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We live in a world that is broken

We're turning to a passage of Scripture that Carl has already alluded to in his talk to the children, 1 Samuel, chapter 1. And of course you will know that this is the story, the biography, of the beginning of this man of God, Samuel. And we're looking specifically at this woman, Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and our title today is "The Heart That God Broke To Mend". And we see, right at the beginning of this passage of Scripture, that this woman Hannah had a broken heart. So let's read our reading together - all of chapter 1 and the first verse of chapter 2.

Verse 1 of 1 Samuel 1: "Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons? So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? Put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord. And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there. And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation".

There are many folk in the world today...who have broken hearts before God

There is a saying that we often hear 'If it's not broken, don't fix it'. If it's not broken, don't fix it - and you could put that into a better phrase: 'If it's not broke, don't break it'. [If] something's alright, don't put your hand to it and mess it up and break the whole thing, and it's in a worse state once you've touched it than when it was before. And we look at this passage of scripture and that might be the cry that we give to God as we read it, about this woman Hannah. This woman, presumably, throughout the beginning of her life was fine - she hadn't a broken heart. But after she was married, and it was found that she couldn't give birth to children, she had a broken heart. There are many folk in the world today and even in this Assembly as we sit and meet in this building, who have broken hearts before God.

We live in a world that is broken and indeed, as you look at a map of the world and you see that once in time past the whole world was one piece of land, and through whatever means you want to call it, it broke up into little islands and little continents - it speaks metaphorically, to me anyway, of how the world has been broken up by sin. Right in the beginning of the book of Genesis, we see that languages came into being - why? Because of sin. Nations have been broken apart and formed because of sin - and within our lives there is this brokenness and often its cause or its means in the beginning has been sin. And we know that all suffering comes from sin, original sin in the Garden. We know that death, the maximum suffering, comes from that father of sin, and we have a world and a church of Jesus Christ that is broken by sin. Many of our families are affected by alcoholism and drug abuse. Many of us have been touched, whether personally or relationally within our family, by adultery, by murder, by divorce, by perhaps childlessness - the anxiety of this very woman, Hannah. Many of us have had to look at children that were brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord but only to depart from the faith, only to depart from the way their mother and father led them on. Many of us have broken hearts because of bereavement, because of illness of body, whether it be physical, or mental or emotional. Many of us could say as we sit here - maybe others don't know about it - we could testify that we have broken hearts!

What do we do as Christians with our broken hearts?

What do we do as Christians with our broken hearts? We know what the world does, they run after psychiatrists and psychologists and counselling, they read books here and there - and I'm not saying that that is all wrong - but what do we do as believers? Do we follow the example of the world and try to find satisfaction and salve in the things that they do? Or do we do what is laid down within the word of God? Is it a different way that we approach our sorrow and our heartache? Is the first thing that we do, to take it to our husband or our wife, to go to our mother or father, or our best friend or our children and to confide in them - or do we do as we've been singing, as Joseph Scribbens said, do we 'take it to the Lord in prayer'?

If we were to learn that life is impossible without God, we would learn a very valuable lesson. I'm talking as Christians now, if we were to realise that we cannot live a moment without God, that we cannot take a step without Him, that we cannot breathe a breath or think a thought without His knowledge and His almighty ability. And when we realise that and practice that within our lives, when we find ourselves like Hannah in agony and distress, it doesn't break us but it makes us! You see, Hannah took her agony to God. Hannah agonised her thoughts and her feelings before the throne of grace - where do you take your pain? Where do you go in your moments of distress? Where do you look for answers from? Is it to the face and the throne of God that you go when your heart is in pieces?

There is a heart that is in pieces in this passage. If you look a verse 8, you see a heart that is in pieces: 'Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved?'. We always must look at the context of any passage of scripture and [when] we look at the context of this little book, you find that it speaks of the nation of Israel in deep distress. And you could mirror the barrenness of Hannah's womb with the spiritual barrenness of Israel as a nation before God. As you go on within this book you find that the priesthood is corrupt - Hophni and Phinehas that are mentioned within this passage, they are Egyptian names by the way - yet they are the high priests of God, a sign that there was worldliness within their lives. They are described as sons of Belial, they had walked after the devil's way rather than God's way. They were apostate priests before God - still giving offerings to God. As you go on within this little book you find that the Ark of the Covenant was not in the tabernacle, where it ought to have been. You find that the children of Israel were dabbling in idolatry, you find that the judges - who were given the rule by God to govern the people of Israel - were dishonest in all they did before God. And we read, at the end of 2 Samuel, that it was through the influence of two godly men that the judgement and the wrath of God was reversed from His people.

