What is a Watchman
Nehemia was a watchman on the walls of Jerusalem while the city was being rebuilt.
Ezekiel was also a watchman for the nation. Ezekiel chapters 3 and 33 perhaps best describe the role and responsibilities of a watchman.
What is a watchman and how do I know?
I am a watchman. I am not a man but I am a watchman. How do I know?
About 20 years ago I spent a concerted 18 months searching, praying, asking, seeking the LORD: Who am I in You? What is my calling, LORD?
I studied scripture. I was married to a teacher of the Word but I knew that I was not a prophet or a pastor, a teacher or an evangelist. But I was “something”. What?
I happened upon a speaker once, as I attended my regular weekly prayer school meeting. I walked in (a bit late) and the guest speaker was talking about herself as a watchman. “What’s that?” I wondered. As she began to share about how she discerned, often felt led to speak out, had early in her ministry been sidelined and ignored for speaking truth I thought, “I can relate to that.”
I bought her book. As I combed through it (twice) over the coming days and weeks, I realised, “I’m a watchman!”
I never felt so relieved in my life. Suddenly, all the pain, angst, side-lining for being outspoken, the prophetic vision, discernment and words I’d offered and had confirmed by individuals but often ignored by leaders made sense.
I am the grit!
Once at a church leaders’ meeting, one I’d been invited to as part of the worship team, the guest prophet pointed to me (and another woman) and said, “You are the grit.”
He said to the church leadership, “You find what these people have to say uncomfortable, challenging, but you must listen to them. Like a pearl that needs refining in order to develop, they are the grit for your church. Listen to them.”
Hallelujah! I was so pleased to be picked out and perfectly described.
Unfortunately, the leadership didn’t pick up on what the prophet said and I continued to be “an embarrassment” to them.
Twenty years on, I am still the grit. But I’m learning to walk in the shoes the LORD has given me, and become detached (usually) from my message and the reaction the words might get. And thankfully, along the journey the LORD has taught me much about grace and how to walk in grace toward others. Isn’t it amazing how, as He teaches us, we experience grace from others as we show His grace?!
What is a Watchman
A watchman is a prophetic voice. A watchman has gifts of discernment, wisdom, and a knack for seeing what and how to prevent problems. A watchman proverbially stands upon the wall and sounds the trumpet of warning to the congregation, population or leaders thereof.
A watchman has the personality of a misfit, is often isolated from the crowd, but nevertheless, has a propensity to speak out (truths) even when uninvited to do so. A watchman can be an irritant, but is like a dog with a bone: often relentless and unable not let go of his point even when all the world does not want to listen. S/he can often be misunderstood, being seen as judgmental, when the aim is simply to guard and protect others from mishap and mistake.
The Job at Hand
The watchman has a tough job because s/he may be called to challenge the status quo or provoke others to be accountable for their words or responsibilities. This does not make one popular.
But as in Ezekiel, if we do not warn as we’re called to warn, the “blood” of the other is on our own heads. That’s a powerful motivation, even to bypass our own fear of man to get the job done.
We must share in love and gentleness, kindness and patience. But we must stand in the shoes the LORD has given us, and do the job we’ve been assigned.
If we do not honour the call GOD has given us, churches can flounder, individuals can fall, nations can end up outside of GOD’s will.
I am delighted, I am daunted, I am hopeful
I am delighted as ever to have found how my personality dovetails perfectly with my calling. I am daunted by the task at hand, sometimes terrified of speaking on behalf of GOD but erroneously, and terrified of the rejection I might receive from man. But I am hopeful that, even though throughout the Bible the prophets were despised, there were occasions when conviction and restoration came, such as when Nathan spoke to David about the adultery and murder the king had committed.
I am hopeful that some might prefer to change to GOD’s will rather than to cling onto old ways of thinking.
I pray that we will all embrace our new wineskins and grow into the people of GOD He has created us and predestined us to be.
Oh LORD, bless you and keep me in Your perfect will, and make me to be righteous in Your eyes. Bless those whom I encounter, and help them to hear Your voice through me when I am on track and on call. Oh LORD, bless the brothers and sisters you bring to my path, and may we be united in one cause: To lift Your name and to honour Your ways and truths.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.