts, so that our own story never actually ends at all, but lives on with Him for Eternity. Even though it costs us the anguish of standing in the midst of the ugly destruction of our own sin, it cost our God far more—the sacrifice of His own precious Son. He will bring beauty from the ashes—and more than anything, He doesn’t want you to miss it.

Sarah Matheny is an ever-growing, ever-changing gal, laughing and living in the Pacific Northwest. One-time attorney, food blogger, and author, all-the-time wife and mom to three wild-eyed, spunky girly girls, she’s passionate about her family, her friends and growing in her walk with Christ as He dishes up an always unpredictable, but totally delicious life.




Post Comments (112)

112 thoughts on "The Sacrifices of God"

  1. Kelcie says:

    Like many have already said, I am a person who does not "feel all the feels." I'm an even-tempered, steady, rational, practical "good girl" who has walked with God since… as long as I can remember. I have always struggled with being broken over my sin and feeling "crushed" by it. Sometimes I truly wish I was more of person prone to "feel" so I could have a different experience with God. And while I DO need to realize more the severity of my sin (though they might not be outward and "mainstream"), I have also learned that the make-up God gave me (a faithful, even-tempered, follower of Him) is the way He wanted me. I have an experience with God that others don't and there is no right or wrong "make-up" of our temperments.

  2. Valanne says:

    Perefect for those of us that get too caught up in the details–

    Nothing more–"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart…"– Nothing less.

    You've already heard it, but I'll add that I've missed the way you illuminate the Word. Thanks for the treat Sarah.

  3. Sarah says:

    I pray for true repentance and a desire to share my faith with others. Those sins, that life which pushed me so far from God also make it hard for me to align my words with Him. I have precious friends and close ones who are not following Him. I pray for strength in the Lord as I seek His will. I pray to cling not to my feeble morality but to a love and sacrifice of a Savior. May my life be one transformed by the Gospel and sway others accordingly.

  4. Bethany says:

    I like to think of my life as a book — plenty of chapters, some great, some sad, a lot of it hopefully wonderful. I think that when I get to heaven there will be my book. I love that today you said, “our own story never actually ends at all but lives in with Him for Eternity.” Exactly!

  5. Kristen Gula says:

    This was exactly what I needed to read today.

  6. Daisy says:

    I feel like this was written for me- I am trying to be truly repentant for something I have done. Not just sorry it happened, but fully understanding the harm it did to others and really feeling their pain and my pain at being a sinner. I’ve been glossing over that pain, but I need to acknowledge and feel it if I am really going to be broken enough to let God change me.

  7. Beverly says:

    I feel stuck. Stuck between the life God wants for me and the life I’m actually living. Life seems to be standing still. After the chill of winter there are many ‘dead’ places in my life that need filling. And the only place of life (in my life) is my marriage. I love my Husband dearly and truly believe that God brought us together. But I feel that as I try to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus, it might push my Husband away. I know that at times my pride can rear its ugly head and I can be a know-it-all when we read the Bible together. Yet I can’t help but have a little fear that I’ll move too fast for us or ‘leave him behind.’ And I don’t want that. I want to grow together.
    I want to live the life that God has for us. Not a cookie cutter, pre-made mold of what I think it looks like to be a Christian, but an abundant life full of intention and grace and love and joy designed for us. And I feel so far from that & sometimes have a hard time believing it exists.
    I know this is a little off topic today. But I’m having a hard time with bringing my brokenness to God knowing my Husband might break differently or not at all. Then again, maybe I’m holding all (!) of this a little too tightly…
    Please pray for me, ladies.

    1. Rene Clark says:

      I’m praying for you today, Beverly.

      1. Beverly says:

        I appreciate your prayers, Rene.

    2. Amy Stubblefield says:

      Praying for you. All in His timing, even spirits being broken are in His time. Just keep praying Gods will for him, not yours.

