Watchman – “What of the Night”
“This message came to me concerning Edom – Someone from Edom keeps calling to me, “Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?” The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”– “Amos 4:12” New Living Translation
Scripture: – “Isaiah 21:11-12”
It is a fact that not only Historians have left for us but also archaeological remains have confirmed, that in the days of the Old Testament and particularly the days of Isaiah the Prophet, that Cities are not protected simply by the armies that they were able to muster, but also in the night sessions, when they were at their most vulnerable, they were protected by Watchman who they would appoint to stand guard throughout the night, on High Towers. These towers were strategically placed around the Cities, and it was there duty to sound an alarm to the inhabitants, if they were under attack or in any danger. This is seen clearly in the following scriptures: – “2 Samuel 13:34” – “2 Samuel:18:24-27” – “2 Kings 9:17” – “2 Chronicles 20:24” – “Nehemiah 4:9” – “Nehemiah 7:3” – “Isaiah 62:6” – “Jeremiah 31:6”
It was quite often the case that the Prophets would assume a role playing guise in order to make clear and get the message that God had given to them over to the people, and here in “Isaiah 21:11-12”, we see Isaiah doing just that, and assuming the role of a Watchman, this being a role which would immediately relate to the people.
Now in these verse’s we find that he is bringing to us also a message relating to the unfolding of Gods prophetic programme for the ages, and it not only strongly effected the hearts of the people of the day, but its application is also very relevant to the day and generation in which we live, and it has something solemn to say to us.
Let’s now take a look at what is said, the scene that is set for us indicates that it was the dead of night and everything was quiet, but then suddenly Isaiah hears some footsteps in the darkness, and immediately his heart starts to race, thinking to himself is it a friend or a foe, and to his relief, he discovers that it is a friend, and in the same? way that we would say to someone “Hello, how’s it going?”, the stranger says “Watchman, what of the night?”, and is contained in Verse 11, and it is the first occasion of a twice repeated question.
Now we may ask ourselves “What is so important about it?” Well! the fact that the question was asked twice is put forward to indicate that there was a sense of urgency and gives the impression of anxiety, and the Holy Spirit is trying to say something to us the Church of great importance through it, but what?
It Is Now the Worlds Night-time
We live in a day and age when it would seem foolhardy to declare that is the World night time. This is especially the case when we think of all the Scientific and Medical advances that are being made. We can fly round space, babies can be born in test-tubes and so on. Yet in a day and generation when some would say “we’ve never had it so good” and even in the midst of all the unemployment and redundancies still there is great affluence, truly there is on every hand a deepening moral and spiritual decline.
Covid19 is being utilised by the Holy Spirit to force Churches from their defensive positions behind four walls out via the internet etc to actually do what the commission that was left by Jesus to be done. The World is looking for answers and now the Church is being forced to provide them or as institutions / organisations they will die.
But even at its very best the light that is being seen at present is no more than the light of a match struck in a cave, in comparison to the sin that is rampant on every hand. Selfishness and greed abounds wherever one looks, and “People will faint from fear as they wait for what is coming. Over the whole earth men’s hearts are failing them for fear…” – “Luke 21:26” Good News Translation
Isaiah 21 pinpoints this state of affairs for us by relating to us 3 Burdens, which are: –
- The Burden of Babylon – “Isaiah 21:1-18”
- The Burden of Edom – “Isaiah 21:11-12”
- The Burden of Arabia – “Isaiah 21:13-17”
Now in the East names were of great importance and had significant meanings attached to them, and these three were no exception to this rule, because the word: –
- Babylon means Chaos
- Edom means Tension
- Arabia means Suspicion.
and how really fitting these words are for us today, what do we see all around us. Chaos, Tension and Suspicion, and in Luke’s Gospel we have in “Luke 21:1-28” this really graphically portrayed for us.
We are living in a dark world and it is going to get darker.
