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God breaks bones!


In Psalm 51 David cries out to God from under the weight of his sin. One of the particularly striking parts of this penitential prayer is when David exclaims
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.(Verse 8)
According to David, it's not simply that his bones are broken, but rather that God Himself has broken them. Now, of course it is clear in the Psalm that David's speaking poetically here; his physical bones have not been snapped. Rather David is talking about being crushed by the weight of his sin. Yet the point remains: it is God who does the crushing.

Now that might not sound the nicest, but in fact being crushed by God is a great thing. Why on earth would I say that? Well, you see being crushed is essential to repentance. In fact the New Testament uses even stronger language than that of God breaking bones; in the New Testament we're told that God kills us by His law (Rom 7:9-12)!

Now, perhaps that sounds a bit depressing; however, Paul makes clear that being killed by the law is a good thing (Rom 7:12). Why? Well, simply because we need to be killed before we can be made alive. Living people cannot be made alive. Only the dead can be raised to life. If I think I am alive, then it won't make any sense to me when someone tells me that Christ gives life; I would think I didn't need what I already had.

That's where God's breaking of bones comes in. God needs to kill us, so that we know our need of life in Christ. In fact, we're dead already, 'dead in trespasses and sins' (Eph 2:1). What God's law actually does is reveal this to us. God's law kills us by showing us that we're actually dead. Then as the dead who know they're dead, we can be raised to newness of life in Christ, through His death and resurrection.

The dead need to know they're dead. We all need to feel the true weight of our sin and be crushed by it. Hence, God needs to break our bones.

But, Psalm 51:8 doesn't leave us there with bones broken.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
The broken bones may rejoice. But how? When God makes them hear joy and gladness! When God makes them hear the Good News, the Gospel. God is not only the breaker of bones, but also the binder of bones! And he does this by His two words; by His law he breaks, by His Gospel he binds.

God's breaking of bones is a good thing because it allows man to see his true condition and his true need of the Gospel. God's breaking of bones is a good thing because it leads to repentance. God's breaking of bones is a good thing because it leads to His binding of bones.