When you do not bear fruit you become dissatisfied with your life

Who were they? Samuel and King David. The irony of the fact is this: that this man Samuel came out of the barrenness, he was God's man to come out of the barrenness of this woman's womb - to reflect the barrenness of the children of Israel - to deliver them back to their God! If you look at verse 2 and verse 6, you see that Hannah's womb was barren - and it is so distressing, in the day and age in which we live with all our technology and scientific ability, to view a woman whose heart is broken because she cannot bear a child. Indeed, this was probably the reason why Elkanah had two wives - because Hannah, his first wife, couldn't bear, so he had to have another wife to make sure that he raised up children to himself - and as we looked at that barrenness of this woman's womb, it speaks of unfruitfulness. And there is a cycle of agony when there is barrenness in the life, whether it be literal, physical or spiritual barrenness in the soul of any person, there is a cycle of unfruitfulness that goes to dissatisfaction and then revolves to stagnation. When you do not bear fruit you become dissatisfied with your life, and when you become dissatisfied that vicious circle turns round to stagnation, and life begins to sap out of you into death.

It's interesting to see that the word 'Elkanah', his name, means 'God has created'. Imagine that! To be the wife of a man whose name means 'God has created' and he cannot bear children for you, he cannot raise children up to you! And although the barrenness was in the womb of Hannah - can you imagine the laughing stock this man must have been? 'God has created' and she cannot bear him a child! And in Palestine, if you think it's bad now to not be able to bear a child, it was ten times worse - it was a sign of shame and disgrace upon a man and a woman if they did not raise up children unto their name. It's a bit like Abraham, isn't it? His name was 'Abram', 'Father' - that's what it means - then God came along and gave him all the promises: that he would be a father of many; and as the sand is on the shore so would his sons and daughters be; and as the stars in the sky, God would raise up nations of the world from Abraham. And He changed his name to Abraham, which means 'Father of many' - and he is 99, and Sarah's not far behind - and God is still giving the promise, and Abraham is trying his best to hold onto the promise, what a laugh it must have been for all the folk around! But God did the thing that was impossible.

Maybe it is physical barrenness, maybe it's a medical problem that you have in your life, an illness or a disease, and you feel that it is sapping all the life out of you, you feel unfruitful, dissatisfied, stagnant in your very soul

My friends today, do you know barrenness? Maybe it is physical barrenness, maybe it's a medical problem that you have in your life, an illness or a disease, and you feel that it is sapping all the life out of you, you feel unfruitful, dissatisfied, stagnant in your very soul. Perhaps it's an emotional thing, you feel a lack of love in your life from family or from friends, or an absence of a partner that you loved long ago, or that you would long to have - and God seems never to have filled that gap. Perhaps it's a mental barrenness, depression, anxiety, a feeling of inadequacy. Or maybe it is a spiritual barrenness! That the fruit of the Spirit are sadly absent from your life and your walk before God. Whatever that barrenness is, it causes agony within the soul - and it doesn't matter how many 'Job's comforters' come along - you look at her husband in verse 8, he said to her: 'Am not I better to thee than ten sons? Sure, look at the love that I have for you' - and it doesn't matter, you know what I'm talking about, how many people come along and try to console you, when there is unfruitfulness in your life and a barrenness of some kind - no words will solve that!

I think, perhaps, one of the most confusing things about this passage of Scripture is found in verse 5 - at the end of the little verse it says this: 'the Lord had shut up her womb'. Now that is not a mis-translation, the Lord had shut up her womb! And you look at this from a human perspective, and you think this woman - this poor woman - is breaking her heart, her heart is a heart in pieces because of her barrenness - and it is God has caused it! Why would God do such a thing? Maybe you're asking that question in your own life, and within the word of God we have the benefit of scriptural hindsight, where we can look back at the whole situation and see what came from this woman's barrenness - we don't have that gift, perhaps until we get to glory and we realise why God put us through what we have gone through in our lives. To put it simply, I believe that the reason why God made her barren was to bring her near to Him. To bring her near to Him - and just as the torch burns most brightly when you swing it to and fro, and the juniper plant smells sweetest when you fling it into the fire and let it burn, the bruised and broken heart before God is often the thing that emits the sweetest fragrance in His nostrils! It doesn't seem it at the time, but like M'Cheyne put it: once in his life God put him on his back [so] that he would look up.

