On my trip to Israel 8 years ago, we visited a village in Nazareth which is set up to show us what it looked like when Jesus lived there.
A watchman was placed on the hill overlooking the village and the land surrounding it. Their responsibility was to call out warnings or sound a trumpet to tell the people of the village when they saw possible danger approaching.
God explains what a spiritual watchman’s duties are in Ezekiel 33: 17-20. “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. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will be saved yourself.”
What does this mean for us today?
We don’t have watchmen……or, do we?
As I read this, God reminds me that I am a watchman for the people he has placed in my sphere of influence. I know the truth. And I know the danger of eternal separation from God if a person doesn’t accept salvation through Jesus Christ. So I must say something. I cannot be silent.
I wish it was as easy as sounding trumpet. It’s much harder today to warn others of danger coming their way. Our culture is more independent than that of the Israelites and many people don’t understand that God still holds us accountable for each other. Those of us who know the truth need to share it with others. Those of us that know the danger of not accepting God’s free gift of salvation need to talk to the people around us about the Gospel that sets us free – eternally free.
So how do I make sure I’m fulfilling my responsibility as a watchman? I have found that the easiest way is to share my own experience – stories of what God has done in my life. I bring God into the conversation as often as I can, talking about what he has done for me in the past and what he is doing in my life today. I share how God’s love and grace is the central theme of my life, giving me purpose and peace.
I have a great role model in Jesus who used equal measures of grace and truth. He didn’t judge people (except for the religious leaders who should have known better). He didn’t condemn people who didn’t believe he was the Son of God. He spoke truth with love every chance he got. He communicated in ways that the people around him could hear. And understand.
So they could avoid the danger of being separated from God for eternity.
Thank you, dear Jesus. Please help me do the same.