The Call of the Watchmen
Every Christian has been appointed as a watchman. When we are watchmen, it is our responsibility to warn the people of the coming judgment. We can’t make them heed the warning - we are not called to force them to change, but we are called to alert them. It is an eternal life and death situation for both the watchmen and for the lost.
Scriptures used: Isaiah 62:6-9, Ezekiel 33:1-9, Jeremiah 1:13-17, John 6:66-69
The Call of the Watchmen
This is a prophetic word into our individual lives, our individual walks with God.
“Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen on your walls; they will never be silent, day or night. There is no rest for you, who remind the Lord. Do not give Him rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem the praise of the earth. The Lord has sworn with His right hand and His strong arm: I will no longer give your grain to your enemies for food, and foreigners will not drink your new wine you have labored for. For those who gather grain will eat it and praise the Lord, and those who harvest the grapes will drink the wine in My holy courts.”
Isaiah 62:6-9 HCSB
In ancient times, the cities were surrounded with walls so thick, horsemen and chariots could move around on them. The purpose was to keep the people safe from outside threats. Periodically, around the walls, there were towers where watchmen would look out - they had only one job, just to watch. Their number one priority, all day and night, was to watch for an intruder that might come against them. When they saw a threat, they would sound a certain warning - there were different cadence for different things, but one was just for threats. Every ear in the city was trained to be warned by that sound - there is an enemy on the horizon, closing fast.
Today we have tornado drills - when that sound goes off, we are trained to run to shelter. They probably had drills then, too. Everyone had their job. They would gather their children and run to shelter. The warriors would rise up and get their swords and shields to defend the city.
Watchmen had qualifications. They had to be able to stay awake and alert - he could not sleep on the job. Their job was a high calling, to protect the lives of all the people in the city against threats. He has to be willing to be selfless, to put the needs of the people ahead of his own. We have a calling to sound the warning of God’s coming judgment. There are people today in harm’s way - in peril because of their sin and they need to be warned about the coming danger.
The watchmen’s most important qualification was him having a love for the people. If he loves the people inside the wall, then he doesn’t want to see those people come to any harm. Every one of us are watchmen ,we all have someone we are supposed to look out for. A church pastor is called to watch the souls of everyone in the congregation. Parents watch out for their children. The Bible says a good shepherd will give his life for the sheet - a hireling will run when there is danger. We are called to have a love for souls.
The watchmen, according to the passage above, have two jobs: to warn people of danger, and to pray to God. This is God’s world, not ours. God gave us instructions - do what I want and I will bless you, don’t do it and I will bring judgment. When Israel had first been sent into the land, God told them that they would harvest fields they did not have to plant and drink water from wells they they didn’t have to dig. But they had backslidden and enemies had come and taken that land and now those enemies were taking the fruit of the Israelites’ labor. God, in this passage, wants to restore them to their position of taking the fruit of their land.
God’s judgment is coming. Right now, mercy is available, but one day God will draw a line in the sand and there will be no more opportunity. We can’t know when this will happen. But we do know that we will one day die and we come to that point at that time. Standing before God in judgment, we will either not have to face that judgment because Jesus already paid our price for us, or, if we reject Christ, we will be judged for our works. God’s judgment is coming, even without some kind of massive apocalypse, on an individual basis as we leave this world in death.
The job of the watchmen is to remind God of His grace. The watchmen are called to remind God of His grace and mercy. Now, God does not forget, He does not need the reminder - we do. We need a constant reminder of the powerful impact of the mercy of God. Our job is to stand in the gap between people and God, reminding both man and God of God’s promises.
Warn the People
Isaiah was a prophet of God. God could speak to Isaiah on a deeper level than He could with most people - Isaiah had that calling on his life. People called to be prophets of God do not have some special, better connection to God, they just have a stirring in their heart to speak the words God puts in their soul. Jeremiah tried to keep God’s word in and found he could not do it! God’s words burned within him and he had to get them out!
When we look to the horizon, we see something coming. This is not a message of fear - we do not fear God and tremble, we have respect for what He is doing and a responsibility to clarify the judgment and the grace of God. Something is coming and we should be prepared, to be ready for it. We cannot keep silent, we cannot keep still because of the people. Isaiah said he would not be quiet.
“I will not keep silent because of Zion, and I will not keep still because of Jerusalem, until her righteousness shines like a bright light and her salvation, like a flaming torch.”
Isaiah 62:1 HCSB
Ezekiel addresses the serious of the role of the watchman as a warner of the people.
