ALL OF US HAVE HAD TIMES WHEN
WE FELT LIKE A SMOLDERING WICK
WHERE IS THE FIRE,
THE FAITH WE HAD TO BELIEVE?
LIKE PETER, WE ALL HAVE FAILED.
AND THE ENEMY IS CLEVER,
KNOWING THAT FAILURE CAN LEAD TO RETREAT,
AND THEN EVEN TO DOUBT.
BUT IF WE ARE HIS,
THERE IS ALWAYS A FLICKER OF LIFE,
A SMOLDERING FLAME THAT HE WILL NEVER PUT OUT.
ISAIAH PROMISES THAT THE MESSIAH
WILL NOT PUT OUT
A SMOLDERING WICK.
INSTEAD, HIS SPIRIT WILL FAN IT INTO FLAME.
AS HE DID PETER
OUR RESPONSE TO THE BRUISING
IF WE RESPOND WITH TRUST,
HE CAN MAKE US A GREAT HEART,
AS HE MADE PETER A GREAT HEART.
The Lord is revealing to me new truths and reminding me of old truths as I am memorizing 1st John. In the morning when I wake up,
before I get out of bed i reach for my kindle with the ESV Bible on it. In the dark, still under the warm covers, I memorize. One thing I am being reminded of is that God changes us as we behold His goodness.
It is easy to think that the way to change is to try harder, but simply beholding Him changes us. One day we will be completely changed — how will that happen? I have made bold what I have seen.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared,
but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
i John 3:2
Do you see? Beholding Jesus makes us like Him! So as you behold Him in these Servant songs, you will become more like Him! You will be kinder, gentler, not breaking a bruised reed or putting out a faintly burning wick. I don’t know how it happens, but His Word promises us it does, and I am experiencing that! There are people in my life that are truly bruised reeds, and it is easy to quarrel with them because of the storm in their own souls. But God is giving me grace for them, showing me when to speak and when to be silent so that there might be healing instead of breaking. In the same way, I have my own brokenness, but I can run to Him, and trust Him, for He is a gentle Shepherd, who longs to heal my wounds rather than break me or quench my spirit.
As you see changes happening in your character this Lent, go ahead and share — for you are not bragging about yourself, but about the power of His Spirit, and that encourages us all.
1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study:
Prepare your heart with this:
2. Read Isaiah 42:1 and see if you can identify each person of the Trinity.
Mike Reeves, whom many of you listened to when we studied the Song of Songs, says that it is extremely important that we notice the continued emphasis that our God is a Triune God. It means that He is love, and unlike, for example, Allah, He has been in fellowship from eternity, and understands love. Allah, in contrast, Reeves explains, has been alone, and thus is “curved in on himself.”
3. Read Isaiah 42:1-3 and explain how you see love on the part of the Father and love on the part of the Son for us.
4. Now read Matthew 12:9-21, where this passage from Isaiah is quoted.
A. Read Matthew 12:9-14 for context, contrasting the attitude of Jesus toward the man with a withered hand and the contrast of the Pharisees.
B. Read Matthew 12:15-16 and describe Jesus response to those who were suffering.
C. Verse 17 now says the preceding was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, and quotes Isaiah. What light does seeing
this passage in Matthew’s gospel give you for understanding this servant song?
D. What will Jesus do according to verse 18, and how will he do it according to verse 19?
Richard Sibbes speaks of the gentleness that Christ has toward new believers: God’s children, especially in their first conversion, there is but a little measure of grace, and that little mixed with much corruption, which, as smoke, is offensive; but Christ will not quench this smoking flax. Then Sibbes gives examples of how the Lord gave grace to His servants: Moses, Abraham, David and made them great hearts.
5. Think back to when you were an immature believer, and of how you were indeed like a smoldering wick with much offensive smoke. How did Christ show grace to you, encourage you, and help your flame to grow?
6. Sibbes quotes the Song, “I slept, but my heart was awake.” I am “dark but lovely.” How do you see both of these conditions in you, and how is He helping you to grow now?
7. Do not be unaware of the enemy’s devices. When you sin, you may want the darkness for cover — so you retreat from the light. Then you may begin to doubt the Light is even true. Have you seen this in your life or in the life of a younger believer who is like “smouldering flax?” If so, how might You speak to your soul? How might you pray for a younger believer?
8. Read Isaiah 42:5-9 and find examples of the kindness and gentleness of the Lord. Find at least five.
9. In the message by Keller, if you listen, he does talk about the way of Christ being nonviolent and how that inspired Martin Luther King. Does this have any application to your life, since we are told to walk in the same way He walked? In America, for example, we have a divided and angry country. How are you approaching this in a way that would be peace-loving?
10. What hope does this picture of Christ, as not breaking a bruised reed or putting out a smoldering wick give you in your life right now?
Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon or Readings from Sibbes
I am suggesting you buy the Servant Songs Series from Keller — you could skip the one by his associate. You don’t get a break by buying them together, and we may not listen to every one but we will listen to most, and all are so good. This week’s sermon is http://www.gospelinlife.com/a-bruised-reed-he-will-not-break-6050
An alternative option this week would be to read some from Sibbes book, A Bruised Reed. Lizzy found it free on the internet. Here is that link: http://www.onthewing.org/user/Sibbes%20-%20Bruised%20Reed%20-%20Updated.pdf
11. Share your notes or comments from either the sermon or the book by Sibbes.
12. What is your take-a-way this week and why?