A Bruised Reed
21st December 2018
This is the second of three studies of the beginning on Isaiah Chapter 42:
Last time we studied verses 1 and 2, which prophesied that Jesus the Messiah would be characterised by gentleness. This time, we'll look at the first part of Verse 3, where Isaiah continues with this idea by saying:
Reeds seem to humans to be almost valueless. I was in a nature reserve recently. There were plenty of reeds but I didn't pay much attention to them. I was looking at the birds flying through the reeds. Birds, trees and flowers are very beautiful, but a reed is "just" a reed and there are millions of them, all nearly identical. And if one breaks, you can easily get another. Many of us feel like we're "just" another Christian, that we're nothing special, and not particularly important, valuable or useful to God.
Reeds aren't very strong. They can't bear much weight. They can be used for measuring, and I believe they can be used for weaving, but not for much else. If you bruised a reed, by bending or twisting it a bit too hard, you'd just throw it away and get another. Most people feel like a bruised reed. We've all been bruised, and most of us feel like God might as well throw us away.
Although many of us would never admit it out loud, at the back of our minds most of us feel like our service to God, and even our attendance at church, makes no difference, that it doesn't matter if we come or not. We're almost expecting God to throw us away and use other Christians, other disciples, who are stronger and more useful than we are. And some of us even think He already has.
Have you thought, or do you feel, that you're far too weak, far too useless, far too hurt, far too stupid, far too awkward, to ever be of any use to God, or to ever be beautiful for God? Have you ever wondered why God bothers with you at all? Have you ever written yourself off as being too weak and useless to have any value? God disagrees!
God promises us, "A bruised reed he will not break". Instead, He will restore you.
Whatever your self-worth is to you. God believes that you're of infinite value. However bruised you've been - and you have been bruised - God doesn't want to discard you and get another one. He chose you before the beginning of time, and Jesus died to pay for your sins. God thinks your great. That's why He made you, and it's why He saved you. He believes in you even when you don't believe in yourself.
You might think you're not particularly attractive or likeable, but remember that God created reeds because He likes reeds, and God created you because He likes you.
I've heard it said that a father doesn't need to like all His children equally, but he must love all his children equally. Many of us accept as true doctrine that Father God loves them as much as other Christians, but feel that He doesn't like them very much. That's not true. Here's the truth: God loves you, and God likes you. God enjoys your company. God made you because He wants you to live with Him. God didn't make you and then wish you were somebody else. He made you to be you. God never made a reed and then wished it was an oak tree.
God made what He wanted to make when He made you. You have been bruised. You have been damaged. But God will never throw you away. He will always seek to restore you to full health and beauty.
We'll look at the end of verse three, in which God promises that "a smouldering wick he will not snuff out", next time.