If you look at the barren women within the Bible, you see a very interesting study. You find it first of all in the person of Sarah, and Sarah was barren before her husband - she could not bear; and then you find Rachel; and then you find Manoah's wife who gave birth to Samson; you then find Ruth who was barren; and then in the New Testament, Elizabeth and even the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, although she was not barren, she was a virgin, she did not know a man. And these women were in an impossible, a naturally impossible situation - they could not get out of their predicament by the arm of the flesh. But the amazing thing, as you study these barren women within the Bible, is this: that the greatest men of all history came from their womb! From Sarah it was Isaac, from Rachel it was Joseph, from Manoah's wife it was Samson, from Ruth it was Obed, the grandfather of King David, from Elizabeth it was John the Baptist! And I want you to picture the home, for a minute, of Leah and Rachel and Jacob - and we're looking now at a passage that you find in Genesis chapter 30 - and Rachel has been mocked by her neighbours and her friends, she has the reproach upon her of a barren womb. And I want you to see her, perhaps coming into Jacob's tent, and her eyes are red and sore, her hair is dishevelled, her voice is hoarse with groaning before God - and she comes before Jacob, frustrated, humiliated, despairing and she cries a piercing cry: 'Jacob, give me children or I die!'. And that cry tears the heart of Jacob as a sword would tear his flesh.

What a cry of barrenness - and one of the reasons why it was aggravated was because of adversity. In verse 6 and 7 you find that: that the other wife of Elkanah had provoked her, that's what it literally means - in fact it literally is translated from the Hebrew 'thundered against her'. She was thundering accusations and abuse at her because she could not bear children - it's the same word found in chapter 2 and verse 10 speaking of the judgement of Almighty God. She was throwing all the adversity! Sometimes our homes can be like that, can't they? This was a godly home, they were going up to the city, to Shiloh, to worship God in the feasts that perhaps they did many times in the year. It was a godly home, they recognised God in their life - the very name of Elkanah speaks of that, and Hannah's name speaks of the grace of God. Yet in all its godliness it was a divided home!

Maybe you're here today and, like many of us, you're asking that question: 'How long is this going to go on, God?'

There was adversity in the home - and some of us know that, some of us know adversity in work and within the church. We hear comments to our hearts, insinuations that are made, we have to face day by day temptations and sins that so easily beset us, and we can become barren, we can become stagnant because of the adversity that we face as believers from day-to-day in our lives. And of course the greatest adversity we all face is the adversary himself, going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The Psalmist says in Psalm 74 verse 10: 'Oh Lord, oh God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?'. Maybe you're here today and, like many of us, you're asking that question: 'How long is this going to go on, God? This barrenness, this anxiousness, this agony and anxiety within my soul - this circumstance that I am in, when am I going to come out of it?' - and you feel like that woman with the unjust judge. You remember the Lord spoke of it in Luke's gospel chapter 18, and it speaks of an unjust judge who never feared God nor men, so he wasn't going to fear a little woman with a little problem, as far as he was concerned. But the word of God tells us that that little woman came and came, again and again, saying: 'Avenge me of my adversary'. The unjust judge got so fed up that he said: 'I will avenge her, lest with her constant coming she weary me', and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself went on to conclude and to sum it up by saying: 'Shall not the God of all the earth avenge his own elect, that cry unto him day and night?'.

Oh, my friend, we have an adversary and we have adversity in our lives - but do you see this? That this little woman, Hannah, was not like Naomi, whose name means 'Mara' and 'bitterness'. Remember Naomi went out to the people, when she came home to her home town, and she said this: 'I went out full and I came back empty' - she was full of bitterness because, as far as she was concerned, God had done an awful thing in her life! Hannah didn't do that, Hannah went to God for a son - she was barren, a heart that was in pieces. But I want you to see this: that she had a heart that was in prayer. Look at verse 13: 'Hannah spake in her heart'. Is it any wonder that Samuel became such a man of prayer? You see, Hannah's reaction wasn't like the other barren women in scripture, she didn't turn to her husband and castigate him because he couldn't raise up a seed onto her, nor did she get the other wife and ask her husband to sleep with her so that a seed could be raised to her name - but she says this, she can say like Eunice and Lois: 'For this child, I prayed'! Can you say that, mother or father? 'For this child, I prayed'. Is it any wonder that this man Samuel, through a mother's prayers and a father's encouragement, changed a whole nation before God? Because of her prayers in the face of God! One has rightly said: 'Prayer is the gold key that opens the gate of mercy. Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscles of omnipotence' - and prayer was Hannah's answer. And, my friend, prayer is your only answer! It is our only answer! For God, as I said at the beginning, is our only hope! If we do not live for God, and live with God at the forefront and as the sum of all our need, we will be lost!

