Bruised Reeds and Smoky Wicks

God is All-Powerful! Majesty belongs to Him, and rightly so.  He is named, “Lord of Hosts” or as we might better understand it, “General, head of Heaven’s Armies” in the Old Testament. Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, the Righteous Judge are titles belonging to Him. So we loudly lift our voices in song, “How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God… all will see, how great, how great is our God.”  (Chris Tomlin) It’s a great song and helps us to worship the King.

And yet … there is another side to Him, a way to know and understand Him that is equally compelling in some seasons of life. He is the Gentle God, the Savior.
Isaiah, who preached to the people of the Lord as they were being overtaken by their enemies, handed over for judgment; reminds them that their God is a gentle God. He would send them a Savior who would change the world, but not with common power tactics. “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.”
There are no noisy trumpet fanfares or victory marches down Main Street for this Savior. There would be no motorcades with flags flying and sirens sounding to announce His importance! Quietly, He would come. Gently He would work, preserving the least and lowly.  Bruised reed and smoldering wick” are not readily accessible metaphors for us. The bruised reed was a weak thing, useless for household chores, and therefore tossed out with the garbage.  The smoldering wick was the smoky piece of flax that gave little light as the oil in the lamp ran low. The smoke annoyed the household, so it was pinched off and extinguished! Isaiah is reminding us that the Savior finds those who are weak, those who are near exhaustion, but not to toss them on life’s junk heap! He restores, heals, and gives strength! Who are worthless to most, He gently loves and heals.
The Scripture goes on with this assurance for those who concluded that their glory was past tense: “This is what God the Lord says— he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:1-7, NIV)
When you’re broken, bruised, and feeling like a reject you may find it hard to reach out to the “Lord of Hosts!”  The King of Glory motif may well be beyond your reach at that moment. So remember, He is also the Gentle God who preserves the junk others are ready to toss out.
Centuries after Isaiah heard the Promise, we know the Identity of this Gentle God. In our word from the Word, we learn His Name and have this invitation. If you’re feeling like a bruised reed or smoking wick today, hold onto the One who is holding onto you. “Since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NLT)
Often you wonder why
tears come into your eyes
And burdens seem to be
much more than you can bear
But God is standing near,
He sees your falling tears
And tears are a language
God understands.
God sees the tears
of a brokenhearted soul
He sees your tears
and hears them when they fall
God weeps along with man
and He takes him by the hand
Tears are a language
God understands.
      Copyright, Gordon Jensen

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