The Sword of the Word

Psalm 149:6 says of the people of God: “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.”
What did this mean to the original readers? It was their privilege, like ours, to know and rejoice in God with praises as the rest of Psalm 149 describes. They had “the high praises of God … in their mouths”. But they also LITERALLY had “a two-edged sword in their hand — to execute judgment on the peoples” as :7 goes on to say. The people of Israel were carrying out God’s judgments on the tribes of Canaan and the nations around them. This actually helps explain the “difficult” passages in the Old Testament where the people of Israel destroyed tribes, etc. But it was not indiscriminate; God — the Judge of the earth — had passed judgment on them because of their SIN, and Israel was just carrying it out, as instruments of His justice.

Our task as God’s people today is a different one, although the description of Psalm 149:6 is still fitting. We are still to have “the high praises of God … in (our) mouth and a two-edged sword in (our) hand” — but for US the “two-edged sword” is not literal, but is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that “the sword of the Spirit … is the word of God”! So as God’s people today, we are to have His “high praises” in our mouths, and His word in our hands!

Using Ephesians 6:17 as an interpretative key, we can apply Psalm 149 to the New Testament Christian:

— We too have “a two-edged sword in (our) hand” — the word of God!

— We are to use it to bring God’s judgments to the world. (:7) Psalm 119 repeatedly uses the phrase “the judgments of the Lord” to refer to His word. So we are to use scripture to bring “the judgments of the Lord” to the world.

— We are to share His word without discrimination. :8 says that God’s people are “to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron.” Thus we see that even the RICH and MIGHTY are subject to the word of God; they do not escape because of their riches or noblesse. ALL are subject to God’s judgment. We should wield the word with all power and confidence – not only among the poor, but among the rich and mighty also! “For there is no partiality with God.” (Rom. 2:11)

— We are not to compromise what God has declared. :9 says God’s people are “to execute on them the judgment written” (Notice the implication of the scriptures, with the use of the word “written”!) This is a great responsibility. We are not to compromise among the people what God has declared. Execute the judgment written — exactly as it is written!

As the last verse of Psalm 149 declares: “This is an honor for all His godly ones”. It is indeed a great honor — and a great responsibility — to bear the “sword” of the word of God to the world. May God give us grace to wield it fearlessly and without compromise or partiality.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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