The Broken Places

David, a man after God’s heart…David, a man capable of great sin and acquainted with the broken places…David, a man whose devotion and passion for God are evident in the Psalms. He loved God so much that he wanted to build a beautiful Temple to honor Him: “It must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world” (1 Chron. 22: 5).

In 2 Samuel, we see that David, Israel’s leader, sins and the nation of Israel is punished. As a result, 70,000 people die at the hand of a death angel. Crazy, right? The angel is prepared to take more lives, but God relents and we see a strange verse:

“The angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor.” (1 Chron. 21:15)

Then David, in a posture of great repentance, exhaustion and brokenness declares:

“this will be the location for the Temple of the Lord…” 1 Chronicles 21:22

Why would scripture point out where the angel was standing? Why is this detail important? Why does it matter that he was standing on a threshing floor?

Threshing floors were flat areas where the grain would be pounded and stomped and torn apart from its stalk so that it could be used for food. It was broken so it could be used.

Are you catching this? That’s right, the most magnificent and holy structure ever built was constructed on ground of great repentance, exhaustion, and brokenness. The Temple of God was built next to where the angel of death was standing, the angel that was summoned because of David’s sin.  The Temple of God was built on a threshing floor, land that was used to beat and separate the grain from its husk to make it useful! Land where David repented for his sins and was broken over what he had done.

And there’s more:

God told David his son, Solomon, would be the one to build the Temple. In 2 Samuel 12, we see that Solomon was conceived out of David and Bathsheba’s grief over their sin and the death of their first child. This child died because David slept with Bathsheba when she was married, and then David murdered her husband, Uriah.  “Then David comforted Bathsheba and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and David named him Solomon.”

Solomon came into this world during a time of his parent’s repentance, exhaustion and brokenness. This child, born out of the broken place, went on to the build the temple built on the broken land.

The symbolism here is incredible. As Christians, we are now called the Temple of God. And we are only made into His temple when we come to a place of great repentance, exhaustion and brokenness. When our sin overwhelms us and we can’t take the death and destruction anymore, we cry out and God gives grace  and we become His temple.

Oh, I can think of so many messy places in my life where I repented, and was exhausted and he just stepped in and built something beautiful on that broken place. 

God is so good to us. He is working on our behalf, fighting for us even in the midst of our sin and hurt and broken places. He was working on our behalf thousands of years ago, when he chose a broken man and broken land and a son born out of brokenness to build his Temple.

He is the Healer of all broken things.

Are you in an exhausted, broken place? Are there unhealed spots in your life that need his care? He will come and he will build something more magnificent than you can imagine on that land that seems barren and useless.

He will say to that place “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord…”

Will you let him? Are you willing to lay on a threshing floor and cry out and let that barren place be used for his glory? Oh, it hurts and it’s vulnerable but He’s good and He’s kind and he always trades beauty for ashes.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18