“The Watchman and the Watchtower” – what do I mean by this? STORY TIME!!!!
Well…many years ago when agricultural societies were a BIG DEAL, like where the economy would essentially crash without the maintenance of crops and farmland, watchtowers were placed overlooking the fields. During the weeks the crops were ripening toward harvest, men were appointed “to take guard” and protect the fields from animals and thieves who would try and do a runner with the crops a.k.a their livelihood. As you can imagine, this was a pretty critical role and the watchman was a key figure amongst the community.
The watchman also mounted the city walls and surveyed the scene outside the fortifications in times of war, monitored approaches to the town and if a threat appeared he could sound a warning and the town would shut its gates and prepare for battle. Other times, whilst “on the lookout,” he would observe the activity of the townspeople in the streets and markets. He knew the people, their work and habits and essentially observed the daily life of people. So in short, watchmen were very important! The prophets in the bible were often seen as watchmen such as Ezekiel – “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” Ezekial 33:7. Ezekeial was one of many messenger from God who offered instruction/warnings about the life choices of the Israelite people.
So what has this got to do with you and I? Well I’m going to break it down for you below and hopefully by the end of it, the message will be clearer.
1. Be alert and vigilant
The key role of a watchman was to be “on guard”. In our lives it is easy to drop our guard over our own lives and visions; allowing thieves of the night to steal what is precious to us or just trample on it. This could range from negative thoughts such as low self-esteem, fear or self-doubt which are enemies of progress but also bad company; people who pull you down rather than lift you up with their encouragement. Don’t get me wrong, don’t be acting all shady, spraying anointing oil over everybody but just be alert. And of course the enemy the devil. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. So many of us are filled with amazing visions and the treasure we possess is so remarkable, the devil just loiters around like a pigeon near breadcrumbs. As soon as you drop those crumbs, those pigeons will SPRINT yes sprint/dive/somersault like never seen before and the devil too, he will waste no time in consuming you in times of vulnerability. So be alert, surround yourself with positive influences, fortify yourself with the Word of God (sword of the spirit) and speak over yourself with power (breathe life into dry bone situations).
2. Continue as normal
I know the feeling when you’re praying for something…waiting for an answer…crying out to God for change and yet you just hear the breeze of the wind. It hurts but God is not deaf or blind to that. Continue as normal, a problem/prayer point can seem soooo big when you’re constantly circling it, looking, thinking and speaking of nothing else. By no means am I belittling your problem or saying to “get over it” because that would be cruel and insensitive of me but what I am saying is keep going. For example, when you need to do a grocery shop that costs £20 but check your purse and only have £10 or £15, do you head home and go another day? NO! Food must enter that fridge, belly must be fed! You just get what you can, with the money you have. My point is, do what you can during your waiting period, taking each day as it comes without being weighed down by worry. The watchman continued as normal, watching the townspeople unless prompted to do otherwise, the “Keep Calm and Carry On” quote fits in nicely here. Worrying over a problems or an unmet need will not resolve or expedite the solution but rather do what you can and leave God to do what only He can do. Your “can’t” can slowly be turned into a can
3. Be expectant with open hands
Now the watchman was vigilant whilst looking over the people, the crops and the farmland; he continued his day as normal but he was also expectant that the course of things could change at ANY time. Now let me talk about that on a more positive note. The course of our lives could change at any time but we need to be expectant of it. Don’t let a waiting period send you into resignation, be expectant and have open hands and open heart. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 sums it up nicely. Another way of looking at it is this…trivial example but hey!…work with me here, when I call my dad to collect me from the tube station after a long day, I know he will be there – what time? Well that can vary… however I am confident he will not abandon me/forget (on purpose). God is not a man, He is God and has your life in the centre of his hand so expect BIG and believe that God will deliver.
4. Final point: expect but don’t set expectations
The way God answers prayers and the timing of it is up to Him. Don’t set a criterion for God, He cannot fit into our box, His power cannot be contained so trust Him and let Him surprise you.
Essentially, this message (my first of 2017 – woop! woop!) is saying that there is no watchman to appoint – the watchman is US! Guard whatever is precious to you, live your life purposefully and be expectant at all times for what you hope for.