For more than 40 years I have meditated on this wonderful Messianic prophecy, this amazing statement of the character of Almighty God.
We learn here that the Son of God will not break the bruised reed or quench the smoking flax (Isa. 42:3).
What a wonderful description of Christ’s tender compassion! He is the Good Shepherd who redeems sinners by His atonement and cares for them continually as their High Priest. He does not discard His people when they are weak and overcome by temptation. He has committed Himself to them. They are ordained to be conformed to His image. It will happen! He has guaranteed that it will happen. And it is an eternal process that begins in this present life.
The believer is likened to a bruised reed. What could be weaker? At his best, the believer is a mere reed rather than a strong and majestic tree. But how often we are bruised reeds. Reeds are easily bent by the wind and injured by the elements. Reeds are highly effected by drought conditions. Likewise, the believer is easily bruised by the world, the flesh, and the devil, bent over by the storms of wickedness and trouble and persecution. We are bruised by failure to abide in God’s Word, bruised by unfaithfulness and sin and backsliding. Yet Christ does not cast away His bruised reeds; He does whatever is necessary to bring them back to health. He cares for them, nurses them, reproves and chastens them. David was a bruised reed after his sin with Bathsheba, yet Jehovah God brought him to repentance and forgave him. In his old age, David wrote great Psalms and received the plans for the Temple by the Spirit of God. The bruised reed was healed.
Likewise the believer is likened to smoking flax. This is a picture of an oil lamp with a flax wick that is not properly trimmed or that is low on oil. Rather than burning brightly, it is smoking. Rather than providing light in the darkness as it is intended to do, it is smoldering and producing irritants. Christ doesn’t throw away His smoking lamps. Those with true faith even as weak as a smoking flax are accepted and taken into His tender care. He renews the oil and tenderly trims the wicks and fans the smoldering fibers into a bright flame. Peter was a smoking flax after he denied Christ, yet Christ restored Him, and afterward Peter’s lamp burned more brightly than ever.
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