“A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory”- Mat 12:20
(W)e have before us a view of mortal frailty-a bruised reed and a smoking flax-two very suggestive metaphors, and very full of meaning… I should say that the bruised reed is an emblem of a sinner in the first stage of his conviction. The work of God’s Holy Spirit begins with bruising. In order to be saved, the fallow ground must be ploughed up; the hard heart must be broken; the rock must be split in sunder… I take it then that the bruised reed is a picture of the poor sinner when first God commences His operation upon the soul; he is as a bruised reed, almost entirely broken and consumed; there is but little strength in him. The smoking flax I conceive to be a backsliding Christian; one who has been a burning and a shining light in his day, but by neglect of the means of grace, the withdrawal of God’s Spirit, and falling into sin, his light is almost gone out-not quite-it never can go out, for Christ saith, “I will not quench it;” but it becomes like a lamp when ill supplied with oil-almost useless…So I think these metaphors very likely describe the contrite sinner as a bruised reed, and the backsliding Christian as smoking flax.
Weak things, you see, are here described. Well, Christ says of them, “The smoking flax I will not quench; the bruised reed I will not break.” Let me go in search of the weaklings…Ah! dear friends, I know I have got hold of some of your hands now, and your hearts too; for you are saying, “Weak! Ah, that I am. Full often I am constrained to say, I would, but cannot sing; I would, but cannot pray; I would, but cannot believe.” You are saying that you cannot do anything; your best resolves are weak and vain; and when you cry, “My strength renew,” you feel weaker than before. You are weak, are you? …Blessed be God, this text is for you then. I am glad you can come in under the denomination of weak ones, for here is a promise that He will never break nor quench (you), but will sustain and hold (you) up. ~ C.H. Spurgeon