A bruised reed - The word ‹reed‘ means the cane or calamus which grows up in marshy or wet places (Isaiah 36:6; see the note at Isaiah 43:24). The word, therefore, literally denotes that which is fragile, weak, easily waved by the wind, or broken down; and stands in contrast with a lofty and firm tree (compare Matthew 11:7): ‹What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?‘ The word here, therefore, may be applied to people who are conscious of feebleness and sin; that are moved and broken by calamity; that feel that they have no strength to bear up against the ills of life. The word ‹bruised‘ (רצוּץ râtsûts ) means that which is broken or crushed, but not entirely broken off. As used here, it may denote those who are in themselves naturally feeble, and who have been crushed or broken down by a sense of sin, by calamity, or by affliction. We speak familiarly of crushing or breaking down by trials; and the phrase here is intensive and emphatic, denoting those who are at best like a reed - feeble and fragile; and who, in addition to that, have been broken and oppressed by a sense of their sins, or by calamity.
Shall he not break - Shall he not break off. He will not carry on the work of destruction, and entirely crush or break it. And the idea is, that he will not make those already broken down with a sense of sin and with calamity, more wretched. He will not deepen their afflictions, or augment their trials, or multiply their sorrows. The sense is, that he will have an affectionate regard for the broken-hearted, the humble, the penitent, and the afflicted. Luther has well expressed this: ‹He does not cast away, nor crush, nor condemn the wounded in conscience, those who are terrified in view of their sins; the weak in faith and practice, but watches over and cherishes them, makes them whole, and affectionately embraces them.‘ The expression is parallel to that which occurs in Isaiah 61:1, where it is said of the Messiah, ‹He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted;‘ and to the declaration in Isaiah 50:4, where it is said, ‹that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.‘
The smoking flax - The word used here denotes flax, and then a wick that is made of it. The word rendered ‹smoking‘ (כהה kēhâh ) means that which is weak, small, thin, feeble; then that which is just ready to go out, or to be extinguished; and the phrase refers literally to the expiring wick of a lamp, when the oil is almost consumed, and when it shines with a feeble and dying luster. It may denote here the condition of one who is feeble and disheartened, and whose love to God seems almost ready to expire. And the promise that he will not extinguish or quench that, means that he would cherish, feed, and cultivate it; he would supply it with grace, as with oil to cherish the dying flame, and cause it to be enkindled, and to rise with a high and steady brilliancy. The whole passage is descriptive of the Redeemer, who nourishes the most feeble piety in the hearts of his people, and who will not suffer true religion in the soul ever to become wholly extinct. It may seem as if the slightest breath of misfortune or opposition would extinguish it forever; it may be like the dying flame that hangs on the point of the wick, but if there be true religion it will not be extinguished, but will be enkindled to a pure and glowing flame, and it will yet rise high, and burn brightly.
He shall bring forth judgment - (See Isaiah 42:1). The word ‹judgment‘ here evidently denotes the true religion; the laws, institutions, and appointments of God.
Unto truth - Matthew Matthew 12:29 renders this, ‹unto victory.‘ The meaning in Isaiah is, that he shall establish his religion according to truth; he shall faithfully announce the true precepts of religion, and secure their ascendency among mankind. It shall overcome all falsehood, and all idolatry, and shall obtain a final triumph in all nations. Thus explained, it is clear that Matthew has retained the general idea of the passage, though he has not quoted it literally.
The work that the Saviour was to do on the earth had been fully outlined: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.” The One thus anointed was “to preach good tidings unto the meek; ... to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 11:2, 3; 61:1-3. AA 224.1
“Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. 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.” Isaiah 42:1-4. AA 224.2
With convincing power Paul reasoned from the Old Testament Scriptures that “Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.” Had not Micah prophesied, “They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek”? Micah 5:1. And had not the Promised One, through Isaiah, prophesied of Himself, “I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting”? Isaiah 50:6. Through the psalmist Christ had foretold the treatment that He should receive from men: “I am ... a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.” “I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.” “I am become a stranger unto My brethren, and an alien unto My mother's children. For the zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me.” “Reproach hath broken My heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” Psalm 22:6-8, 17, 18; 69:8, 9, 20. AA 225.1Read in context »
1-4. Christ Would Encourage Faith and Hope—[Isaiah 42:1, 2 quoted.] He [Christ] will not be like the teachers of His day. The ostentation and show and parade of piety revealed in the priests and Pharisees is not His way. [Isaiah 42:3, 4 quoted.] Christ saw the work of the priests and rulers. The very ones who needed help, the afflicted, the distressed, were treated with words of censure and rebuke, and He forbore to speak any word that would break the feeble reed. The dimly burning wick of faith and hope, He would encourage, and not quench. He would feed His flock like a shepherd; He would gather the lambs with His arms, and carry them in His bosom (Manuscript 151, 1899). 4BC 1146.1
5-12. Faithfulness Leads Men to Praise God—[Isaiah 42:5-12 quoted.] This work had been given to Israel, but they had neglected their God-appointed work. Had they been faithful in all parts of the Lord's vineyard, souls would have been converted. The Lord's praise would have been heard from the ends of the earth. From the wilderness and the cities thereof, and from the tops of the mountains, men would have shouted His praise, and told of His glory (Manuscript 151, 1899). 4BC 1146.2Read in context »
The work to be carried on by the people of God is declared in the words of Inspiration: “Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” Mark 1:2, 3. “Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him. He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.... He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.” Isaiah 42:1-4. 9T 64.1
God invites all men to the fullest investigation of the claims of His law. His word is sacred and infinite. The cause of truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Earnest study of the word of God will reveal the truth. Sin and wrong will not be sustained, but the law of God will be vindicated. “Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Verse 5-7. Christians are to seek their light from the word of God and then in faith go forth to give that light to those who sit in darkness. 9T 64.2
Sanitarium, California,Read in context »