Sleepy Watchmen

 from Lynda Lindsey 

Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge: they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain.

Isaiah 56:10-11

I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Isaiah 57:15(b)

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “I will heal them.” Isaiah 57:18-19

Watchmen of long ago, situated up high in a tower built into the city wall, could oversee activities happening both inside the compound and outside in the surrounding fields. The tower’s height allowed the watchman to scout out approaching danger, whether from fires within, animals or thieves raiding the fields without, or a marauding army headed their way and sound the alarm. The watchman’s alertness was of primary importance.

God’s kings, priests, and prophets were supposed to be His watchmen, vigilant to watch over, teach, warn, and protect God’s people and nation, turning people back to God when they strayed. But corruption was rife. Like sleepy watchdogs, too satiated to bark at danger, most selfishly followed their own desires, seeking what was in their own best interest. At a time when people spurned God, turned to idols, denied justice to the poor and ignored the needy, God’s true prophets confronted sin, issued stern warnings to repent and proclaimed the Good News of the coming Messiah.

Indeed every proclamation about Messiah’s coming is Good News! Messiah, Comforter, our Peace and Healer, is not a god who is far away. He lives not only in a high and holy place, He also dwells with, and within, His people. Jesus yearns for His wayward children to return to sweet fellowship with Him; He works to revive and restore those whose contrite heart compel them to repent. Have we like sleepy watchdogs become too satiated with our own desires to bark at danger, to be aware of evil? Wake up! Be alert; don’t let trouble inside the city walls!