2 Kings 18:21 “…You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it.”
Rabshakeh the Assyrian told King Hezekiah that trusting in the king of Egypt was like leaning on a “bruised reed” that would crumble and wound his hand. Life has many “bruised reeds” that may look inviting to lean on, but in reality, they are neither stable nor reliable.
The Apostle Paul warns Timothy not to lean on “science [knowledge] falsely so called.” (1 Timothy 6:21) Truth is a very stable foundation but false knowledge is a “bruised reed.” In verses 9 and 10 Paul warns of the fallacy of riches and the “love of money,” these too are “bruised reeds.” He continues in verse 17 with a warning against the “bruised reeds” of pride, arrogance and “trusting in uncertain riches.”
Carnal pleasure, another “bruised reed,” is very temporary and may come with unexpected, unwanted, and unpleasant baggage, such as disappointment, guilt, shame, and sometimes the chains of addiction.
In Matthew 24, Jesus shares with His disciples an outline of the chaos and destruction at the end of this present world. Then in verse 35 He reminds us that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
God, His truth, and His righteousness are a sure foundation, offering unfailing and eternal, stability in a world of “bruised reeds.”
“Roll away the stone.” It was a simple command, but Lazarus's friends gave the usual protests: “He’s already dead.” “He’s been in there too long.” “He’s pretty smelly at this point.” But Jesus would not move forward with the miracle until the stone was rolled away.
On the surface, it seems like an odd request. If you know the story of Lazarus, as soon as the stone was rolled away, Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and a man who had been dead for three days came walking out of the tomb. If Jesus could bring Lazarus back to life, why did He need Lazarus’ friends to roll the stone away? Couldn’t He have moved the stone with His little finger? Or with just a look or a word? But Lazarus’ friends were the ones who sealed the grave, and so they had to be the ones to roll the stone away.
In our own lives, there are hurts and fears that we hide away. We beg Jesus to see us, to help us, and to heal what is broken. There is not a cry that He does not hear or a life He does not want to save, but He asks one thing of us: “Roll away the stone.” Could He do it Himself? Of course. He would have no trouble forcing His way into your heart and into your life. But that simply is not His way.
We often have a lot of excuses as to why we keep our pain hidden away: “My hope is already dead.” “It’s just been too long — I can’t imagine a different life.” “I’m too ashamed." But He sees and loves through every excuse. He can bring new life from even the most hopeless of situations, if only we will roll away the stone.