Kingdom watchman, have you made yourself ready? Have you girded your loins and denounced your flesh? Have you submitted yourself to the sacred call of holiness whereby the Lord can find you useful for His Kingdom? These are some of the questions we should be asking ourselves as the days go on and the unrighteous continue to prevail.
The Prophets of old understood the need to separate themselves from the world so they could hear from God, see His direction for their beloved nation, and declare the warnings as was proclaimed by God. Today, people are barely willing to pray let alone fast, deny their flesh, and seek the Lord on behalf of a nation. Jeremiah saw so much unrighteousness that he cried out, Righteous are You, O LORD, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? Jer 12:1
Why does the way of the wicked prosper? I believe that today many of God’s people are asking this very question as they cry out on behalf of a fallen and sinful nation called America. I also believe that few are willing to give the answer that God may be giving them for fear of backlash. In Jeremiah's case God began to answer him with, If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? Jer 12:5 NIV God told Jeremiah that what he was witnessing with the people was preparation for the future, things would continue as they were until the Lord would make His case. God then told Jeremiah, that He had forsaken His house and was going to give His people over to their enemies. Because Jeremiah had yet to see this happen, He reasoned with God about His judgments.
It may seem unkind for a prophet to desire God to bring forth judgment on a nation but the prophet knows that sometimes people will not relent from their sin until God’s hand of grace lifts and their consequences come forth. Even though we know today that judgment begins at the house of God (1Pe 4), we still fall short of warning others. God will always give us ample time to repent, but for a true watchman, repentance often seems like an eternity as he waits for God to tend to the state of the people and nation.
The wicked people that were prospering were the very people called after God’s name; they were worshiping Him with lip service while their hearts were far from Him. The more the prophet warned the people about their behavior and the more they refused to listen, the more their judgment was heaped upon them. Jeremiah wept for his nation, and yet they still refused to hear. It is no different today; sin is rampant in the world and in the Church as well. Sadly, much of the Church is being led by the surrounding culture instead of the Church leading the culture. This backward and sinful behavior will be brought to judgment, eventually.
There was a time in my journey with God when it seemed that every time I complained about something in my ministry, the Church, or the world He would give me the same answer He gave Jeremiah. When I would turn to the verse above I would hear Him saying “if you can’t handle the pressure now how will you survive when the times get really tough” and then He would remind me to “not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Gal 6:9 It is extremely important to remember that there is a reward for those who continue to stand in the position that God puts them in.
God’s Watchful Servants
Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: - Eze 3:17
Ezekiel was called to watch and warn God’s people of impending danger and to
warn the Israelite's of their sin and spiritual state and of the catastrophic things that were about to come upon them if they did not repent. Other prophets had the same message, ending in the same catastrophic events. God never does a thing without first warning the people through a prophet that He is about to deal with them (Amos 3:7).
There are two different words translated from Hebrew to our English word watchman. These words are tsaphah which means to lean forward and peer into the distance; observe, and wait. The other Hebrew word is shamar and has the meaning of guarding, protecting, attending, and to keep. Shamar is the word that God used when He commanded Adam to keep the garden, and the same word used when God told Abraham to keep his covenant with Him, and is the word God used when He commanded the Israelite's to keep His commandments and observe His feasts.
Watch, a Command Not Request
Jesus warned His disciples and others listeners as to what will come about before He returns to retrieve His bride. He started with, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Mt 24:4-5 and He winds down His exhortation with these words, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” Mt 24:42
The word Jesus used as watch, implies that one should give strict attention to something, be cautious and active, and take heed that no calamity suddenly overtakes them. Watch, as it is translated from the Greek word grēgoreō, is used 23 times in the King James Bible, and every time it implies the same thing; watch and be warned.
Jesus said to watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation, yet all too often we don’t pray, but we will watch and sit idly by hoping others will call out the truth of impending danger. In the scriptures, we see a pattern of the word watch being used in a very strong and specific manner such as:
Watch – warn
Watch – stand
Watch – stay
Watch – be brave, be strong
Watch – be sober, don’t sleep
Watch – be vigilant
Watch – pray
God warns His children through the prophet Ezekiel that those who see the sword of God (discipline and judgment) coming and warns the people to take heed and repent those that hear and respond will be saved and those who don’t won’t be saved. But, then God goes one step further and states, 6 'But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes [any] person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.' 7 "So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. - Eze 33:6-7
We have an obligation as followers of Christ Jesus to warn people of the potential of hell and to warn them of the consequences of their sin should they, as Christians, refuse to give up their sin. God still asks for people to be His mouthpiece and we do so by pointing people back to the word of God and what it says about any situation. When God gives us a warning, and we fail to tell others about danger, we will be held accountable. However, when we release the warning and sound the alarm, as the Lord requires, the accountability will not rest on us as a watchman, but rather on those who refuse to hear.
Jesus said that for every idle word a person speaks they will give an account of it in the day of judgment. Idle words are those that are empty and amount to nothing; we might say this includes saying nothing when we should say something. The Apostle Paul penned while speaking about Jesus, Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. - Col 1:28
This is a subject that is very near to my heart, and I could write many pages on the topic, but I will conclude with this. We may not all be required to warn people in the same manner as those who are called to teach, but we are all called to spread the gospel and warn those of the hell that awaits those that do not repent and give their lives to Jesus Christ.
Lastly, Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed [is] he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." - Rev 16:15
Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ I enter Your throne room with a heavy heart for those who are watching but refuse to warn others. I ask for Your help in these last days to administer the truth of Your character, Your word, Your judgment, and Your return. Help me to be bold with what You give me and help me to take my post as a watchman and be found alert and sober when trouble comes. I open my life up to You in a new way in which I can be used to warn others of the need to repent and get their lives right with You. I also ask for Your mercy to be released anew over Your Church and awaken her with whatever means You see necessary so that souls can be saved and reconciled back to You. In Jesus name, Amen