Explaining the Book

Bible Study Guide

Psalms

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

In a mass email dated Monday, October 2, 2017, the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, uttered these words of assurance:

Scripture teaches us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

But what Scripture is he referring to? Where is this passage in the Bible? And what is God trying to teach us through this statement?

The Scripture passage that our president is referring to is found in Psalm 34:18. And here is how it reads in the King James Version of the Bible.

18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

What is God saying here? He’s saying that he isn’t near to those who think they’re fine. He’s near to those whose hearts are broken. Our external deeds of goodness must come from a heart which knows how bad it truly is and is broken by that fact.

God doesn’t save people whose spirit is proud and lifted up and haughty. He saves those whose spirits are contrite – or another way to say that is crushed or even destroyed.

And I’m sure if that describes you and me, we tend to view these as bad things. To have a broken heart – to have a crushed spirit. Those realities don’t quite fit the peppy spirit of this age. The world wouldn’t tend to view someone with a crushed spirit and broken heart as someone who is spiritual.

And yet these qualities are those that God looks for in an individual whom he will be near to and whom he will save.

For more information on the rest of Psalm 34, visit our Psalm 34 Commentary.

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