There is an old saying that the vigilant watchman warns of imminent danger. When your singular duty is to warn of impending destruction, when your singular duty is to warn of imminent danger and you fail in that duty, it is shameful and disgraceful because you had one thing to do and you failed to do it. Today I want to discuss what makes a good watchman, what makes a faithful watchman, the virtues and characteristics a watchman must possess in order to be faithful in his duties, vigilant at his post, and fearless in warning of the coming danger.
When the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel, in His sovereign wisdom God led off with a practical example, one that Ezekiel’s contemporaries were very familiar with. They understood the duty of the watchman, they knew the capital importance of a faithful guard, because in those days either on the borders of the country, or the watchtowers of the citadels the watchmen were ever present, scanning the horizon in perpetuity that they might see the approaching enemy. It allowed the citizenry to sleep well at night knowing that the watchman was on the wall, knowing that if the enemy happened to attempt an attack the watchman would warn them and wake them from their slumber.
It is a fearful thing when a watchman is either negligent in his duties, has been bought off by the enemy, or is found asleep at his post when the enemy attacks, because that which he was duty bound to guard will be overtaken without warning. Sadly, today, many watchmen are asleep, sadly, today, many watchmen are distracted by other things, and they do not warn of the enemy’s siege, they do not warn of the imminent danger. The life of the watchman is a lonely one; it is one absent the luxuries of life, because his duty is to stand where his Master put him, and watch. No time for games, no time for distractions, no time for a power nap, because a good watchman, a faithful watchman knows that the enemy’s attack can come at any moment.
So back to the original idea for this post, what makes a good watchman, and what makes a faithful watchman?
Ezekiel 33:1-7, “Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be on himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming, and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. So, you son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.”’
A lengthy passage, but well worth the read, because there is allot of wisdom that we can extract from it. When God is speaking to Ezekiel concerning the watchman, He not only describes what the watchman’s responsibility is, but also what the people’s responsibility is. The watchman is responsible for blowing his trumpet; the people are responsible for taking warning, and saving their lives. Now if the watchman refuses to blow his trumpet, and the people are not warned, if any person is taken from among them, God will require that individual’s blood of the watchman’s hand.
From the beginning of this passage we realize that God is speaking concerning spiritual things, because He says ‘if any person is taken in his iniquity’, because the watchman, for whatever reason refused to blow the trumpet, God will hold the watchman to account.
There are many teachings we can glean from this passage, some encouraging, others challenging, but I want to stay on topic because I have the tendency to wander.
So what makes a good watchman?
The first thing that makes a good watchman is that he has vigilant eyes.
Good eyesight, and from a spiritual perspective good spiritual insight is mandatory for a good watchman. A blind man was never appointed as watchman, because being blind he could not fulfill his duty. We live in a generation wherein the blind are leading the blind because rather than confront the sin in their lives, rather than repent before an omnipotent God, they prefer to remain in spiritual blindness and be led off the cliff by the guy who with soothing words and a creepy smile tells them that they can do as they please because hell’s just a story parents tell to naughty kids.
If God has opened your eyes to see the spiritual clearly, it is your sacred duty to stand on the wall, and be of use to the kingdom of God, warning and blowing your trumpet. Whether they heed the warning or they dismiss it, you would have done your sovereign duty, you will have blown your trumpet and their blood will not be on your hands.
I often wonder if these individuals who are teaching abject heresies have had their conscience so seared that they do not realize the amount of blood that is on their hands and the fact that one day, and one day soon it will be required of them.
The second thing that makes a good watchman is that he stays at his assigned post.
It is very important for us to know our place, and remain at our assigned post, to fulfill with faithfulness the duty that has been bestowed upon us. There are many who do not like their assignments, there are many who believe the posts they have been assigned are beneath them, and so they try to find a better position, a better vantage point, a different mission than that which God entrusted them with. Even with the best of intentions, when we are not at our assigned posts, we have disobeyed a direct order from God. God knows your aptitudes, God knows your shortcomings, and God knows the best place for you to be. We can’t second guess God just because our pride tells us we deserve better, or we ought to have been called to a higher calling, we must simply obey, and remain where God has placed us until He sends us on to our next post. Many a watchmen are missing from the wall, their posts left empty, because although God told them where to go, where to be and what to do, they’ve gone AWOL thinking they were doing God a favor.
The third thing that makes a good watchman is that he acts with immediacy.
When a good watchman sees the enemy approaching, he acts without delay, and with the immediacy of purpose that must be ever visible in the actions of those who have been chosen to warn. When the watchman sees the enemy approaching, he doesn’t dawdle, he does not consider the fact that those who are sleeping might be startled into wakefulness, he sees the clear and present danger approaching, and he sets his trumpet to his mouth. The immediacy with which the watchman blows his trumpet underlines his value, and saves the lives of those he has been appointed to watch over.
God doesn’t have a gospel for when you get old, God doesn’t have a message for you for tomorrow, with God, everything is immediate, everything is today, and everything is now. The trumpet of God is blowing, it has been for some time, but far too few heed its warning call, far too few are being awakened from the slumber they find themselves in.
Hebrews 3:8-9, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years.”
There is immediacy in the call of God, as there must be immediacy in the actions of the watchman as he sees the walls of the citadel being assailed, and as he sees the enemy approaching. Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, do not put it off until tomorrow, but stand before the mirror of God’s Word and see whether or not you are in line with Scripture.
The fourth thing that makes a good watchman is that he sends a clear message.
There is clarity in a message of repentance, there is clarity in a message of holiness, there is clarity in a message of obedience, there is clarity in a message of humility, they are not confusing or complicated, they are not mazes through which you must make your way, their sound is clear, it is distinct, and it is unblemished.
1 Corinthians 14:8, “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”
I’ve often said that there is simplicity in following after God if we are willing to receive His word at face value. There is simplicity in walking in righteousness, there is simplicity in pursuing holiness, there is simplicity in the act of repentance, because God’s desire was not to make it complicated for us, it was to make it as simple as possible.
It is men who take it upon themselves to make uncertain sounds, it is men who take it upon themselves to twist the Word, to complicate the scriptures, and these men will answer to the one true God on the Day of Judgment for making the yoke of Christ heavy, and for twisting the narrow path of faith. Be vigilant, be at your assigned post, act without delay, send a clear message, and for these things you will receive your just reward.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.