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How are you?
My apologies that it's been so long; but the last three years have been tough right? Years full of watching; the darkness, the weeping and all the suffering. First it felt at arms length, then suddenly it presented itself to us personally and intimately. It walked into our homes, our workplace, our relationships and even our houses of worship.
When we are watchmen, we are also burden bearers before we pour it out in intercession, we are feelers, and it was too much at one time!. We love deeply and are often guilty of pouring it all out when crossing paths with a soul that Jesus died for.
One thing that kept my head above the quagmire was a quote I read in Tish Harrison Warren's book called (Prayer In The Night), where she wrote, “Feeling sadness is the cost of being emotionally alive.”
We often find ourselves in pools of grief and realize that the cost of not allowing ourselves to grieve correctly can haunt us for the rest of our lives. In Warren's book she talks about how work and activities are respectable addictions that allow us to avoid my “own inner cries”. She goes on to say,
“Unless we make space for grief, we cannot know the depths of the love of God, the healing God wrings from pain, the way grieving yields wisdom, comfort, even joy. If we do not make time for grief, it will not simply disappear. Grief is stubborn. It will make itself heard or we will die trying to silence it. If we don’t face it directly it comes out sideways, in ways that aren’t always recognizable as grief: Explosive anger, uncontrollable anxiety, compulsive shallowness, brooding bitterness, unchecked addiction. Grief is a ghost that can’t be put to rest until its purpose has been fulfilled”.
I recently realized that the sadness, disappointment and pain of it all was what caused myself and millions of other watchers, into our own personal babylons. It wrapped its claws around our waists and began to pull us under into exile. You see Babylon is a counterfeit “god place” that makes us believe we are the problem, we caused the pain, we did it wrong… We must need to be more “open” to what else is out there. We need to “rest” so it's okay if we don't pray or seek the Holy Spirit about the situations that seem to be coming at us from every direction.
We are so blinded by Babylon and its' 'comforts' ' or “solutions' ' that we don't even realize we have been exiled by this false “god place”. We looked up months, maybe even years later, and we found ourselves cut off, separated and thrust away from the Holy God, all because we translated misfortune incorrectly.
One thing I love the most about reading the Bible is, I can always find other people who made the same mistakes; and I can always find my Jesus who redeems it all.
Maybe all this time we have felt like exiles but we have ALWAYS been watchmen.
In ancient times, a watchman would use a watchtower to warn people of approaching danger. A watchman was responsible for protecting the communities and their crops, they knew the people in the community, they knew where they worked, what they did and where they were going. If danger was near the watchman would sound the alarm, close the city gates and prepare for battle.
The watchman can also be considered a prophet. Did you know that we are ALL called to be prophets who preach the good news of the gospel? Watchmen would even search the scriptures to pray for the city and all of its people.
In the book of Ezekiel, God said to the prophet Ezekiel, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from my mouth, and give them warning from Me” Ezekiel 3:17 .
The name Ezekiel means, “God is strong”. Ezekiel was a righteous man, he was a priest that was living in Jerusalem during the 1st Babylonian attack. His exile began when he was captured by the Babylonians and taken as prisoner with a group of Israelites away from Jerusalem. Sometime later Ezekiel was hanging out and suddenly had an open vision representing the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord Jesus. In Hebrew the, word “glory” is KAVOD, meaning heavy or significant.
Ezekiel realized in that moment that he was a (prophet) a watchman. God was commissioning him to accuse Israel of breaking the covenant they had with God, because they were worshiping other Gods. Not only was Ezekiel keen to that, he also was able to see that another attack was coming to Jerusalem and it would be worse than the first one.
God put such a fire in Eziekiels heart about the situation, that Ezekiel tried everything to get the people's attention, even though God showed him that the Israelites would reject him.
Haven’t we felt that way as watchmen? We finally get invited into that friend group and then God burdens our hearts with a situation someone in the group is in and we feel conflicted? We are either immediately obedient and say what God wants us to say or do what God wants us to do or we hesitate out of fear because we just want to keep that relationship. If we choose obedience we have to be okay with the outcome, and if we choose disobedience we are left with an even greater burden and sense of failure.
We like Ezekiel, have no choice but to choose obedience.
Later Ezekiel has another open vision. He sees the temple he used to worship the living God at in Jerusalem full of idol worship by the elders of the temple and the woman worshiping a Babylonian God named Tammuz (meaning) “the god of fertility”. These men and women of God were so disillusioned by the Babylonian invasion that they quit believing their God for their needs.
In Ezekiel’s vision he sees that the idolatry is so devastating to the Lord that he abandons his temple in Jerusalem and heads East towards Babylonia. God even speaks of the destruction of the temple. When all seems lost, Ezekiel comes to understand that God is not abandoning His people, He is promising that a remnant few will return to Jerusalem with transformed hearts, so they can love and truly follow their God.
Like a lot of us watchers, when things crash and burn we often think that there is no turning back, we have failed too much and God will change his mind about us. We don't often think in those moments that our situation is redeemable.
Well, God, like always, was faithful and He wiped out the Egyptians & the Tyre states around Israel with earthquakes, then fire and the rest in battle.
Ezekiel has another vision of a valley covered in dry bones, that start to rise and soon form living men, he sees a new temple even more beautiful than Solomons and he sees a vision of the glory of God enter that temple. From the temple steps he sees a raging rushing river flowing out and into the dessert that pours over into the Dead Sea, which soon comes alive with plants and animals (essentially the garden of Eden returned) and he realizes that God's plan has always been and always will be to restore humanity and all creation back to HIS life giving presence.
The place where the Lord is present, where He is with His creation. Breathing life into all that is weary and dead.
You see as watchmen, we are not promised it will be a smooth road, we are not promised that everyone will like us or agree with us. (Hosea 9:8) we are called to obedience because that is where we find Jesus; that is where we dwell in Him.
“yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes” James 4:14
If we truly love the Lord our God, we must be watchman for His people, listen to His voice, no matter what the cost and be obedient.
We may just witness a miracle.