Jump Start # 2114
Ezekiel 33:6 “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I shall require from the watchman’s hand.”
Our verse today brings the image of a man standing alert, looking over the tower walls while within the city, the business of life continues on. Off in the horizon, a cloud of dust seems to be getting larger and closer. The trained eye realizes horsemen are galloping quickly toward the walls. It is an invading army. The city will soon be under attack. The gates must be closed. Women and children need to seek safety. Men need to come to the walls with weapons in hand to defend the city. Below, laughter, commerce fill the air. Children play. The approaching army is now in sight. They increase their speed. The watchman remains silent. To the surprise of the attacking army, the city gates are wide open. No defense is put up. They ride into the gates and begin a merciless slaughter. Very quickly the city is taken. Expensive items are gathered up as loot, a few hostages are taken and the city is set on fire. Life has ended for this small city state. And, the tragedy is that it didn’t have to happen. There was time to blow the trumpet, shut the gates and man the walls. A trained defense could have held off this invading army. The city could have been saved. It came to one man, the watchman. He failed to do what he was supposed to do. He never blew his trumpet.
Let’s stand in his shoes for a moment. What might have been reasons why he never blew the trumpet.
He may have been asleep in the towers. Day after day, nothing bad ever happens. So, he takes a nap and he never saw the enemy coming. But our verse doesn’t support this. It says he sees them coming but doesn’t blow the trumpet. He knew, he just didn’t do anything.
He may have felt like he was missing out. Everyone else gets to go about life and he is stuck in the tower. He misses weddings. He misses laughter. He misses life. In his jealousy and anger, he allows the city to be taken.
Maybe he was tired of being a watchman. Maybe it’s his way of getting out of this job and out of the tower. I’ll just let something happen and then they will replace me. To his horror, there won’t be a city left and likely, he too, will die in this destruction.
Maybe he thought everyone ought to know. How could you not see the rising dust on the horizon. He sees it. They probably will see it as well. There’s no need to tell the city what they already know. But, they don’t know. That’s the reason he is in the tower with a trumpet.
He saw and he never warned. The city fell and he is responsible. Fingers would point to him. The warning system never worked. We have multiple warning systems around us. There are sirens that warn of serious storms in the area. Stores post products that have been recalled. Even our cars have warning lights when oil or tire pressures are not at the normal levels.
But all of this is not about towers, rising dust of an approaching enemy and blowing trumpets. It’s about spiritual warnings. It’s about saving lives spiritually. God has surrounded us with a network of warning systems. They are there to keep us safe and help us. The warnings work, if we slow down enough to listen to them. When we ignore them, we get into trouble. Every year, there are reports of people who were seriously injured or even killed by tornados. Many were not caught by surprise. They knew the storm was approaching. These folks have never witnessed a real tornado so close. Instead of taking cover, they go out side to watch and video tape the coming storm. Flying debris hits and injuries these foolish people who wanted to see a storm. They ignored the warnings and they paid the price.
How does God warn us:
First, through the Scriptures. God tells us what to avoid. God tells us what paths lead to destruction. God tells us what He expects. With that, we have so many powerful character studies in the Bible of people who made wise and foolish choices. God is warning us through His Scriptures. Yet, there comes a person who arrogantly believes he is different. What God says won’t happen to him. He can handle it. He can stop any time. He’s is different. This fool ruins his soul, influence and destroys the eternity for his family because he wouldn’t pay attention to the warnings. He doesn’t worship God’s way. He doesn’t have to, he thinks. He doesn’t heed what God says about alcohol. He can handle it, he thinks. He doesn’t build a network of spiritual fellowship. He doesn’t like those people. Independent, arrogant, and just plain dumb, this person is headed for a waterfall and he refuses to change his course. He’ll crash. It won’t be pretty. It didn’t have to be that way, but he refused to listen to God’s warnings.
Second, worship services are another powerful form of God’s warnings. The preached word. The hymn sung. The prayer offered. If we listen. If we pay attention to what is said, it teaches us, guides us and it warns us. Paul’s instructions to young Timothy was to “reprove, rebuke and exhort.” That’s the sound of trumpets. We may not like “those kind of sermons.” We may want fluffy, happy lessons that make us laugh and warms our hearts with cute stores, but do little good in changing our course of direction or challenging us out of complacency. Blow the trumpet preacher. Sound the warnings. Even though the folks may not like you doing that, you are saving their lives.
Third, godly parents is another form of warning that God has put in our lives. Parents are to instruct, guide and shape the character of their children. They are to teach them right and wrong. They are to be watching over them. Like the shepherds of Israel, or the shepherds of the church, the role of the parent is to mend the broken, heal the sick and feed that little flock that we call our family. Not just physically, but spiritually. Talk about things around the kitchen table. Talk about things when in the car. Explain. Guide. Warn. When they start dating, serious warnings. When they start driving, serious warnings. Stop trying to be your kids best friend. Stop trying to be their buddy. Quit trying to be one of them. Get up in that watchtower and scan the horizon. There are many fronts of attack these days. Check their phones. Know their passwords. Limit their time on social media. Have their friends in your home. Be a parent.
It’s disgusting to hear of godless parents giving young people a taste of alcohol. They laugh at the child’s reaction to the bitter taste of booze. Really? You think that’s funny? Children pick up on the words and attitudes at home. Where do little kids learn to say such filthy things? They’ve heard it at home. Why do parents think it’s so funny when a child innocently sticks up a middle finger, a vulgar sign, and then they post it on Facebook. Funny? The enemy is already within the city gates and these clueless parents have no idea. When their children grow and marry and divorce multiple times and have no interest in the eternal, they will be destroyed along with their parents. Climb that tower. Blow that trumpet.
Fourth, godly shepherds in the church are a form of God’s warning systems today. They encourage us to attend. They want us to come to Bible classes. They talk to us one on one about things that they see and hear. Do we listen? Do we trust them? Do we respect their judgement? Or, do we blow up at them? Do we get upset because they blew the trumpet. They messed up our day by blowing that loud trumpet. They are trying to keep us alive spiritually. Our arrogance, ignorance and lack of paying attention is getting us in trouble. They are there to help. Are we thankful that they keep us safe? Are we thankful that they keep poison out of the church? Strong, godly and watching, that’s the role of the shepherds. God has placed them in the church, not to pay the bills and decide whether or not it’s time to repave the parking lot. That’s not their roles nor their concern. It’s our souls. God has placed them in the watchtower to help us.
Finally, after all these forms of warnings, there remains a final one. If the enemy gets through the word of God, passes around sermons and worship, gets past parents, and even past the shepherds of the church, the last remaining form of defense is ourselves. Put on the full armor of God is what the Ephesians were told. If all else fails, then I must pick up my sword and stand ready to keep the enemy from getting past me. We must take ownership of our own soul. It is up to us that we protect our soul, feed our faith and grow in Christ. Put down the finger of blame that is pointing toward others. Stop complaining about sermons, preachers, elders and worship. If we lose our souls, we have allowed that. The enemy cannot get past us. Our trumpet is our faith and our conscience. The more the word of God is in our hearts, the more our conscience screams at us. Guilty feeling come when we have not listened to our conscience. We marvel at how so many today can be so vulgar, in speech and in dress and it doesn’t bother them. Their conscience isn’t working. They are beyond blushing. They are no longer able to be embarrassed. Their conscience is dead because there is no word of God in their hearts. That must never happen to us.
Blow the trumpet watchmen. Blow it loud and long. And, may we be listening and may we heed the warnings.