Putting Broken People Back Together Again


Once, as I was reading my Bible I came across a verse I had read many times before. The verse is Proverbs 18:14…

“The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but as for a broken spirit who can bear it” (Proverbs 18:14 NASU)?

But as I read it the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that sin has not simply made man sick and in need of comfort and soothing words of encouragement or even a sermon every Sunday, all of which might perhaps make life bearable as one walks through a time of spiritual drought, but sin has badly broken the spirit within man by breaking his relationship with his Creator, God. And it quickly becomes apparent that it takes something more than loving actions and soothing words of one’s fellow Christian brothers and sisters or even the actions and soothing words of a pastor to put broken spirits, which result in broken people, back together again. We can be as loving as we know how to be and speak only positive, encouraging words, but the brokenness of those around us remains. Why? Because all too often our actions and words are missing something. And it’s that “something” that I want to tell you about so we can put broken spirits and broken people (including ourselves) back together again.

As I was mediating upon Proverbs 18:14 something I thought of as weird came to my mind. (That happens from time to time as I’m reading the Bible or praying or just thinking about God.) What was weird was a picture I felt the Holy Spirit was putting in my head; it was a picture of Humpty Dumpty. Yes, Humpty Dumpty; not exactly what I would normally call a highly spiritual thought, but as it turned out it was a spiritual thought.

As the picture of Humpty Dumpty came to my mind so did the words to the nursery rhyme associated with him…

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
“And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
“Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

When this picture and rhyme came to my mind I could not figure out why God would show this to me. What has Humpty Dumpty falling off a wall and getting broken got do with me or other broken people?

But as I was thinking about this, what I felt the Holy Spirit telling me was: “Creation is broken; people are broken and they are looking in all the wrong places to heal their brokenness.” I thought, “I don’t understand”. The Holy Spirit said, “Read the words again.”

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
“And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
“Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

What came to me was the fact that horses don’t fix things so of course they could not put Humpty back together again. But the king’s men should be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. But the rhyme tells up they could not either.

When you think about it Humpty Dumpty is a pretty sad story. He is broken and no one can fix him. And that is when the Holy Spirit said to me: “Just like you. You’re broken and you look for the king’s horses and the king’s men to fix you, but they cannot.”

So I thought, “Who are the king’s horses and the king’s men?” That’s when the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the fact that someone was missing in this nursery rhythm and that “someone” was the king. He is nowhere to be seen. We know he exists because Humpty Dumpty is surrounded by his horses and men, but he is not in the picture.

Folks, we are Humpty Dumpty. We put ourselves in dangerous spiritual situations (The Wall) by the choices we make and the company we keep. The Apostle James tells us…

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15 ESV).

Let us not lie to one another or to ourselves. We know what our weaknesses are, yet we willingly put ourselves on a wall, that is, in situations where we can easily fall and be broken. We know if a show or movie we are watching is creating an evil desire within us; we know if walking in front of a bar will entice us to drink; we know if entering a home where drugs are we will take drugs. We know we will fall. We know we are going to be broken. We know. Yet, like Humpty Dumpty, we do it anyway.

The Bible also warns us about the company we keep. It says…

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NASU).

Who you hang around with matters – a lot. We are all influenced more than we will admit by the company we keep. We want to fit in and if that means drinking or taking drugs or engaging in sexual relationships outside of marriage, we willingly climb up on a wall praying that we don’t fall off and hurt ourselves or others.

But we do fall. And we break – again. And once again we cry out for someone to put us back together, to heal our brokenness. But only the king can do that and he is not in the picture. Instead, we rely on “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men”.

What does that mean? What does it mean to rely on the king’s horses and the king’s men?

In the Bible horses are most often associated with warfare. Armies trusted in their strength and speed to overpower their enemies. The army with the most horses usually won the war, but not always.

When Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt after having been slaves there for over 400 years, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt who had at first told the Israelites to leave his country as fast as they could because of the plagues God had poured out on Egypt, changed his mind about letting them go and gathered his army together to go get them and bring them back. We are told…

“Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon” (Exodus 14:9 NASU).

This of course frightened the Israelites because they had no horses at all and no army. Plus, they did not even have the option of running away because the Red Sea was in front of them. All they could do was watch as Pharaoh’s army ran toward them on horses. They knew they were going to be enslaved again. They feared their lives as slaves, as broken people, was going to continue. But God had other plans.

Listen to what Moses tells the Israelites…

“Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent” (Exodus 14:13-14 NASU).

It was then that God parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could go through it on dry ground. But when Pharaoh’s army, including his horses and chariots tried to do the same thing God caused the Red Sea to return to normal drowning Pharaoh’s army along with his horses.

My point is that while horses are useful and often give an advantage in warfare, to blindly rely on them is foolish. The Bible tells us…

“A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength” (Proverbs 21:31 NASU).

I think what the Holy Spirit was telling me by all this is that the king’s horses in Humpty Dumpty symbolize our natural strength and abilities to overcome things in our lives by our willpower. We think if we just stand up straight, tighten our muscles, and determine in our minds “I won’t drink, I won’t take drugs, I won’t look at pornography, I won’t swear, I won’t gossip, I won’t…” whatever it is that enslaves you we will be successful in winning the war going on inside of us. But do we? If we are honest we have to admit that we fail time after time and our brokenness remains. Why? Because “all the king’s horses”; that is, all the strength and willpower we possess cannot put us back together again. Oh, we might succeed for a little while, but Satan is relentless when it comes to attacking us and sooner or later our willpower, if that is all we rely on, will be overcome by our desires. We find ourselves still slaves to sin. We begin to realize that willpower alone will not save us; it will not put us back together again; we will remain broken.

