3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. ~ Isaiah 42:3
By Bro. John L. Cash
The Scripture teaches us that we all need to deal gently with other people. Human beings are breakable; the faith we all possess is fragile, too. Human hearts and human spirits are easily broken. Childlike faith is easily damaged.
In the 42nd chapter of the Book of Isaiah, God foretells what the Messiah will be like when He comes to earth. The gospel writer quotes Isaiah’s prophecy and ties it to the life of Jesus Christ: “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking flax He will not quench.”
That verse tells us that humans are like flower stems. They are sturdy under ordinary conditions. But once something happens to bend a kink in the stem, it doesn’t take much to break the stem off. We have to deal carefully with those who are injured, to ensure they do not become irrevocably broken.
The verse also says humans are like candle flames. A candle shines brightly under normal circumstances. But if a drop of water (or something else) causes the candle to sputter, the flame can be easily extinguished by simply licking your fingers and pinching the wick. We have to deal gently with those whose faith is faltering, to ensure they do not become unbelievers.
Most wonderfully, Isaiah’s prophecy shows us so much about the loving nature of God. If you’re injured and limping, God never does anything to “finish you off.” “A bruised reed He will not break.” Instead, He binds us up and helps us to be strong again.
Likewise, when the wick of our faith is smoldering, He never does anything to extinguish us. “A smoking flax He will not quench.” Instead, He shelters our candle from the drafts that would blow it out, until our light shines clear, bright, and warm again.
This is how Jesus deals with us when we are weak. And He has given us this as the pattern of how we should treat others — especially the little ones.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 31 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the carpenter finished remodeling Miss Susan’s bathroom this week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.