“A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory.” Matthew 12:20 KJV. These words are describing the ministry of Jesus to weary, bruised and battered souls who have been crushed under the weight sin and sorrow. They reveal so much to us about His loving and merciful heart towards us as feeble children. How we should rejoice that Jesus is a gentle and tenderhearted Saviour! He is not like men who trample over the weak and faltering. He does not give up on us when our light fades and becomes dim. Instead, He gently holds us up and breathes His own life into us. He fans the smoldering embers of our love for Him, until they burn brightly once again. Would to God we could understand that no one cares for us like Jesus does! He is our gentle Shepherd. He is our healing balm. He is the Restorer of our souls. He is our Potter Who doesn’t throw the clay away. And when we discover Jesus in this way, we will always be quick to call upon Him and run to Him for all of our needs.
“Yea, in the way of Thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee.” Isaiah 26:8 KJV. There is much said in God’s Word about waiting on the Lord, and certainly much for us to learn. Waiting is one of the difficult things to experience with our impatient natures. But we should understand that spiritual waiting is not a passive thing to be done how and where we choose. To wait on God means to patiently listen even as we continue following and walking in His ways. It means even in times of correction we are humbling ourselves to learn the lesson our Father has for us. Too often people think that while they wait on God they will go about their own things and then expect God to break through all of their worldly activities and seeking, to reveal something to them. But we must wait in the right place and with the right attitude. We must wait as we walk in a spirit of obedience to His Word. We must wait with our eyes upon Him and the desire of our soul for Him above all else. We wait with a desire for His presence, for His will to be revealed and for His blessing upon all that we do. And as we wait, let us keep our thoughts focused upon God.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26:3-4 KJV. Many times when we read verse 3, we assume that if we can only keep our thoughts centered on God, then we will have peace. But notice the word ‘BECAUSE’. This reminds us, that we will only focus our attention on God, if we trust Him. We will only look to Him for our peace, as we trust Him. In essence, peace comes because we trust God and we focus our thoughts on the One we trust. Verse 4 confirms these thoughts of the writer, where he is encouraging us to trust in the Lord, in Whom is everlasting strength! Many years ago, at a time of great sorrow and loss in her own life, Louisa Stead was inspired to write the words which have been sung all over the world for the past 100 years:
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take him at His word; Just to rest upon His promise,
just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.” Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!’ By God’s grace, let us put all of our trust in Jesus, because only in trusting Him will we find peace.
“For Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat…” Isaiah 25:4 KJV. As the prophet thought about God’s wonderful works, he was reminded how God had been all of these things to His people and so much more. When Joseph was in great distress, rejected by his brothers, falsely accused and imprisoned, God had been his strength. When Moses was a poor shepherd, God made him rich with His presence, power and glory. When David faced a storm of adversity from his enemies, he found God as his refuge. When the fires of persecution came upon the children of Israel, God became their hiding place and shelter. And the good news is, God is just the same today! What He did for them He will do for us. Who He was to them He will be to us. So even as the days seem dark around us, may we be encouraged, that our God will always be to us ALL that we need! When we’re down, let us look to Him and be lifted up. When we’re sad, look to Jesus and receive the joy He has for us. When we’re troubled, lean upon Him and experience the peace only He can give. He is ALL that we need.
“O Lord, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name; for Thou hast done wonderful things; Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1 KJV. There is a reason that the prophet’s heart was filled with praise to God. He has been considering the wonderful things God has done. He has thought upon the promises God has given and how He has been faithful to fulfill His Word. And as he thinks upon these things he is reminded, that very same God, Who parted the Red Sea for His children and fed them for 40 years in the desert, that is MY GOD! The same God, Who used little David to defeat a heathen giant, He is MY GOD! The same God Who lifted Joseph from the prison house to the throne, is still MY GOD! And so it will be with us, when we take time to consider what God has promised, the marvelous things He has done and that He is our God today. When we choose to ‘think on these good things’, the dark clouds will soon pass away, and our hearts will be filled with praise to God! Let us make that choice today, to think upon the good things of God.