Do you know that God wants your anger? God wants you to pour it out before Him, rather than pouring it out before others

But she turned to prayer, and what a prayer it was. You see in verse 8 that it was a prayer filled with anger. Elkanah asked her, 'Why is your heart grieved?', and that word 'grieved' is a Hebrew idiom - it really means 'angry'. It's not sadness: 'Hannah, why are you so angry? Why is your heart filled with anger?'. Many have been angry with God, but it is what you do with that anger with God that matters - whether you take it to the highways and the byways, and your relatives and you poison them against God because of your bitterness and your anger before Him, or whether you take your anger to the Lord in prayer and open your heart, and as it says of Hannah: pour out your soul before God! Wasn't it the apostle told us in Ephesians 4: 'Be ye angry and sin not'? Do you know that God wants your anger? God wants you to pour it out before Him, rather than pouring it out before others. He wants you to take your anger and make it into prayer before Him - and it was anger above all things that drove Hannah to her knees, but it also drove her away from worshipping God. We find that she fasted, she didn't eat of the sacrifice, she didn't eat of the offering because she was so concerned with anger that she came before God and nothing mattered until her prayer was answered before Him. Martin Luther said: 'I never work better than when I'm inspired by anger. When I am angry I can write, I can pray and I can preach well - for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened and all mundane vexations and temptations depart' - when he directed his anger, righteous that it may be, before God in prayer.

Secondly, she was broken. In verse 10 we find that she: 'prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore'. God wants your brokenness! The Psalmist says in 34 and 18: 'The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit'. And her tears were the physical evidence that her heart was broken before God, and God was saying to this woman Hannah: 'Look, your tears I am putting in a bottle'. Oh, there are many tears shed in quiet, dark, secret places - but, my friend, do you see that your tears, as Spurgeon said, are 'liquid prayers'? Do you see that God is washing your eyes with your tears that you might see His way in your life and that you might be drawn closely to Him? This woman was angry, and we can be angry; she was broken, and we can be broken - but I want you to see that her prayer cost her. Verse 22, she gave up the very thing that she was asking for - she was asking for a son but before she even received the son, she had given the son over to the Lord. Like David, he said: 'Neither will I offer burnt offerings onto the Lord God of that which doth cost me nothing'. One of the reasons why we don't get, often, the answers to our prayers is what James says in chapter 4 and verse 3, that we ask amiss that we may consume it upon our lust. But this woman Hannah didn't do that, she said: 'Give me a son and if You give me a son I'll give that son back to You'. She didn't say, 'I'm going to keep him, and he's going to look after me and he's going to work and get a great career and bring all the money in. I'm going to have him!' - her prayer cost her!

Do you take your needs and pour them out to God?

I read this week about a man called Dan Crawford, a lad of only nineteen years of age, and he was standing at the train station in Glasgow about to leave for the mission field in Africa. And there was a little company that met there to bid him farewell, and his mother was standing there and her friend walked over and whispered in her ear a little word of comfort - and that godly mother turned round to her and said this: 'He spared not His own Son'. It was 22 years later that she saw her son again. He buried his own son on the mission field and died at the age of 56 - and her prayers, probably for that son that he might glorify God, ended up in costing her the very thing that she asked. And Hannah came to God and said, 'I am Your maidservant', she was humble in the sight of God's sovereignty, and she said to God, 'Lord remember me' - and it says that God showed grace onto Hannah, and her very name means that. And it didn't cost her a moment of crisis in a meeting, it didn't cost her the best years of her life - but she said that she would give that child to God all the days of his life and a razor would not touch his head. The law of the Nazarite was only for a period of time in a young man's life - but this young man Samuel would be dedicated all - all - of his life.

Her prayer was angry and broken and costly - but fourthly: it was spiritual. In verse 12 and 13 we find that Eli ran in and, because she was praying from her heart - and in Palestine at this time public prayer was always audible, you never prayed in your heart in public, but she was down and her mouth was moving and there was nothing coming [out] - and she was praying spiritually before God. She was pouring out her soul - do you know what that is? Oh, look at all the burdens we have, we couldn't even number them perhaps in this place today. If we mounted them all up and used them as a list of prayer, we would be here till the cows come home, for all the needs that there are. But can I ask you: do you take your needs and pour them out to God? It's wonderful that even when we can't find the words to say, like Hannah, that in our very souls we have an advocate - the Holy Spirit is within us and when there are groanings that cannot be uttered He can translate those to God. And it's not just that, as Romans 8 says, but we have an advocate within our souls to translate the things that we can't even put into words to the Lord Jesus Christ - and the Lord Jesus Christ, our mediator and our advocate before God, takes those groanings that the Holy Spirit has sent to Him and He interprets them in a way that is blameless and acceptable before our Heavenly Father.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man still avails much!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh what pain we needless bear when we do not carry everything to God in prayer - and there she was, spiritual praying. But fifthly, she was misunderstood - he thought she was drunk! And I believe in the age in which we live that when we do right things, even among the church of Jesus Christ, we are misunderstood, we're seen as eccentric, we're seen as extremists and fanatics. The amazing thing was that Eli charged her, theoretically, with being a daughter of Belial, when his own sons were sons of Belial. Never make that mistake - being a person whose own children are not born-again, yet you criticise those that are. But my friend, can you see it? Can you see how she was misunderstood? How she was spiritual in her prayers? How it cost her everything? How she was broken? How she was angry? But at the end of it all - when you look at all this pain and agony that is being poured out before God - she was answered! Her heart was at rest after prayer. Verse 27: 'For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him'. Verse 18: 'So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad' - God had answered her prayer, God was faithful to His promise, and He is faithful to His promise today as He was in Hannah's day - and the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man still avails much!

