While staying with a family in another country, I heard gunshots one night. The next morning my hosts told me that it is common to employ a guard who watches out for intruders. Whenever the guard hears or sees potential threats, he shoots off his gun to warn them away.
In the time of Ezekiel, there was a designated “watchman” whose job was to give warning if danger threatened a city. This watchman carried a heavy responsibility. If he failed to give warning, perhaps falling asleep during the night, the city could be overtaken by enemies. If he saw an enemy coming, and perhaps ran away out of fear for his own life, he would have the deaths of many people on his conscience.
Ezekiel’s commission was particularly difficult because Israel’s enemies were not just outside the city. The evil they faced was also within. God called them “wicked” several times in his instructions to Ezekiel.
But God said that if Israel did not take heed to Ezekiel’s warning, it was not Ezekiel’s fault. All Ezekiel had to do was to speak the truth to his people.
Does God still appoint watchmen today? I wonder if we are not all watchmen, seeing the dangers around us — and within us — that are threatening the well-being of God’s people. Like Ezekiel, it is our responsibility to warn others about the dangers despite the possible response.
When God calls you to give warning, will you be alert and ready to do so?
Father God, is there someone or a group of people around me that needs a watchman to warn of the evil that is threatening them? Please help me to bear this responsibility bravely and speak out for you that they might be saved from danger. Amen.
Go Deeper — Is there someone you know who is in danger of heading down the wrong path? Pray the above prayer today out loud, asking God to help you be a watch person in their life.
Photo Credit: Jaka Škrlep