“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Hebrews 13:14 KJV. For the early Jewish believers who received this letter, they knew very well the reality of these words. Their cities were destroyed and they were persecuted and driven from their homes. So their faith and hopes were focused on Jesus, the Architect of that Heavenly city waiting when this life is over. Today these words remind us of two things. First of all, as Christians this world is not our home. Nothing in this material world is permanent. Whether we live in prosperity or suffer persecution, as many Christians around the world do, we still are just passing through this world. All that is here is temporary, soon to pass away. But then, because of Jesus Christ, we have a place prepared in that Heavenly city! And that is what we are seeking for. That is what causes us to press on each day through the toils and struggles of this earthly life. And thank God, that city will endure forever! We have an eternal home waiting for us. What a day that will be! By God’s grace, let us keep our eyes on the goal!
“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant…” Genesis 32:10 NKJV. This was a very important part of Jacob’s prayer to God, when he feared meeting his estranged brother. As Jacob pleaded with God for mercy and protection he said these words that are so very important to all true and effective prayer. He confessed his unworthiness! He admitted that God has been far better to him than he ever deserved. This showed some understanding of God’s grace. This was the attitude of a heart humble before God. And this is still the attitude necessary for us to receive the answers to our prayers that we need. And yet, in our privileged and entitled culture, it is an attitude that very few actually possess. Our flesh and the world continually try to tell us that we ‘deserve’ good things. Even that we ‘deserve’ better things. We believe that we do not deserve to ever suffer or go through hardships. But may God help us to humble ourselves and confess with Jacob, “Lord we are not worthy of anything good from Your hand”. And as we make this humble confession, then we will seek for mercy and grace, which God always delights in.
“…let Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth continually preserve me.” Psalms 40:11 KJV. In this verse the psalmist links the love and kindness of God with the truth of God. He knows that real love is always truthful. There is no way for us to be kept safe and preserved from the evil of this world unless we open our hearts to both love and truth. Many today want to hear only about love because they do not understand what true love is. But it is in His love that God reveals His truth to us. He knows we need the truth about our fallen condition and the devil who is seeking to destroy souls. We need the truth about sin and how sin separates the soul from God (Isa. 59:2). We need the truth of Heaven and hell. We need to know the truth of humility, repentance, obedience and Godly living. And most of all, we need to know the truth of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. That He did not come to give us peace in our sins but to free us from the power of sin, and cleanse us so we could have His peace. We need the truth of His sovereignty and power, so that we do not fear the uncertainty of these evil days. So if we are going to be spiritually secure, and preserved from evil, let us open our hearts to all of the truth God has for us.
“Deliver me from all my transgressions…” Psalms 39:8 KJV. This was the cry of a heart who desired to please God over 1000 years before Jesus came into this world. This was before the Gospel and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This was before the New Covenant when so much more became available to mankind spiritually. The psalmist longed to be free from sin and live a life that would bring glory to God. And yet today, the mass of professed Christianity believes just the opposite. They believe it’s ok to live with sin in their hearts and lives. There is very little sincere desire to be cleansed from all sin and to live without committing sin. As a result, sin is accepted and tolerated. But let’s be clear, no genuine child of God wants to remain in sin. No real Christian, regardless of background, is content with known sin in their life. No true believer chooses to continue living in a way that grieves the loving heart of our Father in Heaven. A very real part of the New Spiritual Birth is, that God gives us a new heart, with new desires. And a part of those new desires is this longing to be set free from sin, so that we do not continue wounding the heart of our Blessed Lord and Saviour. And thank God, that is a desire our Father in Heaven will grant.
“And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.” Genesis 42:36 KJV. Because Jacob was not able to see the big picture he made the false assumption that, “all of these things are against me”. As people tend to do, he thought the worst. But there would come a time that he would praise God for these very things. So many times in our lives we see only what is in front of us and we react according to what we feel in that moment. And as we do, it seems like so many things are against us. But may God help us to look through the eyes of faith, with God’s promise in our hearts, that all of these things, God is working for our eternal good and for His Glory! (Rom. 8:28) Let us have the faith and trust in God that looks further than these immediate things, and see our Sovereign God Who is greater than, and ruling over all things. For Jacob, when he finally saw things as they were, a few months later, scripture tells us “his spirit revived”. May our spirits be revived today, as we lift our eyes to Jesus. These things around us are not the end of the story, because our God is still on the throne.