a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
A couple of days ago, we looked at the first part of this verse in Isaiah, in a post entitled ‘A Bruised Reed’.
This is ‘part 2’.
Scenario: The Lamp
Picture a stormy, dark evening. There has been a power cut that has plunged the whole house into darkness.
Then you remember an old oil lamp that you bought in an antique shop a few months ago; now’s the perfect chance to try it out!
After a few bungled attempts, you manage to light the oil soaked wick and the room is filled with a soft, warm light. The rest of the family filters in, drawn to the room where there’s light, and for a while you enjoy one another’s company without the usual modern-day distractions of TV and social media.
Then, after a while, the light starts to flicker. Oh dear; you realise that the lamp has not been filled with oil and you don’t have any in the house.
Smoke begins to come from the wick, and those closest to the lamp feel the smoke burning their eyes. They move away from the discomfort, to a safer distance. Someone starts to cough.
The lamp still gives some light, but it’s so dim that it only lights the tiniest area around itself.
In Biblical times, lamps were filled with olive oil and a small piece of cloth was used as the wick. The wick, when lit, drew oil up from the base of the lamp and kept burning as long as it remained saturated with oil.
If the wick wasn’t inserted properly, or deeply enough to soak up enough oil, or if the wick became contaminated with dust or grime, the wick might begin to smoke.
Sometimes, a careless person might forget to fill their lamp with oil. The wick would start to dry out and the fabric would burn down, until just a little stub was left.This would ‘smoke’, probably a bit like a candle that’s burning very low. The lamp light would grow very dim.
The easiest way to stop a smoking wick it is to snuff it out and trim it right down. Sometimes if it’s become very dirty, it would need to be pulled out and replaced with a new one.
Picture your heart as an oil lamp: “You are the light of the world. (Said Jesus) A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
Jesus has commanded and commissioned every one of us to let our light shine brightly in this dark world. As His followers, none of us is exempt.
First, and foremost, though, it’s The LORD who lights my lamp, and keeps it burning.
Psalm 18:28 “You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”
It’s not religion, it’s relationship with the Living God that makes us shine brightly. When Moses came down from the mountain after spending time in God’s presence his face shone so brightly that the people couldn’t look at him.
And have a look at what Psalm 34:5 tells us: “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed”.
It isn’t striving to DO good, or BE better, to try and please God that keeps the fire burning in our hearts, it’s relationship with the One who ignites the flame to start with – we only know and love God, because He loved us first, and made Himself known and KNOWABLE to us.
My lamp will stay brightly lit when I keep it filled with the richest of oil; Time spent in God’s Word and God’s presence. Not dipping a toe in occasionally – a little top up, here and there – but filled.
There’s a parable Jesus tells in Matthew 25, that is both sad and serves as a warning. These five did not keep their lamps filled.
On the other hand, can you picture the church filled with brightly lit lamps, lighting up their surroundings everywhere we go!
We aren’t always like that though are we? I know I’m certainly not.
Often our wicks become ‘contaminated’, and we start to give off a bit of smoke that gets into other people’s eyes and up their noses – a smoking wick is really unpleasant to be around!
Our light starts to become dimmer, even barely perceptible.
Contrite Equals Revival
When God sees that our wick is smoking – that we’re ‘not burning properly’, does He decide to snuff us out – scrap us – start again; maybe use a lamp that burns brighter? Perhaps choose one with a wick that doesn’t smoke?
Isaiah 42:3 Tells us that God won’t do that.
God will restore and revive the contrite heart
Isaiah 57:15 Tells us that God “revives the contrite heart”
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:17
Just One Last Thought…
Think about what you do instinctively, when trying to light, or relight a candle that keeps going out; You shield it with your hands.
Sometimes our lives don’t quite turn out the way we hoped and we tend to allow disappointment, hurt or fear to seep in and contaminate our the wick’. Sometimes the storms of life can be pretty rough! But this is what God does: In His incredible mercy and grace, God comes alongside us. He shields us with His huge, All powerful hands. He says to us, “though the harsh winds may blow all around you, your light will not be extinguished”.
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
This is our God, the One who Restores and Revives and brings to life what seemed dead!
God sees the heart that is struggling and starting to burn low.
He also sees your smallest move toward Him and hears your tiniest “yes Lord” and He responds in His great love and mercy.
He will come to you and reignite your faintly burning wick, causing you to burn bright and strong again.
Just ask Him.
Below are two featured items from my Etsy shop.
Items are handmade from upcycled materials & vintage watch parts. To view more photos & details or to purchase, please click the highlighted link on the product, which will take you to the item listing. Or to browse the shop click here 👇🏻
Miss Maisie’s Wee Shop