Watchman, what of the night?PDFPrintE-mail
Written by Chris Perver  
Saturday, 08 December 2007 07:50

A couple of nights ago before I went to sleep, I opened my Bible at a random page and started to read. The chapter I was reading happened to be Ezekiel 33. Sometimes when I read the Scriptures, I struggle to get any freshness out of them. Not because there is no freshness there, as my friend Rolly says, "the trees of the Lord are full of sap", Psalm 104:16. When we are dry, it is not because there is no satisfaction or saturation available for us (Psalm 1). Ezekiel 33 tells the story of the watchman. The Lord said He had made Ezekiel a watchman to the house of Israel. He said if the watchman sees the danger coming and does not alert the people, the people will perish and God will require their blood at the watchman's hands. But if the watchman blows the trumpet and the people refuse to heed the warning, the people will perish and the watchman will be innocent of their blood.

This passage has always condemned me in my mind. For I feel that I have not been a good watchman. I am a coward when it comes to witnessing to people, and I have remained silent at times when I should have spoken a word for the Lord. Sometimes I have done this because of the fear of man, and sometimes because I didn't want to stir up controversy. But in reading the chapter this week, I happened to notice something I hadn't seen before.

Ezekiel 33:2-7
Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

The task that was given to the watchman was not a great one, but it was nonetheless very important. When the watchman saw danger coming, all he was required to do was to put his lips to his shofar and to blow as hard as he could. The responsibility then lay with the people as to how they would respond to the alarm. I found encouragement through that, for I thought, I may be a coward when it comes to witnessing for the Lord, but if all I am asked to do is blow a trumpet when I see the enemy coming, then I might be able to do that. Even if I am afraid or if I have no words to speak, I will blow the trumpet as hard as I can for as long as I can, so that all might take notice and know what to do.

We are not promised success in our witnessing. Noah preached for 120 years and only saw his own family saved. Likewise, we may warn the world of the soon coming judgement of God, and we may not have any great success in reaching the people. Some may say, sure Christians have been talking about this for hundreds if not thousands of years! Well there came a day when Noah's preaching ceased, and the flood came and took them all away (Matthew 24:39). So likewise there will come a day when our witness will be finished, and the judgement of this world will come (Matthew 25:10). The Lord Jesus also said that the night cometh, when no man can work (John 9:4). May God help us to be good watchmen, to remain faithful in whatever task He has called us to do.

Isaiah 21:11
The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?