Once again a message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. Ezekiel 33:1-5
From the text, the function of the watchman was to give a warning of impending danger. Cities are vulnerable to attack at any moment and because of this someone has to be appointed as the watchman. He will be situated in a place with good vantage point from where he could survey the surrounding looking for invading enemies. Once he noticed that there is an approaching threat, he should sound the trumpet to warn the people and to inform the army to be ready from the enemies’ attack. He has a responsibility and there are people who will be dependent upon his vigilance. If they are overrun by the enemy and the city gets defeated, the watchman will be blamed. To be effective, of course, the watchman would need to be able to recognize the enemy. All Christians are watchmen in the spiritual battle. In Ephesians 6:11 Paul refers to the devil’s ‘schemes’ or his ‘wiles’, and we are warned of this throughout Scripture that the devil will be persistent in this spiritual battle. He is crafty (Genesis 3:1) and cunning (2 Corinthians 11:3). He will seek to outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:11) and set traps (1 Timothy 3:7). He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and can even perform miracles (Matthew 24:24). This is why Christians have to be careful for the battle is not always obvious, and sometimes we can lose a conflict before we are even aware that we are in it. We must therefore be continually on our guard. How often God’s people are led into sin through something which seems innocent and harmless! This is due to the wiles and schemes of the devil. When the enemy comes and pretends as an angel of light, it is the truth of God that exposes him for what he is. No matter how cleverly he masquerades, or how crafty his approach, the devil will always be in conflict with the truth of God as revealed in the Scriptures. God’s Word is the searchlight that exposes the wiles of Satan. The effectiveness of the watchman is crucial not only for the people he has to warn but also for his own well-being (Ezekiel 33:5). The world needs Christians who are fearless and reliable in warning it of the consequence of sin. Let us pray to God that as His followers, we will have the burden for others taking on the responsibility as God watchmen.
Noel De Guzman