A broken and contrite heart
Right before this verse the Psalmist recites what God has put on his heart. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” The Lord required this continual sacrifice of animals representing or pointing to the blood of Jesus which would be shed many years later on the cross, once and for all. But he was more interested in their heart than in the physical sacrifices.
Same for us! Listen to David’s penitent petition before God after he was confronted with his heinous actions by Nathan. You would be blessed to reread all of Psalm 51. “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with the burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (vss.15-17)
Broken-Hebrew word meaning to break or break in pieces. Contrite-Hebrew word meaning to crush. Heart-Hebrew word meaning inner man, mind or will. Spirit-Hebrew word meaning breath or wind. I found a wonderful explanation of all this.
“A contrite heart or spirit is when a person’s inner man or will has been broken so they no longer run after the things they want, but surrender to the things that God wants. A broken heart or will says I will no longer do this my way or on my terms but I will surrender to your ways. This type of heart, that is fully surrendered to God, he will never turn away.”
And I would add that all of this will glorify God. Sanctification in spades!
Quote taken from Bible Study Tools of Salem Communications