Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Caring Not Crushing - Isaiah 42 part 2

"He will not cry out or raise His voice;
nor make His voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break,
and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not be disheartened or crushed,
until He has established
justice on the earth;
and the coastlands will
wait expectantly for His law."
(vs 2-4)

These first 4 verses of chapter 41 give us such a striking and defined picture of Christ. In these words the prophetic artist Isaiah paints Christ's duty, demeanor and dominion. Verse 1 sketched out the Messiah's status as chosen and dearly delighted in Servant. This was the duty to which God the Father commissioned Him and it is the duty which He willingly took upon Himself. Verses 2-4 are filled with the beautiful brush strokes of Christ's gentle character and of His success in accomplishing that for which He was sent.

This morning I note several things:

1) Our Messiah is not a boisterous braggart. He is humble. "He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street."

Christ doesn't toot His own horn. He has no need too. He does not call attention to Himself. He devotedly does His duty and the true character of His nature is seen in what He does and in how He lives. He did not come to be a celebrity but a Savior.

This speaks so much of the humble attitude of our Lord. Think about this - He is God. If there is anyone deserving of a "horn tooting" it is Jesus. Yet He was "gentle and humble in heart" (Mt 11:29). If He, Who is deserving of all praise, honor, and glory did not rally loud and long fanfares, how much less should we? "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips" (Pr 27:2). May we follow the footsteps of Christ in this area as in all others. "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (Jam 4:6)

2) Our Messiah is not a violent crusher of the wounded. He is the Gentle Shepherd. He is a patient Judge. "A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish."

I am so thankful for the gentle patience by which Christ has dealt with me. He was gentle and patient with me in my years of stubborn and wicked rebellion. He is gentle and patient with me now as a redeemed sinner who still so often struggles with selfishness and pride and the vast array of rotten fruit that accompanies those things.

At times, we are all bruised reeds and dimly burning wicks - all of us. "Christ's disciples were yet but weak, and many are so that have a place in his family. He will not discourage them, much less reject them or cast them off: the reed that is bruised shall not be broken and trodden down, but shall be supported, and made as strong as a cedar or flourishing palm tree. The candle newly lighted, though it only smokes and does not flame, shall not be blown out, but blown up." (Matthew Henry)

Christ is not a tyrant. No, no, not in any way! "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your weary souls." (Mt 11:29)

3) Our Messiah is not a quitter. He is a conqueror! "He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed."

Christ resolutely set His face towards Jerusalem. No one could do anything to Him until His time had come. He was in complete control of all of His Messianic duties. He fulfilled His mission perfectly and when His atoning work was accomplished His words were "It is finished."

He did what He was sent to do. The chosen Servant served well. This same chosen Servant will return again - just as He said He would and will "faithfully bring forth justice." I for one look forward to the return of the King of Kings. At that time there will be a fanfare. At that time there will be a just and righteous breaking of weeds. At that time He will "establish justice on the earth." Until that day, He humbly extends gentleness and patience to the bruised reeds and dim wicks. May we see every day that He tarries as room to repent and may His patience cause many of the bruised and broken to be made strong and stable by His grace.

Thankful for His gentleness,


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