“His watchmen are blind, They are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, They cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” Isaiah 56:10 NKJV
In ancient times walled cities had watchmen who would stand on the walls of the city and look out. They were to be the ones that were always looking ahead to see what might be coming on the horizon. It was their responsibility to the city to see when danger approached so that as watchmen they could sound the alarm, keeping the inhabitants safe and ready for what was coming. If the watchmen did not do their duty with diligence the entire city was imperiled.
God had watchmen over His people. It was their job to watch out for the people, to see what was coming their way and prepare the people, to warn them of impending dangers. God’s watchmen were to be listing to the voice of the Lord to know what perils were headed their way and help prepare the people through warnings when they were disobedient and turned from the Lord. But in Isaiah God tells the prophet that His watchmen were derelict in their duties before the Lord. These watchmen were ignorant of what was happening and they were turned away from the impending dangers headed their way. They were blind to what was happening spiritually, they were mute when they needed to be sounding the alarm. In fact, they were actually like dogs incapable of barking or sounding the alarm. Because they thought only of themselves rather than their duty and protecting others they truly were asleep on the job.
God said this to Isaiah about the nation of Israel, but this is still so true today as well. Who are the watchmen of today? Well, certainly the shepherds or Pastors and other spiritual leaders have that responsibility. But notice that God did not use the illustration of shepherds here so it is the responsibility of more than just the spiritual leaders we see around us. It is the responsibility of each of us to be watching over those around us. We need to sound the alarm for some people who are in danger of their eternal souls. We need to be quick with the Word of life and hope to set those free who are perhaps on the wrong pathway. Words of warning from our mouths, spoken from the Word, brings with it liberty for those in bondage and sounds an alarm for those not seeing the danger on their horizon.
The world is filling people around us with lies and deceit that leaves them vulnerable and in danger. We are to speak the Word of truth in their lives. We are to be His watchmen of today who sound the alarm. Too often we are more interested in our lives and personal matters and we are not watching out for others who do not have the truth and relationship with Jesus that we have. We content ourselves merely with “praying” for them when we should be warning them. Jesus needs us to be His watchmen with boldness and focus on His Word. We need to climb up onto the wall daily.
J Todd Hostetler