THE WATCHMAN’S TASK IS TO WATCH (v. 3).
When he sees the sword coming against the land, he blows the trumpet and warns the people. Ezekiel 33:3
During the 1982 war in the Falkland Islands between England and Argentina, the Royal Navy’s 3,500-ton destroyer HMS Sheffield was sunk by a single missile fired from an Argentine fighter jet. It caused people to wonder if modern surface warships were obsolete, sitting ducks for today’s sophisticated missiles. But a later check revealed that the Sheffield’s defenses did pick up the incoming missile, and the ship’s computer correctly identified it as a French-made Exocet. But the computer was programmed to ignore Exocets as “friendly.” The Sheffield was sunk by a missile it saw coming and could have evaded. Today in the Word, May 12, 1992.
You can find several passages in the Bible about the duties of a watchman. In 2 Samuel 18:24-27, King David sent a watchman to take his stand on the roof over the gate of the city. His task was to determine for the king if the man running toward the city gate was a friend or foe. In 2 Kings 9:17, a watchman in the time of King Joram of Israel positioned himself high in the tower of Jezreel to warn his people of the approach of a hostile enemy.
A shepherd feeds
guides (sheep go astray)
guards (against wolves)
heals (the wounds of injured)
Between Two Worlds, J.R. Stott, p. 120.
Clearly one of the roles of a watchman is to ‘watch’! He is to have his eyes opened to what is going on that may be a threat or a concern to the welfare of his people. As John Stott points out it is not the only task, and it is a task that needs to be surrounded by feeding, guiding and healing the flock. A watchman who only warns of danger but doesn’t take the time and the care to build up, and heal the flock is in danger of being a voice crying wolf in the wilderness.
What Is the Watchman Guarding against?
The prophet Amos 3:6 says, “If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?”God used this analogy often to call His people to attention.
Jeremiah 4:5-6 says,
Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:
“Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry, ‘Gather together,’
And say, ‘Assemble yourselves,
And let us go into the fortified cities.’
Set up the standard toward Zion.
Take refuge! Do not delay!
For I will bring disaster from the north,
And great destruction” Jeremiah 4:5-6.
In Hosea 8:1, “Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law.”
It’s the watchman’s two-fold duty, 1) To faithfully watch and see the danger that approaches to his people;and 2) to blow the warning to his people loudly and clearly.And so, in our passage, the watchman “sees the sword coming upon the land”, and “blows the trumpet and warns the people”(v. 3).
Since God has appointed pastors as overseers we are not to sit silently at our post and be idle. We are to be a people who are students of God’s word. Our call is to believe what God says, apply that truth to life around us, and instruct our flock with the truth. We need to be able to discern any danger that is coming towards the people whom God has placed in our care.
Our watching and warning are done with mercy in mind. For God has placed us as a watchman in the midst of people. God has entrusted watchmen with His message of salvation, with the gospel of Jesus Christ, “…we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…“ (Eph. 1:7).
This is what we have been called to, entrusted with, given the privilege to proclaim, let us not grow weary, nor take our eyes off the threat, as we cling to the hope of the resurrection. Our mission is critical and because of that Satan is busy.
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