... And the smoking flax shall he not quench:... ~Isaiah 42:3b
If you study the Bible very carefully, you will realize that it is rich in content on many daily, common subjects. Among the many things of interest are the many plant varieties that were used for food or fuel. Flax is a plant known for its fibrous composition. It has many nutritious qualities and is most famous for its seeds that are very good for digestive and heart health. The flax plant, when dried out, also served a useful purpose as a wick in ancient-day lamps. Let us see a very encouraging lesson about “the smoking flax shall he not quench.”
We see the apparatus.
A typical ancient lamp was made out of clay and was about the size of a man’s hand or smaller. Olive oil would be poured into the lamp as fuel. Dried flax would be inserted into from the top of the lamp and would serve as the wick for lighting the lamp. Once lighted, the lamp gave a warm glow that would enable the person to see clearly in the dark. The glow would be enough for at least the next step. I always remind my church that God only needs to give us enough light from His Word for the next step.
We see the analogy.
The typical oil-fueled lamps were useful as long as there was sufficient oil in them. Eventually, the oil supply would be consumed. Once this happened, the glow from the lighted flax would become dimmer and dimmer until the light went out. If the holder of the lamp relit the flax, it would give off a lot of smoke and an acrid, burning smell. Hence, the phrase "smoking flax" referred to a lamp that was out of oil and the wick was burning but giving off smoke that is irritating to the eyes and nose. This is a powerful picture of a Christian life that had burned brightly for the Lord, but now it is depleted of “oil” and is giving off a lot of smoke and a bad taste to the senses. Is the effectiveness of our spiritual life at the point where all you are giving off is smoking flax? Are you giving off a lot of smoke that is distracting and irritating to other people?
We see the application.
There is a powerful application. Our Lord knows when we come to the place in our life where we are depleted and empty of the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are at this point, we are trying to do the work of the Lord in our flesh and the only thing coming out of our efforts is a lot of smoke. This is where our Lord comes into the picture. Instead of putting us on the sidelines where we cannot be used, He refuels the hungry servant so that, instead of smoking flax, his light is glowing brightly and for a long distance. Our Lord wants us to thrive and be fruitful. He knows when we have depleted ourselves and need a “fresh anointing” of “oil” from Him. He brings us to the place where we can be replenished with a new freshness of Holy Spirit power for serving Him.
We see the awareness.
Today is a good day for us to determine the level of our supply of the Holy Spirit’s power in our life. If we have gone a long season without much fruit and the works of the flesh seem to be having victory over the work of the Spirit, we are smoking flax that needs need replenishment. Die to self, go to humble prayer, and seek God’s favor for fresh oil to be poured into the lamp of your life.
Have a Spirit-filled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Matthew 26