Christians Are to Be Gods Watchman
If we have at some stage in our experience declared an allegiance to Jesus Christ and we have claimed Him as Saviour, then from that moment we have been conscripted into labour for Him, and amongst the many things we are to do and be are the following: –
|1||We as Disciples are to Live for Him||Titus 1:1|
|2||We as Servants are to Labour for Him||John 15:8|
|3||We as Stewards are to Trade for Him||1 Corinthians 4:2|
|4||We as Ambassadors are to Represent Him||2 Corinthians 5:20|
and as the Watchmen and Women of God we have the duty of warning a spiritually lost and dying World of the impending danger that is before them. We are the Children of Light and we are not to conceal it under a Bushel but to allow it to glow and radiate in every place we find ourselves.
Whever a question is asked it is the norm that a reply would be given, and here in our story of the Watchman it is no exception.
The Reply That Was Given
The reply that was given to the question “Watchman, what of the night?” was “The morning comes and also the night.” At first glance this reply would seem both obvious and strange. Of course the morning was coming, however the understanding comes with reading between the lines. The response must be read not only in the context of the actual time and day but also as I mentioned earlier, in the light of Gods Prophetic Plan Unfolding.
For the Christian there is a glorious morning that is coming, and it is the dawn of Christs return. However, it is ushered in, with that dawn there will be the greatest darkness that the World has ever experienced. The atrocities of the first and second World Wars were bad, but they will fade into the shadows in comparison to that which the Bible reveals will come upon the Earth after His return and let no-one be deceived Jesus is most certainly returning.
On His return (or 7yrs after the initial stage of it) a great tribulation will then very soon be ushered in, but unfortunately it will be too late for so many, hence Scripture says to us – “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation” the Lord Jesus may return “Tonight, or Tomorrow” will we be ready?
Many debates occur over the doctrine of end times which is called (eschatology). Sadly, some get so caught up in debate over speculative matters, that they miss the whole point of this glorious doctrine.
In regard to His return we see three specific things: –
- The Certainty of His Coming – “Revelation 1:7”
- The Nearness of His Coming – “Matthew 24:33”
- The Blessedness of His Coming – “Titus 2:13”
Regardless of one’s eschatological conviction, when discussing the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to recognise that it is a certainty. “Revelation 1:7” boldly says, “Behold, He is coming…”. The word “Behold” – (Ἰδοὺ – Idouhas) – has the idea behind it of “look!” Or “see!” What is it that John is emphasising and wanting his readers to see? The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture teaches clearly that the second coming of Jesus Christ is near. Jesus taught this in “Matthew 24:33” and said “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Paul taught this in “Philippians 4:5” – “The Lord is at hand” (Greek: “near”). John taught this throughout most of all the New Testament books. In Revelation he introduced the doctrines of the last things as “things which must shortly come to pass” – “Revelation 1:1” and He concluded by quoting Jesus, “Surely I come quickly” – “Revelation 22:20”.
The reality and certainty of our Lord’s Second Coming is called the church’s “blessed hope” – “Titus 2:13”, because it is a reality that provides spiritual blessedness to the believer.
The readiness aspect leads me to my final point.
The Appeal That Is Made
The actual appeal is to be found in “Verse:12” where it says: – “If you will enquire of me, inquire, return come again”
The words indicate a pleading on the part of the Watchman and bring over to us afresh the fact that Jesus by the Holy Spirit is constantly pleading with Men and Women and Boys and Girls, to give their lives to Him.
The Bible says: – “My Spirit will not always strive with men” – “Genesis 6:3”. Time and time again in the Word of God words of appeal are being made, the Holy Spirit. He is constantly imploring with the Hearts of Men to surrender to the claims of Jesus Christ and to acknowledge Him as Saviour.
The desire of the Almighty is that Men and Women might come out of there Darkness and come into Light, and be those who are obeying the direct command of Scripture that comes as “God commands all men everywhere to repent” – “Acts 17:30”
If Jesus came tonight would you be ready?
Have you felt the pleading of Gods Holy Spirit upon your Heart and resisted it?
Do you know that God is commanding you to Repent and to acknowledge Jesus as Saviour?
- If so then whilst there is still a chance of enjoying the Light and Revelation of God, and the Dawn of Christs return is not yet upon us, why not get right with God, and surrender afresh or for the first time to Jesus the Saviour.