Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”
One of the several prophecies given in the Bible regarding the Messiah- Jesus Christ.
The above verse was one of the several prophecies given in the Bible about 750 years prior to the coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ. The Messiah is referred as a servant, lamb, and king in the old testament prophecy books in the Bible. Hundreds of prophecies of the Bible about the coming Messiah were fulfilled with pinpoint accuracies. The background of the above passage is where Jesus was referred as the ‘servant’. The coming Messiah was referred as “servant”, “king” and “lamb” in the old testament prophecies in the Bible. The book of Isaiah was written more than 7 centuries before the incarnation of Christ. The background of the passage also describes several characteristics of this ‘servant’ who is going to appear down in the history. The characteristics of the coming servant in the above section of the Bible following includes the following:
He will bring justice to the nations
He will not shout or cry out or raise his voice in the streets
He will not break a bruised reed
He will not snuff out a smoldering wick
In faithfulness, he will bring forth justice
He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching, the island will put their hope (42:1-4).
It says certain other things about this servant who will appear and they include
He will be the covenant for the people
He will be the light for the Gentiles
He will open eyes that are blind
He will free captives from prison
He will release from the dungeon who sit in darkness. (42:6b-7)
Keep in mind there were hundreds of other prophecies in the Bible that were fulfilled with pinpoint accuracy in Jesus Christ. Some of these prophecies are already fulfilled in His first coming (for example, Isaiah 42 and Isiah 53 and several others) and the rest will be fulfilled in future at the time of the second coming of Christ. There were three times more prophecies regarding the second coming of Christ. Therefore, if hundreds of prophecies (more than 300) regarding the first coming of Christ are fulfilled literally, the three times more prophecies of the second coming of Christ will also be fulfilled literally. The opening the eyes of the blind, freeing the captives and releasing who were sitting in darkness had already literally happened in the first century BC along with many others when Christ was on this earth in his rescue mission. For more information about the prophecies fulfilled in Christ please read the article in the study Bible section of this website. All the Gospels record several instances of Christ’s wonderful ministries like opening the eyes of the blind, opening the ears of the mute, raising people from the dead, giving light to the Gentiles about God’s plan for them to be part of God’s eternal plan along with Jews. Some of these have an on-going application today as well. In fact, when it said he will be the covenant for the people- it is true- Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all the old testament covenants. The covenant made to Abraham that says in your seed, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” is fulfilled in Him. This blessing is available even today, for people can be saved from their sins because Christ died and risen again for the sins of the people. The Davidic covenant – the everlasting king and kingdom that will last forever is partially fulfilled and going to be fully fulfilled in him in the near future when Jesus establishes His millennial kingdom on the face of this earth. (2 Samuel 7). These prophecies were repeated and reiterated by other major and minor prophets as well in the pages of the Bible.
But the thing that amazes us is the character and the gentle dealings of Jesus Christ.
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” Isaiah 42:3. Two groups of people mentioned here. A bruised reed and secondly a smoldering wick. Obviously, the passage is not talking about a reed or a fire wick. But it is talking about people who are bruised and smoldering and how Jesus Christ deals with them.
Bruised reeds are often found in marshlands- low-lying land that has water and remains waterlogged at all times. You will see these weak, dry and bruised reeds along the waterside in paddy fields or marshlands. They are so dry, weak and look bruised that even small chicks or ducks can break and smash these reeds, let alone the foot of a man or animal. In fact, even wind can blow against it and break it.
Read the passage carefully, this is talking about the ministry of Christ to those who are discouraged, bend down and broken people. They were not like this before but something happened in their life and they are now crushed and damaged. They still have a life but only bare minimum and are limbing through their life and struggling to stand and walk.
You see, life breaks and bruise people.
You were doing good. But some bad thing happened to you. Somebody deserted you, betrayed you and now you are deeply hurt and bruised. You are in psychological and emotional pain. These are people bleeding on the inside. You were doing good but made a bad choice and here you are suffering from the consequences and are broken down and totally bruised now. It does not matter how strong you are and how spiritual you are, life’s storm can bend you down and these adversities can challenge you and your faith in God. This is a truth about life- life will not be good and rosy all the time, even for people who are good Christians who worked in the vineyard of the Lord for a long time. Life breaks and bruises people because we live in this sin-bound world and we do deal with sinful people. The disciples of Christ got hurt, Paul got hurt, Peter got hurt, John, James and even Jesus got hurt when he came to this earth to save us. The problem of sin is not finally removed as of yet from this earth until the final day of the final redemption when all (people and the whole earth) will get perfect and fine. (Romans 8:18-26). This will happen at the second coming of Christ Jesus into this world. However, Bible says things are going to get worse meanwhile as we progress toward that day of the second coming of Christ. It is not going to get better, it is going to worse and worse. (2 Timothy 3 and 2 Peter 2)
But our verse above promises us Christ Jesus will not break a bruised reed. Are you a bruised reed? The Lord promises He will deal with you gently. He will not break you because He is very compassionate and He has abundant love and cares for you. You may be thinking I am already bruised and broken and Oh, now if Jesus knew about all my condition, He will break me again and abandon me. Your friend and even Christian friends may do exactly do this to you. But Not Jesus. The opposite is true about him. Bible says He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus assured His presence with you in Matthew 28:20. It says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Did you notice “always” and that means exactly what it means- “always”- twenty-four hours, 7 days and 365 days until the end of the age.
Smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
Are you feeling like a smoldering wick or flickering candle? Your light was shining brightly before and now something bad happened and you became discouraged and depressed. Your light is not bright anymore because life has turned you upside down. You were the first in the church meetings before, you were the first person who would pray before, you were zealous and excited for the Lord before. But now you are burned out and you feel like you are dying inside and think about quitting. Life was hard on you. You are afraid the Lord may sniff off your flickering candle.
O Child of God, Be encouraged by this fact. He will not put out your flickering/smoldering light and He will not break your bruised reed. This is the character of Christ’s gentle dealings with you. This is the promise of your savior who loved you and saved you. He loved you that much that He came down to this earth and lived on this sin-bound world and finally willingly went to the cross carrying cross which was your sins on His shoulders and paid it all for you. Do you know God loves you and cares for you deeply?
In both of the above situations, the Lord Jesus has encouraging words for you. I know you are limping but His gracious, encouraging words are strong enough and good enough to make you stand again, to make you walk in your divine calling again. Not just walk but you will run again. He will give you the strength and power. He will give you the desire and ability to do what He wants you to accomplish no matter what happened in the past. Bible says, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Did you notice it says, It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose?” He will not leave you there in the bruised condition and He will not put out your flickering/smoldering flame. He will make it fan again with fire and you will experience His goodness and faithfulness. He will fill again the oil in your empty tank. Pray like the old song sings, “Fill me oil in my lamp and keep me burning”. He will fill oil in you with the filling of the Holy Spirit. God did this to the prophet Elijah and commissioned him again with energy, vision, and power when He delivered him from his deep discouragement and depression. He can and will do the same for you.
By one decision to deny Jesus three times in a tempting and testing evening, Peter thought his light is gone for good and he thought he can never shine his light again. All hope of becoming fishers of man (for which Christ called him) has gone from him and he thought he is good for nothing and finally decided to go back to his old trade of catching fishes. But Jesus would not put out the flickering candle in Peter. Jesus sent words to Peter, met with Him, cooked breakfast for him and showed his deep love for him and restored him to his original calling. Peter was a bruised reed and a flickering candle. you see the gentle dealings of Jesus Christ!
Two disciples of Jesus decided to go away from Jerusalem to Emmaus. What happened in Jerusalem that weekend had disturbed them. They believed Jesus was the prophet who will redeem them. They believed the Bible. But now looks like they wanted to be away from Jerusalem and they were hopeless because they hoped in Jesus. But on the day of his resurrection, in the evening as they left to Emmaus and walking, Lord Jesus came along and walked with them in the midst of all their doubts and confusion. He asked them “what are you discussing? They explained all that happened in Jerusalem- the death, burial and the updated news saying Jesus’s body is not found in His tomb. Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Jesus talked to them about the Scripture beginning from Moses and all the prophets and explained all the promises regarding the Messiah – Christ Jesus.
Later when Jesus was sitting with them, He took the bread and gave it to them. At that time, the disciples’ eyes were opened and they recognized Him and He disappeared from their sight.
Then they both said this, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Bible to us?” Their hearts were burning within them when they heard the verses from the Scripture from the lips of Jesus Himself concerning the promises of Him and His sufferings for their sins.
My friend, in your bruised and smoldering condition, this is what Jesus going to do for you. He will come to you and open the scriptures for you and you will be encouraged and strengthened again. You will get energized and fulfill your unique purpose for Him again. One word of Jesus Christ and the Bible is good enough and strong enough. All your limping will go away and all your flickering will go away.
Christ is so compassionate in your bruised and flickering condition. He loves you and wants to restore you to give His life and care again.
Come and pray with me now.
“God, I come to you in prayer. I am bruised and broken down. But I believe you love me and care for me. Please heal me, Lord. I am sorry for my sins and I agree I sinned against you. Please forgive me. I believe Jesus died, buried and risen again for my sins. Please fill in me your Holy Spirit and make me strong to live and minister to you. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, please visit www.teachbible.org and go to contact and prayer tab and send me a note. Thank you.
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