Being An On Guard Watchman
We know from the Bible that when man sinned and became corrupted, God who had created mankind was grieved for their wickedness and disobedience, as would a kind father (Genesis 6:5-6). Before punishment was brought upon the sinners, God sent His servants to warn them to repent and abandon their sins, because God loves the world. ¡§¡K¡¦As surely as I live,¡¦ declares the Sovereign Lord, ¡¥I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?¡¦¡¨ (Ezekiel 33:11)
Ezekiel was born to a family of priests, but God chose him to become a prophet, and established him as the watchman for the house of Israel and to speak to them on the Lord¡¦s behalf (Ezekiel 33:7). The theme for our church this month is ¡§Being An On Guard Watchman¡¨. This writer would like to share with you the behaviour and attitude a watchman should have from chapter 33 of the book of Ezekiel, and through that reflect on the present day mission of the saints.
1. A watchman must first heed the word of God - "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.¡¨ (Ezekiel 33:7) On this earth, a saint testifies for the Truth. He must first be willing to listen to God and live according to the word of the Lord, just as Ezekiel obeyed God in all he did (Ezekiel 3:10, Ch. 4).
2. A watchman must detach and separate from the flock and not be afraid of loneliness ¡V In ancient times, a watchman must always maintain vigilance for the security of the fort at the watch tower on top of the city walls. He had to part far from the crowd and faithfully keep watch alone at a high place. No longer could he have any portion of the good cheer and enjoyment of the people underneath the tower. He must be silently on guard against the sudden attack of an enemy. The heart of a saint lies far from the world, and the attitude of his life is different from that of the people of the world (John 17:14-16). Only then can he fully discharge the function of watch-keeping.
3. A watchman must have sharp eyes - ¡§He sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people.¡¨ (Ezekiel 33:3) A watchman cannot be blind, have poor eyesight or be too lazy to observe. He must have excellent vision in order to distinguish clearly everything near and far. In this morally corrupt, ethically undiscriminating age, a saint must have spiritually sharp eyes and accurate discernment in order to distinguish between the true and false, judge between right and wrong, and provide teaching of the definitive Truth to people of this rebellious age.
4. A watchman must stand ready to blow his trumpet at any time ¡V Whether it is an imminent attack, or a call to arms, the guard at the watch tower would use the sound of the trumpet to arouse the residents of the fort. If a watchman failed to blow the trumpet to warn the people in the city when danger arrived, it was a serious breach of duty that could result in the death of everyone in the city. In the world, the church carries the role of the conscience of society. When corrupt trends press near and attempt to change the law and the natural order, the church must sound the trumpet to awaken people¡¦s consciences.
5. A watchman must have the fortitude to admonish the wicked and the righteous ¡V God told Ezekiel to warn the wicked to turn from his ways and not sin any more lest he brought punishment upon himself (Ezekiel 33:8), and to remind the righteous to maintain his righteous behaviour, and not trust in his own righteousness and do evil. Otherwise, all of the righteous things he had done would not be remembered, and he would die from the evil things he did (Ezekiel 33:13). A saint must bravely preach the Gospel while on earth, so that more of the people lost would know of God¡¦s grace of salvation, repent their sins, believe in the Lord and be saved. Saints must also be willing to admonish one another in love, so that none will be deluded by sin and the world, and lose the grace of God.
¡§Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.¡¨ (1 Corinthians 16:13)
By: Daniel To