Articles by Loren Larson

The Bruised Reed

September 2018

Isaiah 42:3-4 – “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”

Circumstances and Sin

The two elements that work the hardest against a believer’s faith are negative circumstances and sin. Life is never easy, especially for the one who chooses to follow the Lord with all of his heart. The adversaries are many, the friends are few, and there is never any quarter given from powers of darkness. When a negative circumstance occurs—one of our own making or perhaps one we had absolutely no control over—the fight to destroy the established faith of the believer begins. We are filled with all manner of questions, doubts, and fears. The situation may bruise us emotionally, physically, spiritually, or all three. The heart and mind begin to waver in regard to the faithfulness of God. “If God is for me,” we say, “then who could be against me?” Then we look at the circumstances we face and begin to question whether or not God is really for us. Sin degrades the faith of the believer, for all sin hardens the heart of the individual who performs it. We may not have intended to do “that,” but once done, there is always spiritual damage to the base of our relationship with God. The base of any true relationship with God is faith in His redemption plan. Faith in Jesus Christ and Him crucified delivers believers from both the penalty and power of sin. But if our faith in Christ is shaken, due to an act of sin on our part, it can be a real battle to rise above the condemnation experienced by the failure. In either case—the case of sin or negative circumstance—we will often find a believer who is oppressed, shaken, defeated, bruised, and hurting. This one is a “bruised reed.”

The Bruised Reed
The reed referred to by Isaiah was one of the most common plants in Israel. It had multiple uses, ranging from being a walking stick to being used in the process of making papyrus, a type of paper. The point is this: it was so common that if it became cracked, broken, or weakened through use, the one who was using the reed simply threw it away, discarding it as a useless thing, and picked up another one to take its place.

First off, let me say that there has never been a believer who has ever existed that Jesus considered useless. Every single child of God has a special task to do and a unique place in the heart of God. He is our Saviour and King, but always remember that God is our Father. He will take that one who has been bruised by sin or circumstances, bind him up, see to his healing needs, and then send him forth to accomplish the task that he was born to do. God has no substitutes sitting in line waiting for us to fail or quit. He chooses those who choose Him. If you won’t stop believing, there is not a sin, a circumstance, or an adverse situation that he cannot bring you through. God will not throw you away and go get a replacement. He waits for us to turn to Him in faith and to once again participate in the wonderful relationship with Christ that God’s redemption plan has made available. He is waiting for us to rise up and walk with Him in faith. If you won’t quit believing, God won’t quit on you!

The Smoking Flax
The smoking flax is another example much like the bruised reed. The term flax actually refers to the wick that was used in the oil lamps of Isaiah’s day. Due to use, the wick can become strangled with soot and burned debris. The oil (a type of the Holy Spirit) in the vessel can run low. In this case, there is a need for the trimming of the wick. When God sees that the believer is a dimly burning wick, He doesn’t extinguish that wick. Instead, He trims the wick (addresses our spiritual need) and refills the vessel with fresh oil (through the moving and operation of the Holy Spirit). This being done, the wick burns bright against the darkness and many benefit by its light.

Only Believe
My friend, God does not intend or set out to extinguish the light that He has “hung up” in your soul. If that light goes out, it will be the result of your faith being attacked and your decision not to believe in the goodness of your God. I exhort you today, no matter what the circumstance that has beset you or the heartache brought on by sin, God does not desire to break you (the bruised reed) into a million tiny pieces and throw you away. It is not His desire or plan to extinguish the dimly burning wick. If you will but believe in who Jesus is and what Jesus has accomplished for you at Calvary, Isaiah promised that He will not fail or be discouraged until your restoration is completed. What a marvelous God. What a beautiful Saviour. Let your faith in Christ arise!

Only believe, only believe,
All things are possible, only believe.
Only believe, only believe,
All things are possible, only believe.

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