The Watchman On the Wall.
“Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me.” – Ezekiel 33:7 NLT
In ancient days, most of the significant cities were surrounded by walls to protect them. On those wall were posted sentries or watchmen, whose responsibility it was to look out and watch for potential threats. Day and night, as long as they were on duty, they had to keep an eye out for possible enemy attack. When they saw trouble on the horizon, they were to issue a warning to the people. They were to sound the alarm to let the people inside the walls know that danger was imminent, and appropriate action was needed. In God’s eyes, Ezekiel was just such a watchman. While he wasn’t standing high on the wall of a city, he was prominently placed in the middle of the exiles living in Babylon and given the role of being God’s spokesman. He had a unique vantage point that allowed him to see the future and warn the people of God what was going to happen. His warnings were not idle threats, but God-given predictions of coming disaster. And his job came with obvious dangers. The most prominent one being that if he failed to sound the alarm and warn the people, he would be held responsible for their subsequent captivity. But God makes it clear that if Ezekiel does his job and warns the people of coming destruction, but the people fail or refuse to listen, then he is absolved of any responsibility. He would have done his job.
Today, as in Ezekiel’s day, God is issuing warnings regarding the apathetic, almost flippant way in which many of God’s people are approaching their lives in this world. He is speaking through men today warning His people of their need to wake up and wise up to the dangers around them. But as believers we sometimes take the wonder of God’s grace so far that we seem to view it as some kind of immunity giving elixer that protects us from all harm. We seem to believe that because we are saved, we are immune to any kind of danger or ramifications for our sinful behavior. God has called us to live holy lives, set-apart and distinctively different from the rest of the world around us. We are to pursue Christ-likeness with a passion. We are to live under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit. We are to put to death the deeds of the flesh and put on Christ daily. We are to die to self and take up our crosses each and every day. We are warned regularly to take our spiritual health seriously and to refuse to fall in love with this world and all that it offers. Granted, some of the watchmen today are failing to do their jobs. Things are not much different than they were back when Paul penned these words to Timothy:
“I solemnly warn you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-4 NLT
God even warned Ezekiel that there were people in his day who would come to hear what he had to say, pretending to be interested, but having no intention of doing what he said. “You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! (Ezekiel 33:32 NLT). But Ezekiel was still required to warn. He had to keep sharing the message of God. Paul told Timothy the same thing. “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2 NLT). And we must continue to do the same thing today. Faithful watchmen are still needed today, to warn the people of God by speaking the truth of God, faithfully and unapologetically.
Father, I want to be a faithful watchman. Give me boldness to speak Your Word in season and out of season. Don’t let me alter it to make it more palatable or acceptable. Don’t ever let me be an ear-tickler or an entertainer. The times we live in are dangerous and the truth of Your Word is more needed now than ever. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men