Ezekiel 3:17 (AMP)
Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at My mouth and give them warning from Me.
Watchman – a person who keeps watch: Guard.
What did it mean to be a watchman in the Old Testament days? A watchman kept guard of prisons, the castle where the king was residing, over the high tower to make sure there weren’t any enemies trying to invade their city (internal and external), and warn people of approaching enemies.
It was a custom among the Jewish culture to keep three watches during the night (Exod. 14:24, Judges 7:19, Nehemiah 4:9, Mark 13:35, Luke 12:38). The custom continued during Roman days by keeping four watches (Matt. 14:25, Mark 6:48).
A watchman who was appointed by God had the responsibility to warn people. If they didn’t take their responsibility seriously and didn’t warn others, they were accountable to God.
Ezekiel 3:18 (AMP)
If I say to the wicked, You shall surely die, and you do not give him warning or speak to warn the wicked to turn from his wicked way, to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand.
Jonah was a prophet and a watchman; but he didn’t want to heed to God’s message in regards to warning the people of Nineveh of their destruction. He ran as far as he could to hide from God; but he couldn’t hide! We’ve seen many characters in the Bible of those who’ve tried to negotiate, argue, and disobey God. But Jonah just boarded the next ship and headed towards Tarshish. It was the most remote place across the sea. He was really trying to get away, far away!
Has there ever been a time that you’ve been so hurt from a circumstance and you blamed God? Instead of holding tight to Him, you tried running far away. You couldn’t fathom how this could happen to you. “Where was God when I needed him the most?”
God was right beside you watching. He was there crying with you and wanting to comfort your hurt but you didn’t allow Him. He was at arms length just waiting for you to call upon Him… “JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!!” Instead of calling out to Him for help, you decided to run from Him.
Psalm 86:7 (KJV)
In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
Maybe God is speaking to you and has given the responsibility of a watchman. But you don’t want that responsibility. “I can’t do that type of work. I’m not equipped to be a watchman!”
We’re trying to deal with our circumstances or our responsibility in our own strength. We can’t do anything in our own ability. We can’t even breathe if it was up to us.
John 15:5 (AMP)
I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
We are all called to be watchmen in our lives
After a distraught event in his life, Jonah decides to do God’s Will and go to Nineveh.
Jonah 2:1-2 (AMP)
1THEN JONAH prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly, 2And said, I cried out of my distress to the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of Sheol cried I, and You heard my voice.
As Jonah cried out from the belly of hell, we, too, can cry out from whatever hell we’re going through and know that Jesus is right there to get us out.
2 Timothy 4:5 (KJV)
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Let’s think about what we are being called to do as a watchman. If God has entrusted us with that responsibility, He has entrusted us with a ministry to push forward the Gospel. Whether it’s one soul you touch is good for the Lord. Let’s not look at numbers in our ministry. We have to look at the impact of the soul we’re reaching out to. We have to focus on what the Spirit is telling us versus what we think we should be doing.