Welcome to Kindling for Candles! I chose the name for the blog from Isaiah 42 and Matthew 12. Within those passages there is justice, confrontation of evil, compassion, comfort and hope. Matthew opens chapter 12 by describing Jesus twice challenging the Pharisees, he goes on to tell of Jesus healing people, and he then writes,
17This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
18“BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN;
MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL is WELL-PLEASED;
I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM,
AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES.
19HE WILL NOT QUARREL, NOR CRY OUT;
NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS.
20A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF,
AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT,
UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY.
21AND IN HIS NAME THE NATIONS WILL HOPE.”1
The passage in Isaiah that Matthew quotes is from the first of Isaiah’s Servant Songs of Messiah. Derek Kidner writes that the Songs “portray the Servant as ‘the man for others.'”2 Think about that for a moment. Jesus came to lay down His life, that those who believe in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life. He was truly ‘the man for others.’
Look at the passage in Isaiah 42, and focus in on verses 3 and 4.
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him,
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4He will not fail or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.”
Kidner points out something so tender and reassuring to me.
“The Servant’s gentleness, both as unassertiveness (v. 2) and as tenderness for the weak and inadequate (v. 3) is unmarred by any weakness of his own: the words fail and discouraged (v. 4) pointedly take up the Hebrew terms already used for dimly burning and bruised (v. 3).”3
Now think about that for a moment. Bruised in verse 3, and discouraged (NASB: crushed) in verse 4 are both from the same Hebrew word.4 Dimly burning in verse 3, and fail (NASB: disheartened) in verse 4 are both from another Hebrew word.5
When we are like a bruised reed, we have a Savior who is never discouraged, who will not break us. When we feel as if we are a dimly burning wick about to go out, we have a Savior who will not fail, who will not quench us.
R. T. France describes Matthew 12:20:
The weak and vulnerable (the smoldering wick is one in danger of going out altogether) are the special object of his mission, and he deals with them with all the gentleness offered to the over-burdened in 11:28–30. Far from letting them be broken and quenched, he will lead them to victory, for in him they will find justice, a word whose scope in the Old Testament is wider than the mere legal vindication, denoting rather the setting right of whatever is not as it should be, ‘the complete establishing of the will of God’.6
We have each had times in our lives when we have felt battered or like a candle that is smoldering and about to go out. The words of Isaiah and Matthew have given me encouragement in my darkest days, and those themes of justice, evil, compassion, comfort and hope speak to me deeply.
The word encourage has two parts: en- and the word courage. When you take en- and attach it to courage, you have a word that means to bring someone to courage. We need to be brought to courage as we falter when we are weary, lonely, devastated, or in dread of the mockery or actions of others. Sometimes we can’t even clearly see that a situation calls for courage because we lack the necessary moral clarity or understanding. We may have personal difficulties in which we need to brought to courage, or we may not be in danger or difficulties, but others are, and they need us to be brought to courage on their behalf so that we in turn can encourage them.
At Kindling for Candles I want to encourage you. Any encouragement I give, however, is not rooted in who I am, but in who God is, and all that He has done for us through the Lord Jesus. That’s why the Bible is, and always will be, the backbone of what I write.
If you’d like to know more about who I am, click on My Witness in the header, and “I Hold, I Am Held” underneath My Witness. Truth For The Heart describes the cornerstone of my content, and explains more of why I write what I write.
May God bless you, keep you, and encourage you!
Candle: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
1In the NASB New Testament quotes of Old Testament passages are in all upper-case letters. Matthew 12:18–21 refers back to Isaiah 42:1–3.
2,3Derek Kidner, “Isaiah”, The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds. (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1970) 612, 613.
4William White, “2212 (rāṣaṣ), “crush, oppress,” vol. II, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, eds. (The Moody Bible Institute, Chicago IL: 1980) 860.
5John N. Oswalt, “957 (kāhâ), be dim…fail,” vol. I, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, eds. (The Moody Bible Institute, Chicago IL: 1980) 430.
6R. T. France, The Gospel According to Matthew (Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids MI: 1985) 206–207.
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