Keeping The Cutting Edge
Robert Wurtz II
Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The LORD has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, And made Me a sharpened arrow; In His quiver He has hidden Me. And He said to me, You are My servant, O Israel, In whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, And my work with my God. (Isaiah 49:1–4)
It is important to point out that both swords and arrows are weapons of war. These are not kitchen items or play-toys. They are designed to do combat. Paul took up the sword motif in Ephesians 6 when he wrote; “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (Ephesians 6:17 KJV) This is further qualified by the writer to the Hebrews who stated; “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV) These verses help us understand what Isaiah meant when he stated, He has made My mouth like a sharp sword. The word of God was the “sharp sword” in the mouth of Isaiah (Israel).
Dulling the Edge
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword; however, it can be dulled greatly depending on whose mouth it is in. In order to “maintain the edge” one must have both an accurate knowledge of it, as well as a willingness to represent it rightly. If the person speaking the word of God does not say exactly what God said, the sword is dulled in their mouth. In fact, it will be dulled proportionally to how much it is misrepresented. That is to say, it will not have the desired effect.
Our first example of this involved the conversation between Eve and the Serpent in the Garden. Eve gave an inaccurate account of what God said. Satan followed that with a complete denial of the word. The consequence of this is that sin followed. This is the general pattern. God speaks; the word is sharper than a two-edged sword; people “dull” the edge either ignorantly or willingly; Satan uses the occasion to bring additional doubt and then sin.
In modern times, God’s word is readily available to almost everyone in the Western world. Never has there been a time when people can be “good Bereans” like today. A good Berean implies a passionate desire to know the truth. Furthermore, we are told to “rightly divide” the word of truth. This means to “cut straight.” There is nothing slapdash or slipshod about this process. We must approach God’s word conscientiously and prayerfully.
In spite of all the tools we have in modern times, we frequently lack a willingness to let God be true. The world hates God’s word. In fact, the culture is thoroughly anti-Christ. Each day it seems that something God has said is being challenged. There is a hostility to God’s word, and most people feel it. The temptation as a Christian is to “dull the edge” just enough to reduce the offense that God’s word brings. It is a daily revisit to the Garden of Eden. ” Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not ____?’ ”
God forged in Isaiah a backbone to stand for the truth of His word in a rebellious generation. Is God a respecter of persons? God has given all born again believers the fortitude to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We must resolve to let God be true, and if necessary, every man a liar. We must speak the truth in love, yes; however, this is not an excuse for dulling the edge of God’s word. Sometimes people think the loving thing to do is to modify what God said so as not to offend. This is not the case. Jesus Christ was the most loving person to walk the earth, and the word of God was in His mouth as a two-edged sword. No matter the cost, this is the resolve that we must have in this evil and adulterous generation. No matter if it seems, as with Isaiah, that the labor is in vain — we must press on in truth. Why? Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, And my work with my God.