“He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick.” Matthew 12:20
What is weaker than the bruised reed — or the smoldering wick?
A reed that grows in the marsh — let but the wild duck land upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it, and it is bruised and broken; every wind that flits across the river — moves it to and fro. You can conceive of nothing more frail or brittle, or whose existence is more in jeopardy, than a bruised reed.
Then look at the smoldering wick — what is it? It has a spark within it, it is true — but it is almost smothered; an infant’s breath might blow it out; nothing has a more precarious existence than its flame.
Weak things are here described — yet Jesus says of them, “I will not break a bruised reed; I will not put out a smoldering wick.” Some of God’s children are made strong to do mighty works for Him; God has His Samsons here and there — who can pull up Gaza’s gates, and carry them to the top of the hill; He has a few mighties who are lion-like men. But the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. They are like starlings, frightened at every passer-by. They are a little fearful flock. If temptation comes — they are captured like birds in a snare. If trial threatens — they are ready to faint. Their frail skiff is tossed up and down by every wave; they drift along like a sea bird on the crest of the billows — weak things, without strength, without wisdom, without foresight.
Yet, as weak as they are — and because they are so weak — they have this promise made specially to them! Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and loving-kindness! How it reveals the compassion of Jesus to us — so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from His touch. We need never fear a harsh word from Him — though He might well chide us for our weakness. Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and the smoldering wick no damping frowns!