The little child was called Samuel - Shemuel - 'the name of God'. But if you were whispering it, or shouting it, do you know it sounded like? Not Shemuel, but 'Shem-a-uel' which means this: God heard! Do you know that God can hear you? The hymnwriter in this hymn book that we have, in [number] 776, asks this question:

"Unanswered yet, the prayer your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart those many years.
Does faith begin to fail? Is hoping departed?
And think you all in vain those falling tears?

Say not, the Father hath not heard your prayer,
You shall have your desire, sometime, somewhere.
Unanswered yet, faith cannot be unanswered!
His feet are firmly planted on the rock.

Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows omnipotence has heard her prayer,
And cries 'It shall be done! Sometime, somewhere'."

Oh, will you not take it to the Lord? Will you not 'believe that ye receive and then ye shall have'? You see, she had a heart of praise, finally, as you see it in verse 1 of chapter 2: 'My heart rejoiceth in the Lord' - and her heart rested, her heart was at peace and the answer to her prayer came before she saw it. I want you to see that - please - she knew God had answered her prayer before she even conceived in her womb. That's why she went away, her countenance was changed and she began to eat - verse 18. Because the Lord Jesus did not say, 'Believe that I shall give you', but, 'Believe that ye have and ye will receive'. Believe that ye have - and maybe there are some folk in here and you haven't learnt the lesson of God's word about praying and it is this - listen, please: are you still asking God for things that He has promised He will give you? You see, when God promises He gives us a thing - we're not meant to go on asking for it, we're meant to begin to praise Him for doing it! And she praised.

There is among us today One who can heal the broken hearted, One who can soothe your sorrows - but you must let Him do it

And there is among us today, as we close, One who can heal the broken hearted, One who can soothe your sorrows - but you must let Him do it. There was once a poor man standing at the side of the road in all his rags and dirt with a burden upon his back. And a rich man passed him in a golden chariot, and he stopped and he took pity on him, and he brought him on the back and seated him there. And after a while's journey he turned to look at the pilgrim again, and he saw - to his astonishment - that he still had the burden on his back. He said, 'Sir, why have you still that burden on your back when I've given you this lift?'. 'Oh, Sir', he said, 'I am so grateful that you have given me this ride. I would not like to presume upon you to take the load off my back and leave it here in the cart'. 'Oh fool!', he said, 'If I am able to lift you and take you forward, am I not able also to bear your burden?'.

Is your heart in pieces? Will you put those pieces into prayer? And God says to you today from the 42nd Psalm: 'My soul, why art thou disquieted within thee? Hope thou in God: for thou shall yet praise him!'. The Lord Jesus says to you: 'Come onto Me and rest'.

Let us bow our heads, perhaps you're in our gathering today and you have never let the Lord Jesus lift your load of sin, you've never been saved. Well, He is here to lift that load now, your load of backsliding - just like the children of Israel - He can lift now and restore unto you the years that the locusts have eaten. And whatever your load is, He may not take it away, but He will lighten that burden and He will go through your turmoil and your tears with you - knowing that He is bearing the burden for you. Our Father, we pray that Thou wilt give grace, grace to believe the promise is true - that God is faithful and that we have not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was tested in all points like we are, yet without sin - why? Of course, because He was God, but because He trusted in His Father, and because He prayed and looked to heaven. We pray that we would do such and find the trusting heart to Jesus clinging, and praising God for lifted loads. Part us now with Thy blessing, in Jesus name. Amen.

Don't miss Part 3 of 'The Heart Of The Matter': "The Disorientated Heart"

Transcribed by:
Preach The Word.
October 2000

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the second tape in his 'The Heart Of The Matter' series, titled "The Heart That God Broke To Mend" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.

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