Word of Truth
In Matthew 12:20 we read that: a bruised reed He will not break, and a smouldering wick He will not quench, while in Psalm 147:3 we read that: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, while in Psalm 51:17: the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
A True Understanding
Could anything be weaker or more pathetic than a damaged, crushed reed.. as its fragile, brittle stem bows its drooping head in the rushes? Even the lap of the river or brush of the wind could bring it to certain ruin. Or could there be a more feeble and useless than a smouldering wick.. as it takes its final flickering gasp before its last smoky spiral expires? Even the faintest breeze could extinguish its remaining smouldering smoke. What could demand less of our concern than such insignificant objects? What could engender more disinterest in our hearts than such mean things?
Yet Jesus says, The smoking flax I will not quench. The bruised reed I will not break. He places value on things that only command our disdain. How gentle is the Son of God toward those of us that are bruised reeds. How tender is our compassionate Lord to us who are failing, flickering flames. In Him is loving-kindness personified. In Him is the embodiment of compassion and mercy. We need never fear harsh treatment from Him or anticipate His cruel disregard. We need not be concerned that He would reject us or ignore us.
A strong brusque man can trample on the tender sensitivity of others.. and being devoid of gentleness can cause much pain. A weak, fearful man can engender little confidence in the hurting, injured wick.. and being bankrupt of strength leaves the bruised reed in a desolate limbo. But the Lord Jesus Christ possesses both strength and tenderness. He combines masculine power with feminine gentleness. He is strong and powerful, but He also has a profound understanding. He is competent and able, but He also displays a deep consideration. His actions towards the broken reed shows a strong understanding, His actions towards the smouldering wick show understanding-strength. Strength and consideration are blended and not separate. Power and tenderness are commingled and harmonised. Thus He truly can say: the smoking flax I will not quench. the bruised reed I will not break.
There is no one like the Lord Who can lift up the fallen and soothe the hurting. There is no one but Him that can heal the distressed and the broken-hearted. He is the only one that can bind up the wounded spirit and he is the only one who is able to comfort the rejected. He alone is able to understand the hurting soul.. for He was despised and rejected too. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Isaiah 53:3
The Lord is He that dwells on high. He it is that sits on the right hand of the Almighty. He rides on the wings of the wind and stretches out the heavens like a curtain. He holds the stars in their courses and fixes limits on the ocean’s tides. He is the Lord, the great and mighty God of the universe and yet He is meek and lowly, pure of heart and gentle of spirit.
He lifts the burden from the oppressed. He bestows His special cares upon the widow and orphan. He lifts up those that have slipped and fallen into the miry clay. He offers His sympathy to those that are sorrowful and distressed. He pours in oil and wine into the bruised reed and the smouldering flax.
Have you ever been deeply hurt by a precious friend or dearly loved one? I am sure there is none that has not been thus acutely grieved in the past.. or maybe you’re experiencing painful rejection or persecution in the present? It is one thing to receive such things from the hand of the enemy.. but as David, who paints a beautiful picture of Christ Himself, writes so articulately, yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, hath lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9
Have we been guilty of inflicting such pain on friends or have we grieved loved ones? Have we been the recipient of such pain, or the target of a friend’s accusation? Do we shrink back and lick our wounds and withdraw when we are thus hurt? Do we wash our hands and shift our ground to a more favourable, distant shore.. or do we recognise the responsibility that Christ laid to our charge – This is My body – broken for you.. we are His Body – to be broken for Him. 1 Corinthians 11:24
We are to be His hands, in soothing the pain of another. We are to be His feet, that walks the second mile, the third mile, the fourth mile. We are to be His heart that loves unconditionally and forgives unreservedly. We are to be His eyes, that weep and His ears that listen. We are to reflect His love and forgiveness.. His gentleness and thoughtfulness. We are to lift the burden from a brother, bless an orphan, minister to a widow woman.
Take to heart this good advice from C.S. Lewis. He writes:- “As you and I look forward to the future, let us not be trapped by the heartache or our past or the brokenness of our present. May we always look to our future, having faith in the hand of our Father Who guides us. The next moment is as much beyond our grasp, and as much in God’s care, as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is just as foolish as care for a day in the next thousand years. In neither can we do anything, in both God is doing everything.”
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, Who inhabits eternity and Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. A bruised reed He will not break, and a faintly burning wick He will not snuff out.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.
10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
4 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
15 For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
22 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
2 The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.
3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
4 By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.
13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein.
15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
19 That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
22 Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
23 For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
26 Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.
27 If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
37 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.
18 The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
28 For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
49 Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
9 That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
109 Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;
2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.
4 For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.
5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.
7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.
8 Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
10 Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.
12 Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.
13 Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the Lord continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
16 Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.
17 As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.
18 As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.
19 Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.
20 Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord, and of them that speak evil against my soul.
21 But do thou for me, O God the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.
22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust.
24 My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.
25 I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads.
26 Help me, O Lord my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
27 That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, Lord, hast done it.
28 Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.
29 Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle.
30 I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.
31 For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.