“7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 33:7-9
Ezekiel 33:7-9 (and the preceding verses) provide us clarity on the responsibility of the Lord’s Watchman. This is important because we will only be effective to the degree that God has given us grace to operate. When we attempt to move beyond where the Lord has appointed us to operate, we remove ourselves from His protection.
In Ezekiel 33, the Lord makes our responsibility clear. When He sends a warning to the people, we are to “sound the alarm.” Our first response when we believe we’ve heard warning from the Lord should always be prayer. And the truth is, if we have remained in the Word and prayer (that is always part of the assignment), the process of assessment to discern the threat can be fairly quick but don’t be in a hurry. We must always be careful to release a Word in the right timing (Prov. 25:11). The way in which we assess and discern will be detailed in another post.
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God’s instruction to Ezekiel was to blow the trumpet and warn the people. That’s it. Warn the people. When we operate in order (1 Cor. 14:40), love (1 Cor. 13:1-2), and obedience (Isaiah 1:18-20), we have fulfilled the assignment. Then we intercede and wait for the response by the people. Now understand, the Lord will not show us a problem without also providing a solution. There may be instances where the threat is revealed and the solution is clear. There may also be other instances where the threat is revealed, and a strategy is not immediately provided. This is when we must go deeper for revelation and strategy. Some houses experience the same attack over and over because the root of the issue hasn’t been addressed or perhaps people fall back into old patterns. It’s the Lord’s will that we are delivered and set free (Acts 10:38), and we must do the work to obtain the deliverance and then to maintain it.
We must always remember that we are not responsible to cause the people to change, nor to make them change the way that we believe is correct. At the end of the day, the people’s response will either save themselves or send themselves to destruction. Their decision is on their own heads (Ezek. 33:5). As a former judge that I used to work for always said, “Every decision has consequences; some are good, and some are bad.” But we each have the ability to make the choice of what consequences we want to experience.
We must remember that perfect love provides free will. Because we have the grace to see the threat and also see the potential outcome if the people do not take heed of the warning, we may have the tendency to grow impatient or frustrated. However, while the Lord’s desire is redemption and not judgment, each individual is given the free will to make their own decision. Once we speak the warning, we continue to intercede for the people and look for the turning, for we know that some plant and some water. We just may not know which we are called to do in any given situation (1 Cor. 3:6-8).
As Watchman of a House, rarely will you be sent to give warning and then walk away, as in the case of the prophet Jonah. When we are planted in a House as Watchmen, we will go through the process with the people, as Jeremiah was with the cities of Judah and Jerusalem when they were taken captive by the Babylonians. So we pray for open eyes, turning towards Christ, and peace in the land. For as the city has peace, so will you (Jeremiah 29:7).
See Well & Perceive!
One thought on “Responsibility of a Watchman”
Agreed. Where we tend to err is administration by the wrong covenant. Our scriptural frame of reference is before the finished work of Christ, while our operation is within the context of the Gospel.
You make a powerful point to keep our “hands off” the people and avoid trying to manipulate responses and outcomes. This would be a good discussion to kill some sacred cows!