The Bruised Reed Ch. 4 and 5
The Bruised Reed, by Richard Sibbes @ Reading a Classic Together with Tim Challies.
Chapter 4, Christ Will Not Quench the Smoking Flax
What a joy it is for me to be reassured of this great truth, salvation is by grace and never by works; and this truth is taught so clearly on this chapter, that I cannot but rejoice and glorify my Savior, for His “spark” as Sibbes says is “a spark that is from heaven: it is his own, it is kindled by His own Spirit”
I also see, even from the first paragraph, the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints; it is God who lights the spark, and it is also He, who “preserves light in the midst of darkness, a spark in the midst of the swelling waters of corruption”
When I see His love, His work in me, I see but His hands covering the little flame, protecting it from the strong winds which want to quench it. He is merciful, He knows, He remembers my weaknesses and He promised that He would not let my light die.
But as always, how He deals with me teaches me a lot on how He wants me to deal with others.
Many questions arouse in my heart regarding my condition:
Am I merciful to my neighbor? to my son? to my husband?
Am I full of patience with the one I am sharing the gospel?
Am I denying myself some liberties for the sake of the weaker ones?
Am I being “severe to myself, but tender over others”?
What about the gifts God has given my friends, am I honoring them?
Now I know that you cannot read Sibbes without asking yourself this kind of questions. The Puritan author challenges us to live as Christ, showing grace in all weakness.
Chapter 5, The spirit of Mercy Should Move Us
May your spirit of mercy move me to use the right keys to open those doors that you want me to open , O Lord; and do not let me force open those others that you meant to be closed.
How I long to have the spirit of mercy governing me as I preach the gospel to my own children, so many treasures are in the Word of God, and Sibbes urges the preacher (in my case I am a preacher to my own children) to “take heed that they hide not their meaning in dark speeches, speaking in clouds. Truth fears nothing so much as concealment, and desires nothing so much as clearly to be laid open to the view of all” Only God can give us the wisdom as we preach to our own children, to come down, and meet their eyes, and speak to their souls.
Sibbes, teaches on sound judgement, and it is so clearly that we will only be able to make a sound judgement when we start seeing ourselves as bruised reeds. And again, I cannot but think of my role as a mom. How many times I am quick to judge severely a sin in my children’s heart, without first considering my own sinful, broken heart. If I would only remember these words, “The Holy Ghost is content to dwell in smoky, offensive souls. Oh, that that Spirit would breathe into our spirits the same merciful disposition!”
I chose the pictures above because they remind me of the day we turned on this fire. It was so windy, and a storm hit us hard, but we tended a little spark and after a while, it turned into a beautiful fire.