The Bible tells us that without a watchman a city was in in big trouble. The watchman's responsibility included watching over a city to protect it and to sound the alarm when danger came near. A watchman today looks much different from one 2,000 years ago, but his most important watch remains the same—during hours of darkness. What does that tell us about today?
We have just seen a complete disaster in Israel because someone was not watching at their post. While I know that watching the movements of the enemy today is much more complicated than it was in the days of the Bible, cities and states and countries need to maintain a network of individuals who have their ears to the ground to ascertain the plans of enemies and terror groups who want to destroy peace. It appears like the Israelis had a sense of false peace that led them to neglect their duties as watchmen. How else could Hamas have moved into the quiet villages on the Gazan border in such force to torture and kill families and destroy their homes on the Sabbath?
Two places in the book of Ezekiel say that this prophet was "appointed as a watchman for the people of Israel." (Ezekiel 3:17 and Ezekiel 33:7) God said to Ezekiel, "...When you hear me speak a warning, give them my warning." (Ezekiel 33:7 - TPT) There was no room for error in Ezekiel's call. God said to him, "If I bring war to your nation, you must select a man and post him as a watchman. When he sees the enemy coming to attack, he must sound the shofar to warn the people. If the people hear the warning but pay no attention and the sword overtakes them and kills them, they will bear the responsibility for their own deaths...If, however, the watchman sees the enemy approaching but has not blown the shofar to warn the people and the sword overtakes them and kills a single one of them, even though that person was a sinner, I will still hold the watchman responsible for that person's death." (Ezekiel 33:2-6 - TPT)
As Christians, we have promises from God to watch over us. Here are a few of them: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." (Psalm 32:8) "The Lord watches over all who love him..." (Psalm 145:20) "...He who scattered Israel will gather them and watch over His flock like a shepherd." (Jeremiah 31:10)
Those who know the Lord are expected to respond by watching for Him. "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises." (Psalm 119:148) "But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord; I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." (Micah 7:7) "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41) "What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:37)
The prophet Isaiah warns of a time when darkness will cover the earth: "See darkness covers the earth and thick darkness over the peoples..." (Isaiah 60:2) In our day we see dark agendas in government, education, business, and even in some churches. This is the hour for us to take on the mantel of the watchman on the wall. As it says in Colossians 4:2, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." We must be vigilant in prayer, in the Word, and in righteousness. This is our hour to sound the alarm to those who need to hear the truth. Our call is to stay alert to God's promptings and to respond according to His instructions.
Joan E. Mathias