While praying about what to write, I realized I had opened a door in the last newsletter and now I need to address it. Many probably did not pick up on it but I certainly did. And that is, how are our feelings and actions displayed when we are prompted to sound the alarm. So, last week I shared about how I believe the Lord is directing many to become watchmen. Ezekiel 33:1-20 tells us the importance and necessity for alert watchmen to be in place. It also relays the consequences if the watchman is not obedient to the task set before him. If you haven’t yet read this passage, I hope you will.
I shared about how being a watchman over our schools, churches, homes, country, etc., will look different for each one of us. However, I do believe God is raising up godly men and women who have heart-felt and prayerful interests in specific areas AND who are alert to what is going on in said areas. Let me give an example. There are those who have such an affinity for public schools. They attend school board meetings; encourage prayer groups to attend when key subjects are being discussed; inform many about potential decisions being made that could have adverse effects on students; and they may even speak out at board meetings to share God’s truths in order to encourage further debate before a bad decision is made. This is being a watchman.
Over time, many have become complacent, frustrated, or angry with what they see in their schools. “What difference can I make? No one listens to me!” I think we’ve all been in situations where we’ve sounded the alarm but no one was listening. People were emphatically and dogmatically refusing to listen to reason or direction even though they were about to go over a cliff. Does that mean we stop warning? I prayerfully hope not.
Are we living in a culture of perpetual anger and frustration? People talking or yelling at one another, but no one is listening. People who are intent on getting their points across without any regard to opposing thoughts. Ideas and perspectives being thrust upon others as though they were laws needing to be obeyed. Merciful heavens!!! Of course this is apparent on the national level but do we also see this closer to home? Absolutely! Does the following sound familiar? “I can’t talk about politics, religion, environment, weather, etc. with my friend or loved one because all we do is argue. We can’t have a civil conversation about anything!”
There are times where I’ve had to examine my own motivations. Often I’ve had to acknowledge before my Lord and before others that I had come across “bombastic and argumentative”. But, I was right; speaking out God’s truths! If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” I Cor. 13:1-3 Do you think Paul knew what he was talking about – forcing his point of view, believing himself to be right without giving thought to others? And Saul was there, giving approval to (Stephen’s) death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem …… Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Acts 8:1-3.
Regrettably, I have sounded like that clanging gong; believing myself to be absolutely correct. And yet, there is a time and place for speaking out. Early in history, watchmen needed to sound the alarm, clang that gong, yell as loud as possible to warn the city’s inhabitants they were about to be invaded. However, most of us won’t face invasion. Or, the invasions that we do face are more subtle and illusive. This means that today’s watchmen need to be more alert than ever. We may feel that overwhelming urge to be forthright, eloquent and perhaps a bit verbose.
So I say, live by the Spirit……the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:16a, 22 & 23. As we become the watchmen the Lord desires us to be, let us also become more aware of how we act, react, share and convey God’s truths. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb. 4:16) Will our warnings be rejected? Jesus/Yeshua stated in John 15:21b, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” In other words, if people didn’t listen to Yeshua, why should we be surprised if they don’t listen to us? And yet….if we are obedient to God’s leadership, can the words of Yeshua in Matt. 10:19-20 apply: “….do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say for it will not be you speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
We often feel alone as we remain alert to what is going on around us. So, I want to leave you with this story from II Kings 6:8-23: …When the servant of the man of God (Elisha) got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha…. (vs 15-17) Being a watchman may be lonely and frustrating, but we are not alone.