“He made my mouth like a sharpened sword” (Isaiah 49:2 – NIV)
“I saw…one like a son of man…and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword” (Revelation 1:12, 16 – NIV)
John’s description of Jesus in Revelation fills me with awe each time I read it. Eyes like blazing fire, voice like the sound of many rushing waters, and a two-edged sword coming out of his mouth. This image bears little resemblance to the nice flannel graph Jesus of my Sunday school days – this is the glorified Christ to whom every knee on this distracted, self-aggrandized, war-weary planet will someday bow.
“And coming out of his mouth was a double-edged sword.” What is this sword that is coming out of Jesus’ mouth? It is the very word of God.
In Hebrews 4:12, the word of God is also likened to a double-edged sword, “penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joint and marrow.” In this instance, it is the logos or written word of God to which the writer of Hebrews refers.
Psalm 149:5-6 says “Let the godly ones exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.” In this passage, the double-edged sword comes in the context of God’s people worshiping Him. Again, the image of the sword is in conjunction with their open mouths.
Paul tells the church to put on the full armor of God, and to “take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). The Greek word used for “word of God” in this passage is rhema, meaning the spoken word.
Have we stopped to think about the word of God in its various forms and why it is compared to a sword? Do we have any idea how powerful it is when we use it? Do we keep the word to ourselves rather than speak it out, for reasons we’ve convinced ourselves are noble?
The enemy wants to intimidate Christians out of speaking the word of God – whether praying, praising, prophesying, declaring the scriptures, or confronting someone as the Spirit nudges – because that sword is death to his kingdom of darkness.
I want to focus particularly on speaking up and speaking out when it is difficult, because the Lord gave me a revelation about this. Twice in two days, I spoke up when it was very uncomfortable to do so. (Now I am someone who is shy about speaking up and telling the manager of the fitness center I belong to that the locker room is exceptionally dirty!). The first instance was to talk to a friend who is continuing in sin and using God’s word to back up her actions. I had no intention of being the one to do this – but immediately following a time of prayer and fasting, the Lord brought this situation before me, and before I knew what I was doing, the words were out of my mouth. The church that she attends with her live-in boyfriend evidently has been unwilling to speak the truth to her about the danger she’s put herself in.
I was uneasy about my actions, but I knew they were prompted by the Lord. While my friend did not respond favorably to what I told her, the very next day I learned from a family member that she had done something which indicated radical repentance in some of her behavior, which they said was huge. I don’t even know that she consciously did this as a result of what I told her; but I know that spiritually, something heavy and dark over her was cut by speaking the truth into the situation.
The other instance of speaking up was also one which I did not feel like doing, but I had asked the Lord for an opportunity to be His witness and He gave it that same day. Immediately after I spoke up for what I believed, I had the sense in my spirit of something being cut away and coming into a wider space – like an impassable path suddenly being cleared by a machete.
That is when it hit me – there’s a reason the word of God is compared to a sword. When we use it, we go on the offense full force in the spiritual realm. We’re not just hunkered down protecting what we have – we are striking the kingdom of darkness. After I spoke the truth, when it was particularly difficult for me to do so, I was impressed with the Lord saying, “Ten thousand just fell at your right hand” (Psalm 91:7).
There is always a reaction to the word of God. When His word is in our mouth, speaking out or praying or in prophetic utterance, it is as powerful as if God Himself were speaking.
“My word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). That is an astounding promise of God! Simply speaking, it means that every time we use words that are borne of the spirit, God’s kingdom advances!
How about you – is God prompting you to speak? Is there something intimidating you? If you don’t know, just ask Him. He will tell you, and use you in a mighty way if you’re willing.