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Devotional - week of February 27, 2005


TENDER HEARTED – STRONG HEARTED

A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench … Isaiah 42:3

Isaiah 42:3 describes the spirit of Jesus as He ministered to others while He was on earth. He never abused those who were emotionally defeated and fragile—regardless of their spiritual condition.

The last part of Isaiah 42:3 says of Jesus:

… He will bring forth justice for truth.

Bringing forth justice” is bringing the love of God and the way of salvation to mankind. “For truth” should be understood as “by truth.” Jesus’ approach was in providing truth in gentleness rather than harshness.

Isaiah 42:4 says of Jesus:

He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth …

The Hebrew word translated “fail” is the same root word as “smoking” in verse 3. The word translated “discouraged” is the same root as “bruised” in verse 3. While Jesus was tender toward the fragile and defeated, He himself was not fragile and defeated.

Today many believers are fragile in spirit due to their being victims of rejection and abusive attitudes. Jesus faced all of this and much more. However, He always lived above a state of defeat.

Isaiah 50:7 quotes Jesus as saying about His crucifixion:

“the Lord God will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.”

With His trust in the Lord God, Jesus set His face like a flint or hard stone to die on the cross. Neither rejection, nor abuse, nor pain stopped Jesus from going to the cross.

When we look to God as our strength, we can serve the fragile and broken with a tender heart, regardless of their spiritual condition. With a strong heart we can continue to live a life of availability to God in spite of what we might face.