Isaiah 42:3 – A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
I wanted to continue the discussion we had yesterday regarding this verse and now look at the smoking flax. The Common Flax or linseed is used for multiple purposes. The seed can be used to make linseed oil which is edible or when it dries can produce a beautiful finish on wood surfaces. The fiber part or shaft of the flax plant can be used to make a fiber that can be woven to make linen. Linseed oil is known as a drying oil and can spontaneously combust if it gets too hot while exposed to oxygen. Oxygen can cause linseed oil to polymerize or harden due to the high concentration of alpha-Linolenic acid. Because of this, linseed oil can create an exothermic reaction giving off heat. The oils in flax could potentially smoke or smolder as they react when they dry.
A smoking or smoldering flax plant is something that likely does not produce a lot of heat. It is barely burning. God said he would not quench the smoking flax or put out its barely visible flame. We often barely have enough goodness in us that is noticeable to the world, but God takes notice of the smoke. God takes notice of the flicker of trying to please him. We as Christians can harden quickly as we are exposed to this world. Sometimes the flesh gets a hold of us and anger comes out as we produce an exothermic reaction during the situation at hand. But the Holy Ghost arrests us and sees that we are but flesh. He sees that heat still burning in our heart and the smoke that still smolders. He pulls us back to Him. He does not upbraid us or tear us down. He helps us to repent and come back to Him. God takes the little bit of good that he puts inside us and grows it. He never discourages the growth in our lives.
I think at times we are harder on ourselves than God. I am not saying we should be slothful servants but at the same time we should not be discouraged by what seems very slow growth in our spiritual life. Does it seem like you are just a smoldering flax, barely able to make it from day to day? The Lord sees. He wants you to grow. The devil wants you to abandon all hope and quench the little smoldering of the Holy Ghost. God wants to grow it. Who are you going to listen to?