The familiar passages of Isaiah 21 seem to ever ring true – “Watchman, what of the night?”
Watchmen were duty bound to take careful sight of approaching threats – and to make sure those within the camp were safe. It was always appropriate for the citizens to ask the watchman about the safety of the community. While others slept, the watchmen were still under commission to carefully examine threats from inside or outside the camp.
The watchmen were obligated to sound the warning if anything threatened the security of the community. The people valued their watchmen and trusted them. The watchmen no doubt found themselves constantly being asked, “Is everything alright? Is it safe?” The reason was simple, they were in the best position to see the threats. They had the best vantage point.
Today, watchmen are not valued so much. Rather, they are often jumped on by the naive and ignorant. Men often reprove the watchmen claiming, “There is no threat here. You’re being too harsh and judgmental.”
What of the night? What’s coming tonight? What are the conditions, dear watchman?
Preachers who should know better often fail us in standing for and supporting the Truth. These, who should be watchmen, are often those asking, “What of the night?” Yet, when the answer is given they argue and debate, often choosing to believe a lie rather than the truth and the evidence supporting the Truth.
Some even claim that the dangers which lurk among us are not dangers at all. They’re merely minor disagreements that must be overlooked because “love covers a multitude of sins.” Brethren, our love for each other has no atoning power. To suggest that it does is a horrible rendering of the Gospel truth. We certainly must contain such love that helps us – indeed, compels us – to forgive others. If we overlook or ignore the sins that would take our brethren to a devil’s hell then we don’t demonstrate the proper love for them that the scriptures demand.
Sadly, there are threats. Nobody wishes it so, but to ignore the threats or to blame the watchmen for sounding the alarm is sinful. Neglect to warn and blood will be on our hands for those lost. Rebuff the warning and write letters castigating the watchmen for sounding the call, and blood will be on our hands.
The job of watchmen has never been easy, but there once was a time when they were valued for their contribution. Sadly, in too many circles the watchmen today are hated, vilified, campaigned against and rebuked. Men speak without knowing the facts fully – and often the watchmen know exactly what they’ve seen and what the threats are. Men write letters to the watchmen with broad distribution – telling them how disturbed they are by the warning sound. They assume, incorrectly, that they possess the voice of many others. Their arrogance and ignorance is shameful. Gentleness and meekness do not mask the disturbing truth that some do not think there is the need today for watchmen – that we’re safe! Their hatred for the watchman’s warning are apparent. We’re not made better because of it.
“Watchman, what of the night?” What dangers lie ahead tonight, dear watchman? Is it safe? Please warn us. Many of us know that we’re never safe as long as we’re in this life. This life is an unsafe place full of threats. We need help to make it through the night.
Watchmen, some of us still value your presence and rely on your help so we can be safe – and saved! Please maintain your post. Please ignore those who would belittle you, or ridicule your work. Please sound the warning if you see anything that might rob us of our soul.