Saturday, August 30, 2014

Watchman's Wall

What is a Watchman and why do we need them?

The Word speaks of "Watchmen", who God Himself set up for Israel. These were men set upon the walls, symbolically closer to God, and symbolically as well as literally with a higher viewpoint. They could see much further than those living at ground level within the walls and could recognize trouble long before it arrived. Friend or foe, your presence was known, your intentions discerned, hundreds, maybe even thousands of yards, possibly miles, before you ever knocked at the gate. This was the Watchman's job, to warn the city of impending violence, so they may be prepared and defend themselves. The Word puts it this way...

Ezekiel 33:1-9 (ESV)
"The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person 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 a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul."

This is a spiritual representation of many who God has placed within the Church today. They are people who have been called to dedicate their lives to clearly hearing the Word of the Lord and who have an overwhelming commitment to His principles. Gifted with strong spiritual discernment and unafraid of the opinions of man, they are always on alert for attacks of the enemy which would seek to ensnare the Church. They are the faithful ones sounding the alarm when false doctrine (such as universalism or homosexual marriage) try to enter the Church. They are the ones who take a strong stand when wrong theology finds the doors of apathy or political correctness as inroads to those with weaker faiths within their walls. Not frequently in actual leadership, these are your outsiders, usually your loners, and they are often your Apostles, Prophets and Teachers. Underestimated, disregarded and outcast, these are those within the Body whom your Pastors and Elders should be most closely listening to.

The Watchman sees his job as non-negotiable, as it is not only a matter of life and death, but a matter of eternal life vs. the "second death". They see their charter as over and above all other charters, as theirs is directly from God Himself, not from any man, and may be called upon to keep all others on course. Their ministry is not to any one individual or even any one group of individuals, their mandate is to hear the Voice of the Lord concerning the entire Body. Their commitment is firm, their foundation is solid, their resolve is to the death. They will not back down from blowing the trumpet, sounding the alarm, when they sense an attack, because of Ezekiel 33. They know their job is to protect the Body by informing them of evil. They know that if they do not sound the alarm, any harm that evil causes is on them.

However, that's about where the Watchman's job ends. The Word is clear that although it is the Watchman's job to sound the alarm, it is up to the Body to respond. If they choose not to respond, his responsibility has still been fulfilled and his hands are clean. That isn't license for apathy, or for offense, it is simply the way God has chosen in His wisdom, righteousness and justice to divide the responsibility.

Now, there are false Watchmen. People who are simply judgmental and seek to cause disruption in the Church. They sound their own alarm for their own personal gain or to discredit those who oppose them. Discernment is required in knowing the difference, but their motives can be revealed if you look carefully. They use a broad condemnation of individuals or ministries, not conviction on particular issues. They use an axe or a shotgun, not a scalpel, and care nothing for collateral damage. Once you've seen real conviction come by way of a legitimate Watchman's call regarding a specific Biblical issue, the manipulative condemnation that spews from false Watchmen is easy to spot. One earnestly seeks to rectify a specific situation, bringing repentance and restoration, the other seeks only to kill, steal and destroy giftings, callings and ministries. One ultimately seeks to build up, while the other seeks only to tear down.

Whenever anyone comes to you or your leadership with an issue, always test it against the Word. If someone comes to you with an issue, be willing to hear it and honestly pray about it. Be willing to be wrong on an issue and be humble enough to be willing to be corrected. Even from a layperson. God works in mysterious ways and can work through anyone. If He's been trying to show you something and you can't hear Him, He will try to reach you through someone else. As always, test everything, but be honest with yourself and with God. If you don't hear clearly from Him, remember, your salvation is far more important than your pride. Listen to those who can. Do not ever feel an "us vs. them" spirit, which is division and is from the enemy. If you pray about a situation and the Holy Spirit brings conviction, be willing to repent and seek restoration regarding the situation.

If someone brings an issue to you, you're willing to pray about it, willing to be corrected, and still feel no conviction regarding it, I would consider asking another trusted advisor before setting it aside. If you test it against the Word and with trusted advisor(s) and still don't recognize it as an issue, it is possible that it is not an issue, isn't a Word for you, or isn't a Word for now. There are many people operating at different levels of Prophetic gifting and with differing levels of sensitivity to the Spirit and sometimes people just miss it. The Watchman should not be offended if you choose not to heed his call and you should not carry any ill-will against the Watchman for sounding the alarm. It is also always possible your determination is wrong and another Watchman will come to you in time.

For the Watchman, do not grow weary in always doing good. Do not fear the opinions of man. Do not succumb to the temptation to abandon your given post. Do not easily be moved from one Body to another, even if they repeatedly refuse to listen to you. Read the life of Jeremiah and know that your success or failure is NOT based on whether those in your charge listen to you. Your success or failure is based solely on your obedience to your call. It is possible that blatant sin will come into the Body you're in and your warnings will be ignored. Only when you feel the leading of the Spirit that to stay would be to remain under sinful covering and that it is His time for you to go should you go.

As always, be greatly blessed in all you do!


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