A Watchman, Watches

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “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.” Ezekiel 33:7 HCSB

This call to Ezekiel is a challenging one for us today. As one called by God to be God’s voice to the people of God in rebellion, Ezekiel had a duty and responsibility to fulfill his call. The Lord uses the imagery of a watchman on the city wall.

A watchman on the city wall was there to sound the alarm when danger was at hand. He was to keep alert and understand the importance of his task,he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people.” (Ezekiel 33:3 HCSB)

The watchman was to sound the alarm, to put forth the warning, but was not responsible for the reactions of the people. He warned, so people could appropriately respond. If the watchman was a sleep, or distracted or inattentive, the failure to fulfill his duty was at the risk of his own life.

The New Testament parallels are clear as well.  Paul says, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? (Romans 10:14 NLT)

On the “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

The children’s song says, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…put it under a bushel? No!” Just as a watchman is to watch, a light is made to shine in darkness.

Jesus told the parable about the foolish and wise virgins. The foolish ones, for lack of oil, allowed their light to go out and were unprepared when the time of the Lord’s coming was upon them. While we usually view that as personal preparation for the Lord’s return, I believe we can understand it in the duty we have to provide a light in the darkness of the world as Jesus return draws close.

Before you grab a sandwich board, with “The End is Near,” remember that Jesus calls us to allow our “light to shine before men that they may see your good works.” (Matthew 5:16) Peter said, “…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV)

That doesn’t mean we don’t need to take initiative either. We are to be prepared, ready and looking for God-ordained opportunities to share God’s love with the world.

Prayer to today… “Lord, remind us of our duty to share good news with others. Give us sensitivity to Your spirit and the needs of others, confident of the work of Your Holy Spirit through us and in the lives of others.”