Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgement 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. (Isa. 42:1-3)
How Christ Pursues His Calling
Here it says that it is done modestly, without making a noise, or raising up dust by a pompous arrival, as politicians are used to doing. “His voice shall not be heard.” His voice was indeed heard, but what voice? “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden” (Matt. 11:28). He cried, but how? “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” (Isa. 55:1). And as his coming was modest, it was also mild, which is set down in these words: “A bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench.”
We see therefore, that the condition of those he was to deal with, was that they were bruised reeds and smoking flax. Not trees, but reeds; and not whole, but bruised reeds. The church is compared to weak things: to a dove amongst the fowls; to a vine amongst the plants; to sheep amongst the beasts; to a woman, which is the weaker vessel.
God’s children are bruised reeds before their conversion, and they often stay bruised reeds after. Before conversion, all (except the ones that, being brought up in the church, God has delighted to show himself gracious to them from childhood), all are bruised reeds. Yet in different degrees, as God sees fit. And just as there are differences in temperament, gifts, and lifestyle, so there are differences in God’s intention to use men in the time to come. For he usually empties them of themselves and makes them nothing before he will use them for any great services.