“A reed shaken with the wind” in Bible language means a person blown about by every wind of doctrine. Ephesians 4:14 says, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
Jesus compared the character of John the Baptist with that of the Rabbis. “The tall reeds that grew beside the Jordan, bending before every breeze, were fitting representatives of the rabbis who had stood as critics and judges of the Baptist’s mission. They were swayed this way and that by the winds of popular opinion. They would not humble themselves to receive the heart-searching message of the Baptist, yet for fear of the people they dared not openly oppose his work. But God’s messenger was of no such craven spirit. The multitudes who were gathered about Christ had been witnesses to the work of John. They had heard his fearless rebuke of sin. To the self-righteous Pharisees, the priestly Sadducees, King Herod and his court, princes and soldiers, publicans and peasants, John had spoken with equal plainness. He was no trembling reed, swayed by the winds of human praise or prejudice. In the prison he was the same in his loyalty to God and his zeal for righteousness as when he preached God’s message in the wilderness. In his faithfulness to principle he was as firm as a rock.” The Desire of Ages, 218.
This is a warning for us that we be not as those reeds.
“Many are changed by every current. They wait to hear what someone else thinks, and his opinion is accepted as altogether true. If they would lean wholly upon God, they would grow strong in His strength; but they do not say to the Lord, I cannot make any decision until I know Thy will. Their natural inclination is to allow another to be conscience for them; and they speak after he has spoken, saying what he says, and acting as he acts. When these persons are placed in circumstances where they must think and act for themselves, they dare not express any decided opinion. Yet often, like Aaron, they have much ability. God pity such weaklings. …
“We must free ourselves from the customs and bondage of society, that when the principles of our faith are at stake, we shall not hesitate to show our colors, even though we are called singular for so doing. Keep the conscience tender, that you may hear the faintest whisper of the voice that spoke as never man spoke. Let all who would wear the yoke of Christ show an inflexible purpose to do right because it is right.” Our High Calling, 341.
“Jesus knew that a reed trembling in the wind was the very opposite of John’s character. John could not be moved by flattery, nor be deceived by prevailing errors. Neither could he be turned aside from the work he came to do, by rewards, or worldly honors. He would preserve his integrity at the expense of his life. Steadfast as a rock stood the prophet of God, faithful to rebuke sin and crime in all their forms, in kings and nobles, as readily as in the unhonored and unknown. He swerved not from duty. Loyal to his God, in noble dignity of moral character, he stood firm as a rock, faithful to principle.” The Review and Herald, March 4, 1873.
Be strong in the Lord and be not blown about by every wind of doctrine or by popular opinion.