“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
The First Stone
Malicious scribes and Pharisees bring an anonymous woman caught in adultery to Jesus in the Gospel of John. They aim to put Jesus through his paces. Would He, as a man of mercy, go against the Mosaic Law? Jesus remains silent and scribbles in the mud (similar to Jeremiah penning the Israelites’ sins and the Lord’s finger inscribing the stone tablet with His Ten Commandments). Then Jesus confronts them, saying, “Let anyone who is without fault be the first to hurl the first stone.” (See John 8:7) The men disperse in humiliation, including her ruthless accomplice in crime. Following their leave, Jesus inquires from her “Woman, where are they?” “Has no one sentenced you?”
Friend Of Sinners
Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus drew close to the brokenhearted – the lepers, the widows, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the adulterers, the mothers and fathers whose children were dying or dead, the deaf and the blind, the lost and the hungry, the rejected and the outcast. Even though many of these brokenhearted people fly alone, Jesus drew nearer to them and ministered grace and mercy and compassion and love. The human spirit can endure sickness, sometimes even hunger, but a crushed spirit is hard to bear (Proverbs 18:14). The 34th Psalm shows us that the writer is familiar with suffering yet still very consistent with hope. He expresses an honest struggle that many brokenhearted people go through, and towards the end, he chooses to trust God.
The woman caught in adultery had been rejected by the whole world and even the religious leaders. She probably didn’t expect God to win her through love. But this is the heart of Jehovah. He sees,He knows, He cares and He does not forget those drowning in tears. What comfort and hope we have knowing that our Heavenly Father is near us in our brokenness. While many others may not draw near or even understand, God is unique and set apart in His compassion. God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive (2 Corinthians 1:4). We are convinced that God’s mercies to us are new every morning regardless of what the course of brokenness is, even in great affliction. It is in Jesus that all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).
No More Crying
Ultimately, when God’s people will go to the new earth and the new heaven, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Therefore, brethren have hope, do not limit God despite your circumstances. There is nothing that God can not do. What Jesus can’t do does not exist! Even when it feels like the end of the journey or the end of the world, God is nearer than you think. Johny Fulton had a car accident when he was three, and it left him with crushed hips, broken ribs, a fractured skull and compound fractures in his legs. It looked as if Johny would not live. But he didn’t give up and later on became one of the best half milers in California!
King James Version (KJV)
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
New International Version (NIV)
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”
New American Bible (NASB)
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; he rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.”