The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother He named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword. - Isaiah 49:1b-2a
Isaiah and Jeremiah were two of Israel's great prophets. They are both considered "latter prophets" for their time of influence came when Israel was in decline. The Assyrians would gobble up Israel in the 8th century B.C., and in the 5th century the Babylonians would do the same to the southern tribes, known as Judah. Isaiah spoke to that earlier period of downfall and Jeremiah to the later period. But these men were similar in that they both believed they were called from before the time of their birth (cf. Jeremiah 1:5) to be prophets or spokesmen for God. Likewise, they believed that God had put in their mouths words that simply HAD to be spoken (Isaiah 6:8-13; Jeremiah 20:9). But in the above quote from Isaiah 49:2a there is a most interesting line: "He made my mouth like a sharp sword."
Now I have known more than a few people who had sharp tongues – tongues that were able to really cut down people. These were not the kind of people that one would want to marry. Their tongues were sharp…cruel…and injurious to those around them. We tend to think of marital abuse taking place when a larger husband physically beats upon a smaller wife. But marital abuse can likewise take place when a smaller wife (with a sharp tongue) craftily cuts her much larger husband to bits. In that case she can decimate that husband and do it without even laying a hand on him!
But this is not what Isaiah was writing about. Isaiah was not (in 49:2) confessing his sin, his failure, as a man – suggesting that he had been a difficult man to be around, or that he had caused harm to those closest to him because of his sharp tongue. Rather, what he was saying is that, like the word of God (see Ephesians 6:17), his tongue had become a sharp sword – a sword that cut through men's facades and masks, and to the very heart of their being. Of the Word of God we read that it is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
Has God made your mouth like a sharp sword? Again, not a sharp tongue that simply hurts or damages those around you. But a sword that, declaring the Word of the Lord, is able to cut to people's hearts? Do you have that sense, deep in your being, that you have something to say to people? Do you find that often you are quiet, listening in on a conversation, yet all the while you think, "God's word speaks to this issue" or "If someone would ask me, I know I could offer godly input on the question being discussed"? If so, God has likely made your mouth as a sharp sword: not to hurt, but to cut deeply into people's souls. If that is you, then use your sword! Speak God's truth!
Psalm 81:10 reads, "Open your mouth and I will fill it." For those of us who sense that sharp sword in our mouths, we need to have the courage to open our mouths and see just how God might use our mouths to the end of bringing conviction to the sinner and comfort to the repentant.