Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Ministry of the Watchman

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, November 2, 2013: Ezekiel 3:16-6:14

16 Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 17Son 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:  Ezekiel 3:16-17 (NKJV)

Anyone who has watched a war movie or a western knows that every camp sight or bivouac had to have a look-out.  Sentries were posted some ways outside the camp to watch out for a sneak enemy attack.  Their job was crucial.

Look-outs had three jobs:
To watch for approaching danger.
To warn the troops.  To give a signal or sound a trumpet.
To defend the camp.  They served as the first line of defense.

I love those old scenes in a western when a look-out heard an unusual bird whistle from his left.  Than another came from his right.  You knew the Indians were coming!  Sometimes the sentry would doze off asleep.  It was a sure sight that guy was a goner.  

Every city in ancient Israel had a watchman.  They served an incredibly important role in the safety of their city.  Because the watchman did his job, the city could rest in peace.

Many prophets in the Old Testament spoke about this "look-out ministry" - the watchmen ministry.  Only one prophet, Ezekiel, was specifically called to be a watchman.  In similar fashion, God calls leaders to serve as watchmen.  Hebrews 13:17 describes pastoral ministry in these terms: "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you." (ESV)

There is a sense in which every Christian leader and parent is called to be a watchman. As such, we should know three crucial things about this ministry.  Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator of early 1700's, described the watchman ministry as:

A Toilsome Office
A Dangerous Office
A Needful Office

It was toilsome in that it required sleepless nights and constant vigilance.  It was dangerous in that it placed a man in first contact with a deadly enemy.  The priority of a hostile attack was to first remove the watchman.  It was needful in that failure left the city vulnerable and more easily destroyed.  

When we accept the responsibility of a spiritual watchman, our first job is to hear God's voice - to listen carefully for what God says.  If we are going to sound a clear trumpet call, we must know what the Lord is saying.  Then we must have the courage to deliver His message.  It's as "simple" as that!

May God raise up courageous and faithful look-outs in our day.

1 comment:

  1. Yes Bob, somebody needs to watch out and sound the alarm. We are seeing craziness in our country today. Hey Bob, do you know where in the Bible it says that those who accuse others of this or that are in fact guilty of the offense the accuse others of?