Tag: burned



reed flute

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.”


There is a beautiful double meaning in the word for reed (qaneh).  But first a little history lesson.   Ever wonder where David got his musical ability?  He obviously had spent considerable time writing and composing his own music that he played for King Saul as a young man.  More than likely his musical experience developed through a common practice among many shepherds who spent considerable time in solitude.  To pass the time of day shepherds who had some musical ability would bind two reeds together which they hollowed out and put holes in the sides and made a little flute.  A shepherd would then spend countless hours playing little tunes on his flute.  This little flute was easily made and very fragile.  If it was damaged in the slightest, I like the word used for bruised which is rasas and means slightly damaged, the shepherd would toss it away, sometimes just crushing under foot and make a new flute.  After all it is easier and quicker to make a new flute than to try and repair the old one.  Doesn’t take much to total out a flute.


Sometimes, however, a shepherd may form an attachment to his little flute, and develop sentimental feelings for the instrument. In this case he would tenderly make repairs, binding up it’s broken parts until once more it made the beautiful music he enjoyed.  Do you ever feel like a broken flute, you’ve been totaled out and you expect to be tossed on the trash heap?   If the Shepherd has a special attachment to you, He will restore you so you can once again make beautiful music for Him.


There might be some of you who would say: “Golly, I didn’t know that, why doesn’t he just call it a flute, why a reed?”   There is a very good reason why the word qaneh (reed) is used rather than using the Hebrew word for flute which is uwgab.  The writer is making an interesting play on words here for qaneh can also mean to redeem, to purchase in the sense of redemption.  In other words the prophet is saying that for those that God has redeemed, he will play beautiful music. However, if we are bruised in anyway by sin, he will not just toss us away, and step on us and shatter us.  But he will lovingly piece us back together so he can once again make beautiful music through us.


“The smoking flax shall he not quench” is an interesting picture.  The ancients used to have little oil lamps that they would fill with some type of oil.  They would set a piece of flax in the lamp and let it float on the oil.  Then they would light it like a wick and let it burn.  When the oil ran out, the person would simply toss the old flax or wick away and fill the lamp with oil and place a new wick in the lamp.  Yet, the prophet is saying that we, like the old wick in the oil lamp, are not tossed out after the oil runs out.  Instead, God will simply refill the lamp with oil and relight us.


Now this is one verse that we can really relate to in our 21st Century Western culture.  We live in a  disposal, throw away society.   Our economy it built on the premise that as things wear out, we do not initiate repairs, we simply toss it out and buy something new.


The prophet in Isaiah 42:3 is telling us that God is in the recycling business.  If we are  a broken instrument or even a burned out wick, God will not dispose of us for someone younger, newer or fresher, even if that seems to be the most economical route to take.  Instead he keeps us on the payroll, initiates whatever repairs are necessary and continues to make beautiful music out of us or uses us to lighten the way for others.




II Kings 12:2-3: “And Jehoash did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.  Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.”


King Ahab and Jezebel, King and Queen of Israel had a daughter named Athaliah.  Some will say she was King Ahab’s sister, but Scripture seems to indicate she was their daughter.  She was married to King Jehoram of Judah, a descendent of David to seal a treaty between Judah and Israel. When King Jehoram was killed their son, Ahaziah became the king of Judah and hence the influence of his grandmother, Jezebel, the Queen of Israel, now carried over into Judah.  Under the powerful influence of his mother, Athaliah, he led Judah away from God into the paganism of Israel.


King Ahaziah made a state visit to Israel where Jehu assassinated him and then established himself as the King of Israel and had Athaliah’s entire extended family in Israel murdered. Athaliah established herself as Queen of Judah after her son’s death and proceeded to have the entire royal family, the blood line of David, put to death.   She almost succeeded except that her sister rescued Athaliah’s grandson, the last remaining descendent of David named Jehoash and had him secretly raised by the high priest Jehoiada, his great uncle.


At the age of 7 Jehoiada anointed Jehoash king and when Athaliah went to the temple to challenge this, Jehoiada had her removed in good old Hollywood fashion and executed. Under the Godly instruction and guidance of Jehoiada King Jehoash led the people back to God.


Note, however, in verse 2 that King Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of God, not what was good (tov). In other words he did what was right or in the Hebrew yasar which means straight, correct. But he was not doing what was tov (good) or in harmony with God. As we approach this holiday season, a lot of people including Christians are reaching out and doing a lot of right (yasar) which God recognizes, but not everyone will do what is tov or in harmony with God which is what God desires. To be in harmony with God you must understand His heart and do according to his heart. Note in II Kings 10:30 King Jehu of Israel did what was tov in the eyes of God or what was in harmony with God.  You can read about that in 10:18-28. The passage in verse 30 further states that King Jehu not only did what was right (yasar) but also “according to all that was in God’s Heart.”


Here is what is strange about all this. King Jehoash of Judah was under the instruction of a Godly priest who tried to do the right things, but he is credited with only doing yasar the correct thing, the right thing or righteous thing. 


King Jehu of Israel was not a nice man. He was cunning and deceptive. His motives were not so Godly.  He sought to end Baal worship out of revenge and in the process maybe win God’s favor (which he did).  After King Ahab died, King Jehu stood before all the people and said: “You think King Ahab did some rollicking, orgy ridden worship of Baal, man you haven’t seen anything yet. I want only the true worshippers of Baal, none of you half hearts, to gather at the meeting place and we are really going to get into some Baal worship.”  So when all the faithful gathered together with their perverted little worship toys for one big bash, King Jehu told his hit men, “Ok guys, go get em’”  They went in and slaughtered the remaining Baal worshippers that Elijah didn’t get. For that God said King Jehu did tov what was in harmony with Him and what was His Heart.


Now what was it that King Jehoash did that was righteous but not good?  Well, he managed to get the temple restored and he managed to do a pretty good job in collecting tithes (verse 4). But note verse 3, “the high places were not taken away.” The high places in Hebrew is bamah. This word has a double meaning, it means a high platform or pulpit and it also means to tread upon. It has the idea of something that you place above God.  These high places were found in every community in Judah, They were old sacred pagan grounds left over from the Canaanites. Generation after generation of Jews carried on pagan family worship at these sights. If King Jehoash tried to destroy these places, he would risk outright rebellion and run the risk of getting his head lopped off. A later King, Josiah, would take that risk and in the process win that coveted tov. Archaeologist have even found the remains of a high place that was intentionally destroyed and attribute this to the reforms of King Josiah.


You know, many Christians and many churches are like King Jehoash, they do a lot of righteous things, but so long as they leave those high places those little idols that seem so innocent and yet stands before God, they will never do according to the heart of God.