“The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of that land select a man from among them, appointing him as their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people. Then, if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet but ignores the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but ignored the warning, his blood is on his own hands. If he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. However, if the watchman sees the sword coming but doesn’t blow the trumpet, so that the people aren’t warned, and the sword comes and takes away their lives, then they have been taken away because of their iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood. “As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me. If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked one, you will surely die,’ but you do not speak out to warn him about his way, that wicked person will die for his iniquity, yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his way and he doesn’t turn from it, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.”
Ezekiel 33:1-9 HCSB
When we are watchmen, it is our responsibility to warn the people of the coming danger. We can’t make them heed the warning - we are not called to force them to change, but we are called to alert them. If we know the danger, and fail to alert the people, then they pay for their sin and we have their blood on our hands. But if we warn them, and they decide of their own volition not to take the warning seriously, we have done what we were called to do. We have to evaluate our own work as seriously as Ezekiel does in this passage. We want no blood on our hands on the day of judgment, to know that we have done all we could to let people know of God’s coming wrath even if it offends them, even if it makes them not want to come to our church, even if we have to take that awkward step toward telling people things they didn’t want to hear.
It’s okay to live life. But you have to keep your ear open to the sound of the warning. Here is the experience the Jeremiah had:
“Again the word of the Lord came to me inquiring, “What do you see? ” And I replied, “I see a boiling pot, its lip tilted from the north to the south.” Then the Lord said to me, “Disaster will be poured out from the north on all who live in the land. Indeed, I am about to summon all the clans and kingdoms of the north.” This is the Lord’s declaration. They will come, and each king will set up his throne at the entrance to Jerusalem’s gates. They will attack all her surrounding walls and all the other cities of Judah. “I will pronounce My judgments against them for all the evil they did when they abandoned Me to burn incense to other gods and to worship the works of their own hands. “Now, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not be intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them.”
Jeremiah 1:13-17 HCSB
God was preparing the people, through Jeremiah, for the invasion of Babylon from the north. The people had turned from God toward their idols. Jeremiah’s job was to tell the people what they had done and to change their ways. He was called to tell them of his vision of a boiling pot… today, there is a pot boiling. There are insane people leading mighty countries. There are dangers coming from North Korea and Iran. That’s not to say that this is some “end of the world” message. There are always wars and rumors of wars. But there is a pot boiling, there is unrest abroad and unrest within our own borders.
As a nation, and as an entire world, we are ignoring God. There is one thing that happens when nations ignore God: He brings His judgment. Not because He’s mad or because He hates us, but because He wants to get our hearts right. We are fools to ignore His prophecy.
We should not live in fear, but we should be listening, be prepared. Does your life revolve around you and your job and your family? A day will come when our priorities will get rearranged. Now is the time to look into that for yourself - where are your priorities.
The day of casual Christianity is coming to an end. The day when we keep God in our hip pocket. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it.
People are coming to church just because they like it or find in convenient or because it makes them feel good will be the first to run when real danger comes. If we deny God when push comes to shove, we will lose our soul. Jesus calls us to serve Him to the death. We have made Christianity about prosperity, about God meeting your needs and just answering your prayers. God is calling for hard-core Christians who heed His call.
If you go to a highly Muslim nation, you will find people getting saved. Their religion is about killing and death. When they hear that the God who created them loves them and cares, they are relieved and on board. But they also know that the day they become a Christian, they sign their own death warrant - if their own family finds out they became a Christian, they will be killed. And they serve God anyway! We cry about getting made fun of, we cry about how the church spends money. Forget it. We need to change our attitude. If I live, great. If I die, great. Deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ! Right now, we have it easy. Generally speaking, American Christians find acceptance. But what will happen when it’s not popular anymore? What will happen when it’s not accepted anymore? If you can’t see that coming, then you’re blind! America will not always have freedom of religion. There will be major persecutions against Christian people. There are pastors getting sued all the time for preaching God’s word. It’s boiling on the horizon!
Check out this piece of scripture from the book of John:
“From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him.”
John 6:66 HCSB
What happened here? Christianity became no longer a casual thing. Jesus was talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood and it got too real. This mentality is the spirit of antichrist. (Conveniently 6:66 in John!)
“Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you? ” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God! ””
John 6:67-69 HCSB
The twelve who were faithful to Jesus were not perfect. They made mistakes. But they were faithful watchmen. They were persecuted and martyred. If those faithful disciples could come here today, they would still tell us that they won. They are glad they listened to the voice of the watchman, despite what their earthly fates were.
Pray for the People
The second job of the watchmen is to pray for the people they guard. This message does not elaborate on our job of prayer but a future message may have some of those details.
What will you do with the warning? Will your hands be clean on the day of judgment?