Thursday, August 01, 2013
FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Thu, 8/1/2013
WATCHMAN, WHAT OF THE NIGHT? Lesson 11a
The year is 689 BC and the world is in turmoil. The Babylonian Empire is under attack by the Assyrian Empire. All of the nations in that area hoped against hope that Babylon would be able to defeat the Assyrian aggressors to their north. However, it was not to be! Babylon fell to the Assyrians and everyone knew they would not be stopped until the entire region was under their domination.
Against this backdrop of war and a certain attack upon the nation of Israel, God commands the prophet Isaiah to assume the role of a watchman. Isaiah is to look to the prophetic future and tell the people what he sees approaching. This is just what Isaiah does in out text.
This message might have been given nearly 2,700 years ago, but it is as timely as today’s headlines. War rages in our world today. People are losing their lives by the thousands to terrorist attacks, freak natural disasters and the horrors of war. On another level, the tsunami of sin in our world is rising. Old convictions and standards are being swept away right before our very eyes. The winds of change are blowing all around us and fearful things are just over the horizon.
Today, just as there was in Isaiah’s day, there is a need for the people of God to assume the role of watchman. There is a need for us to take our stand, look at that which is approaching and open our mouths and sound the warning.
I would like to take this passage and teach around the question that is voiced in (verse 11): “Watchman, what of the night?” As I read this passage, I understand that we are living in dangerous days. We are living in days when the enemies of the Lord and the Enemy of the soul, Satan, would love nothing more than to overrun our lives and our churches. The enemy’s desire is to see our ministries, our families and our churches dashed upon the rocks of failure. If we are to avoid that end, then we need to consider the work of the ancient watchman and understand the truth that his ministry is needed as much today as it ever was. Let me share three facts that this passage gives us concerning the watchman. You listen to the voice of the Lord as I try to teach on the thought: “Watchman, What Of The Night”?
v. 6 THE WATCHMAN AND HIS MISSION
In ancient times, those who lived in walled cities were considered blessed individuals. By being inside a city with walls, they had 2 forms of protection. One was the wall itself. It stood as a barrier between the citizens and their enemies. It stood as a barrier between that which was acceptable and that which was not. The wall was a formidable barrier to trouble. The city of Jericho was an ancient city that placed great value in the defensive nature of its vast, thick walls, (Josh. 6:1).
A second form of protection for those in walled cities possessed, was the watchman. He is mentioned in our text and he was essential to the proper function of the wall. He stood upon that wall and kept watch over the surrounding countryside. When invading armies or other dangers came into his view, he sounded the warning and those inside the wall knew to prepare. Both the watchman and the wall were essential to the survival of the city itself. Without the watchman, those inside the wall were blind and without the wall, the watchman would have been unnecessary. (Verse 6) points out the two-fold duty of the ancient watchman.
He Was To Watch – The most important duty of the watchman was for him to watch! He was to stand in the towers or upon the wall and his eyes were to scan the countryside for any signs of trouble. From his high and lofty perch, he could see the glistening of armor, sword and spear; he could see the banners of war as they waved; and he could see the clouds of dust raised by the drumming of thousands of feet upon the desert sands. He was to be in his place, with his eyes open. He was to watch!
He Was To Warn – Whether he saw anything approaching or not, he was to give his report to the people within the walls when they asked him of conditions outside. When trouble arose in the distance, he was to lift up his voice and sound the warning so that the people within the walls could prepare themselves and so that those who lived outside the city could run in and find refuge. This same thought is seen in (Isa. 58:1), where the prophet Isaiah is told to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” and (Hos. 8:1), where Hosea is told to “Set the trumpet to thy mouth.” The ancient watchman had a duty to watch and to warn.
If there was ever a time when watchmen were needed around the church, the home, the family, the schoolhouse and the community, the day is now! We need people of discernment who know the Word of God. We desperately need people who know the enemy and keeping an eye on him and what he is doing, (1 Pet. 5:8). We need people who will watch and warn others of what they see coming. Whether the news is good or bad, we need men and women who will look at the world around them and raise the warning.
Whether we see it or not, every area of life I mentioned earlier is under attack! The enemy is doing everything he can to invade the church and lead us down the wrong path. He wants to change our worship, our Bible, our hymnbook and our message. We need watchman who will see that and sound the message!
The home and family are also under severe attack this evening. Children have forgotten the meaning of submission and obedience. Husbands and wives have no concept of faithfulness, fidelity and “unto death do us part.” Parents have forgotten how to apply the board of education to the seat of learning, and we are raising a generation of rebels who know nothing about submission to authority.
God has been kicked out of the schoolhouse! His book is off limits and children are forbidden to pray. They are taught that God is a myth from our repressed past. They are told that man evolved from a single amoeba that formed countless ages ago in a puddle of primordial soup. If God can be marginalized and children taught that He does not exist; if they really believe that they are the result of evolution; then there are no rules, and no speed limits. They can careen down the highway to Hell without thought to the consequences.
Things are no better in the community! People outside the walls do not want to be bothered with thoughts of God, His will and His Word. Some are trying to prevent Leaders from placing his hand on a Bible during the swearing in at next week’s inaugural. Some want prayer banned at that event as well. The cry from the lost world is rising ever louder as they demand freedom from God’s laws and even from God Himself. They say, “Away with the Ten Commandments! Away with right and wrong! Away with morality! Away with Jesus, the Bible, God, Christianity and the cross!”
Yes, we need watchmen in our day. But, sadly, I see very few who are responding to the need.
Luke 10:27 (New International Version (NIV)
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’]”
“Prepare To Meet Thy God” By: J. H. Stanley (1909)
Careless soul, why will you linger?
Wandering from the fold of God?
Hear you not the invitation?
O prepare to meet thy God.
Careless soul, O heed the warning,
For your life will soon be gone;
O how sad to face the judgment
Unprepared to meet thy God.
Why so thoughtless are you standing
While the fleeting years go by,
And your life is spent in folly?
O prepare to meet thy God.
Hear you not the earnest pleadings
Of your friends that wish you well?
And perhaps before tomorrow
You’ll be called to meet your God.
If you spurn the invitation
Till the Spirit shall depart,
Then you’ll see your sad condition,
Unprepared to meet thy God.
GRACIOUS Father, REDEEMING GOD!
Thank You for knowing everything about us and still loving us, for blessing us, our work and establishing it in the way of righteousness. You know our thoughts and our mistakes, and still You call us Yours. We commit all that we are and can be to Your glory praise and honor. Strengthen us in our weak areas to accomplish what we must do, and teach us to do it well. Be with us constantly as You guide us and teach us. Forgive us when we fail You and restore us to Your good pleasure. Help us to know You better, to know Your will and Way better. This we ask in the precious name of Jesus, our Lord! Amen!
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