It is easy to confuse love and truth. Paul commands us to speak the truth in love. Truth without love can be harsh and even legalistic. Love without truth is fuzzy spirituality that leads nowhere. If we do not speak truth, we are not loving. It may seem that way, but failing to warn people of danger is in fact an indication of our lack of the real love that changes lives.
One of the best pictures of this was given to the prophet Ezekiel. God called him to be a watchman to His people and warn them. The Lord speaks in Eze. 33:3-6, saying, “…and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.”
Warning a people of danger is a sign of love.
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One of the most helpful pictures of the prophetic role is that of the watchman, referred to by Ezekiel and many others in the Bible. God has clearly called us to this place of watching, praying, and speaking. In my book, Prayer and the End of Days, I wrote this about the tasks of a watchman:
- They are to watch and pray (Matt. 26:40-41)
- They are to be on guard constantly and so provide protection. “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin” (Lam. 2:19).
- They are to listen. Jer. 6:17 says, “I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet.’”
- They are to warn. “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me” (Eze. 3:17).
- They are to call on the Lord. “I have posted watchmen on your walls … You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest” (Isa. 62:6).
Standing on the walls of our nation, watching, praying, and warning of coming danger is a powerful and instructive visual for the role of the Church in our nation today. Who else can do this, if not us? What group of people is reading the Word, seeking the heart of God, and paying attention to what is happening around us? As the foundations of our nation crumble before us (Psalm 11:3), we must not retreat into fear, a critical spirit, or timidity. To the walls of prayer!
Lord God, as Your child I am called to stand on the wall in prayer – a watchman for the sake of Your kingdom! When I see or perceive danger is near, help me to have the courage to warn others, seeing this as the ultimate act of love! Give me the strength to be on guard, to listen, watch and to pray without ceasing!
–adapted from With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America by David Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise the God who knows the depths of your heart and sees all the secret places there. Give thanks that he hears the prayers of many people all over the earth and listens to all of our cries for help. Confess to God the days in this past week when you have not made sufficient time for prayer for yourself and others. Commit yourself to remembering his deep love for you and all people, and ask the Spirit to make that awareness grow into a habit of praying without ceasing “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Eph. 6:18).
Ask God to hear and answer the prayers of the unsaved, “so that all peoples of the earth may know [his] name and fear [him]” (1 Ki. 8:43). as a God who listens and responds.
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