I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel.
In 2019, Israeli soldiers made a discovery. On a remote part of their army base, the soldiers uncovered what turned out to be an ancient Israelite watchtower. The watchtower is massive, its boulders weighing up to eight tons. It is twelve feet wide and rises to seventeen feet. It stands on a hill. Even today, you can see why the watchtower is there. From that hill, you have a commanding view of the ancient city of Ashkelon. In the days of the Israelites, Ashkelon was a hostile city, an enemy of God’s people.
Go back three thousand years. You’re in Israelite soldier. It’s nighttime. It’s your turn to stand watch in the tower. You climb to the top, relieve the watchman on duty, and begin. The length of your watch will be four hours. During that time, you will exert all the powers of your perception—your sight, your hearing, your sense of smell, your trained instinct—to protect your loved ones from forces that wish them harm. As the watchman, you do not sleep, you do not daydream, you allow no distractions. You are the watchman, and you are on the front lines. You are the watchman. People’s lives are depending upon you.
In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, the Lord told Ezekiel, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel. He was a watchman, however, not in the sense that he stood in a physical watchtower to keep an eye out for physical threats. Rather, Ezekiel was a spiritual watchman. His role was to keep an eye out for spiritual threats—anything that could invade or displace his people’s relationship with their Savior-God.
Which brings us to one of the great blessings of belonging to a Christian congregational family. The Lord, through congregations, calls leaders to help serve as a spiritual watchman. It’s a vital way by which the Lord keeps distractions to my faith at bay. It’s a vital way by which the Lord keeps my focus on Jesus, the One who lived a perfect life in my place, suffered and died for my every sin, and who now lives for me.
If you are a member of a Christian congregation, thank the Lord for your pastor who keeps watch over you. If you do not have a church home, find one that faithfully teaches the Bible so that you, too, can be blessed by the gift of having a spiritual watchman.
Lord, bless those who serve as a spiritual watchman. Keep them faithful to your Word so that your people are protected from the lies that might harm them. Amen.