Tuesday, 21 February 2023
“…… I have appointed you a watchman…...” Ezekiel 3:17
God spoke to Prophet Ezekiel about a very important responsibility – and appointed him a watchman over His people. In the context of those days, the watchman stood on the city wall guarding against any external or internal threat. He would sound an alarm upon sighting impending danger. So, God made Ezekiel a spiritual watchman over His people. [NKJV Study Bible]. The precise duty of Ezekiel is given in the key verse – to hear from God’s mouth and warn the people!
In fact this is a duty relevant even today! While speaking to the Elders of the Church in Ephesus, Apostle Paul admonishes them in a similar tone- Acts 20:31 “Therefore watch...” This warning of Paul, places the Elders of the Church at the same responsibility of a watchman in the olden times – it is the same responsibility that God placed on Ezekiel. In the previous verses (Acts 20: 29 &30), Paul identifies two threats to the Church and cautions the Elders to be watchful of both – the threat from the outside and from the inside. Unbelievers are a dangerous threat from outside; the arrogant and self-serving are a threat from within. [NKJV Study Bible]
Hebrews 13:17 says “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account…. ” Here the implication is far more! The leaders would give an account of their service at the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:12). Every leader of the New Testament Church has a solemn duty to watch over the people whom God has given under their care. However, there is a two-fold application of the concept of “watching” in NT.
Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…” We need to guard or watch ourselves and then watch others too. The 2 “guarding” spoken of here:
· Guarding yourself: In order to watch himself, the leader needs to submit himself to the authority of Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God. 1Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” One needs to stand guard against the enemy by wearing the full armour of God mentioned in Ephesians 6:10-18. The “Sword of the Spirit” which is the Word of God is the weapon of offence given to the Christian. The Living and Active Word of God is powerful in every circumstance helping him overcome!
· Guarding the flock of God: In order to watch over the flock of God, the leader needs to humble himself before God and be prayerful. This is when God speaks to him and he is able to hear from Him. Jeremiah 23:18 says, “But who has stood in the council of the LORD, That he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened?” This is to be a practice of a leader whereby the Spirit of God can speak to him so that he in turn can speak to God’s people. However, the people need to submit themselves to the authority of the leader.
As we understand the significance of today’s Word, may we understand where we have failed in “watching” ourselves and those God has given us in our care; then may we submit our lives to being a watchman for God’s people- both to hear from Him and deliver His Word!
To Act on: “…guard what has been entrusted to you…” 1 Timothy 6:20