So, what do we do? We turn to the king’s men. If the king’s horses cannot put us together again then perhaps the king’s men can. Who are these men?

I believe they symbolize pastors, preachers, prophets, elders, and leaders in the church. That may seem strange because is it not these men God has chosen to use to bring healing and salvation to a lost and sinful world, to put broken people back together again? Yes, but no pastor, no preacher, and no prophet, can heal the brokenness of anyone as long as the king is not in the picture.

The prophet Jeremiah lived during a time in Judah’s history when the nation was about to be destroyed by the Babylonian army because the Jews had forsaken the Lord and began worshipping false gods. Judah was on the verge of national extinction. As individuals they were broken people and their nation was about to fall off the wall, so to speak, and be broken right along with them.

So how did the prophets and priests seek to heal this situation, this spiritual brokenness? Did they look to God who was in actuality their King regardless of which man sat on the throne? No. Instead Jeremiah tells us,

“For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:13-14 NASU).

The word “peace” used here is the Hebrew “Shalom”. It is a word that means “completeness, wholeness”. It is the very opposite of brokenness.

What Jeremiah was saying is that the religious leaders – all the king’s men – were telling the people everything was just fine between them and God, that their brokenness was not real and that as soon as they realized that, the guilt and pain they were experiencing would go away.

Humpty Dumpty was being told words he wanted to hear by the king’s men, but he was not being told the truth so his brokenness remained. And his pain and his guilt would return continually to remind him that he was broken even though he was being told he was healed – just like what happens to us when we turn to pastors or preachers or teachers or prophets that lie to us and tell us things we want to hear rather than the truth, religious leaders that claim to speak for the King, but in reality do not even know Him.

Lies are Satan’s drug of choice because they numb the pain of the truth of our brokenness and he has many people who will dispense this drug Sunday after Sunday as people come to get their “fix” from all the king’s men who do not truly know the King.

That is why “all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” The King is not part of their world though they like to brag they know Him and speak for Him. But He is nowhere around.

Our brokenness is only healed when it is the King who does the healing. There is a story in the book of Acts that tells of Peter and John going into the temple one day and a lame beggar, seeing them, asked them for money. Peter replied to him…

“‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:6-8 ESV).

This naturally caused quite a stir. And just like us the people who had seen the miracle wanted to get a close look at who had performed it. When Peter noticed this he said…

“Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. And his (Jesus’) name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:12-13, 16 ESV).

Notice the lame man was put back together again; his brokenness was healed when the King was brought into the picture. This is what was missing in the Humpty Dumpty rhyme. And this is what is missing in our lives so much of the time.

We rely on horses – that is our own strength and willpower – to heal our brokenness until we realize…

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31 NASU).


“The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue” (Psalm 33:17 ESV).

Try as we might we cannot heal ourselves. So we turn to others who claim to speak for the king who will tell us things we want to hear, but we discover that the lies they speak may make us feel good and mask the pain of our brokenness for a while, but the truth of our brokenness always surfaces and we hurt more and more. We begin to think it will never get better, we will always be broken and in pain; depression sets in because we have lost all hope and life has become a living hell.

What we discover is that we can choose our sins, but God chooses our consequences. What we learn is that God has a reason for allowing the pain of our brokenness to become so great we can no longer ignore it.

Listen to an encounter Jesus had with a man near a pool in Jerusalem who had been an invalid for 38 years.

“One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed’” (John 5:5-6 ESV)?

Does that not seem like a strange question? What person who has been sick 38 years would not want to be healed?

But the question is not as strange as it seems. Some of us say we want to be healed from drugs or alcohol or from addictions or from immoral lifestyles, but the truth is there is a part of us that enjoys partying or indulging our minds or bodies in lust and sexual immorality. We may hate ourselves in the morning, but we love our sins at night. I think it is even possible to pray for healing while hoping God will not answer the pray because we enjoy the thrill sin gives us, even if it is just for a brief moment.

Listen to the way the Amplified Bible translates these verses in John we just read.

“There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years. When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, ‘Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well]’” (John 5:5-6 AMP)?

Are you really serious about getting well, about healing your brokenness? Or do you enjoy – at least a little – the attention and sympathy you get from others as you wallow in self-pity. Hey, I include myself in this.

As human beings we crave attention – and love. But we have discovered the world does not care about us, does not love us. And even more tragically all too often our own families do not care about us and do not love us. We begin to think we are worthless, except to be used and abused. So we begin to numb the pain anyway we can, including blaming others for what is wrong in our lives. We have the “Humpty Dumpty was pushed” syndrome.

So, God allows the pain and brokenness to become so bad that it becomes obvious to us that “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” cannot put us back together again.

That is when Jesus comes to us and says: “Do you want to become well? Are you really serious about getting well?” It is then that we will say “Yes”, and mean it.

If you want to get well, if you want to heal your brokenness, you have to invite the King into your life. You have to ask Jesus to come into your heart and lay your brokenness at His feet when He enters in.

Listen to Psalm 51:17…

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (NASU).

Thankfully, God does not ask us to bring our wholeness to Him, because we do not have any. Rather, He wants our brokenness so He can mold and shape us into the persons He created us to be.

Jesus will take your brokenness if you are serious about getting well and heal you. If you cry out to Him, to the King in heaven, He will silence the angels to hear your voice. Then we will be able to sing a new song that goes like this…

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
“And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
“Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
“But there’s one who can
“When He enters the scene,
“For He’s no mere man,
“He is Jesus – the King.”

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