      1. Beverly says:

        Thank you, Amy. I appreciated the reminder – God's will and not my own. His ways and plans are SO much better than anything I could ever do or hope for.

    3. Michelle says:

      Beverly – these are beautiful words. Praying for you today that the Holy Spirit would continue to draw you close and bring you wisdom and truth – our God loves you so much!

      1. Beverly says:

        Michelle, your encouragement was such a blessing to my heart. Thank you.

    4. Michelle says:

      Hebrews 10:23 “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful”!

    5. Bethany says:

      Beverly, if you’re giving it all to God, you can’t go wrong! :)

      1. Beverly says:

        So simple yet so true. Thanks, Bethany. :)

    6. Stephanie says:

      Beverly, I used to have the same exact fear, and I let it keep me from experiencing Jesus in His fullness. When I finally let go of that fear and started pursuing God on my own, without worrying about what my husband was doing, two amazing things occurred. I fell in love with Jesus like I never had before, and my marriage (that wasn’t bad to begin with) improved! And now my husband is growing more in his relationship with the Lord. I wouldn’t go back to where we were for anything. The closer you get to Jesus, the more you realize that all that matters is how well we love. And of your husband is feeling more love from you, he will be drawn to you (and Jesus!), not pushed away. Run hard toward Jesus. You won’t regret it!

      1. Beverly says:

        So grateful for your wise words and encouragement, Stephanie. Your experience gives me such hope! Thank you for sharing.

    7. Nicole says:

      Wow! Beverly, I think I’ve been feeling the same way and just not known how to put it into words. But you did so eloquently & I just want the same things! Thank you for helping me to see what my heart has been searching for. And Stephanie, your encouragement means so much!!! Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m taking a leap of faith today & running hard after Jesus. I hope you’ll join me, Beverly. Praying for you & your hubby, sweet girl!

      1. Beverly says:

        Yes! Joining you, Nicole, to run hard after Jesus! Taking the leap of faith too. :) Thank you for your prayers.

    8. Carol Mohorc-Kroll says:

      Beverly I loved what you wrote. I will pass on something an older (& I'm 71 now) & wise Christian woman told me. She & her husband very devout in their walk with the Lord & reading of His Word. "A husband & wife will never be on the same page Spiritually."
      I've lost two husbands within a four year period. The first of 48 years, the second of seven weeks. God has brought me to a place of peace but I still grieve over them. Sometime within a few minutes of each other. I know that's weird. The pastor that led my first husband to the Lord told me: "Women are wired different then men, we are more "relational". Neither of my husbands was in the Word. But my late husband was hungry & I was able to share with him in the brief time we had. God will give us each, individually, only what we can handle & understand in His Word. As a leader in a Bible study (BSF) I know I am not as deep as some of the other women & that bothered me. I felt guilty as if I weren't putting enough time or myself in it. But I know my limitations. I also know when I read God's Word, & I "get it" & it makes me feel really alive inside, that's all I can hope for & thank God for. Praise God for a husband that is IN the Word of God. C.

      1. Beverly says:

        Carol, I am so sorry for your losses. I cannot imagine losing a husband, but I'm glad God has brought your heart to a place of peace and comfort. This was so encouraging – "God will give us each, individually, only what we can handle & understand in His Word." I agree and appreciate that you shared your story. Saying a prayer for you now, sweet Carol.

    9. Cheryl says:

      In the early days of our marriage, I began to pray for God to mold my husband into the spiritual leader in our home. At that time, I was the one who led out in spiritual development. Today, my husband is in full time music ministry and on staff at a local church. Remember, the prayers of the righteous availeth much. I also had to pray for humility and a submissive spirit for myself.

      1. Beverly says:

        Thank you, Cheryl. Praying for a humble, surrendered heart to God so that I can better serve my Husband (and everyone else!)

  8. Jessica says:

    Mama pea! So happy to see you writing here- I’ve missed your words so much!

    1. sarahphillipsmatheny says:

      Thanks, Jessica! Hello and blessings to you. <3

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