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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Three Mile Island

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant
We can see the twin pillars of steam arising from the cooling towers in the distance from our front lawn.

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"Faithful Watchmen"

"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" (Ezekiel 33:7).

TMI siren testWe live within a ten mile radius of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power plant where there was a rather infamous accident in March 1979.  All throughout our area we have TMI warning sirens and they are periodically tested to ensure they work properly.  Today there will be a test at 12:15. Of course they need to warn us concerning the siren test lest there be a massive panic all throughout our very populated area.  Each year we get a very detailed instruction pamphlet that tells us what to do if there was a real emergency and the evacuation procedures to follow.

Warnings are for our good though we may not necessarily like them.  We might even find them unnecessary or annoying. In fact yesterday when I told Ester, "Be careful" she responded with, "That really gets annoying, Dad." Now that she's 19 years old she's heard it thousands of times, but because of my love and concern for her it just comes out before I even realize it.

When we hear repeated spiritual warnings we can give attention or grow annoyed at the message directed to us.  Today's text is a powerful portion of Holy Scripture about a watchman who is called to give warnings from God.  We still very much need these types of obedient watchmen today who faithfully proclaim God's Word.

The watchman, Ezekiel, served our Lord during a time of great transition.  God's people had been taken captive to Babylon but He hadn't forgotten them and still had a plan for their lives (corporately and individually).  A fellow prophet, Jeremiah, had already pointed this out in a very familiar passage (Jeremiah 29:11).  He served just prior to the Babylonian exile and Ezekiel spoke God's truth to the people in Babylon during the exile.  His prophecies are sometimes quite figurative, and can be hard to understand, but he had a powerful message for all who will listen!  It's for those who will read and listen to his message today as well. 

In today's verse we find expressed the very heart of Ezekiel's mission from God.  The word "watchman" is used both literally and figuratively in the Old Testament.  Literally it has the sense of a lookout, often on the city wall.  It means to "lean forward, to peer into the distance." 

In the figurative sense it conveys one who has the bigger picture, a bigger perspective (particularly God's).  God had called Ezekiel to be a watchman and a part of the watchman's message was to give warning. 

There are many circumstances in which people do not like warnings. (An ancient Jewish tradition asserts that Ezekiel was slain by his own people, those he tried to warn.)  The essence of the message of the false prophets Ezekiel confronted was their message of "peace, when there is no peace" (Ezekiel 13:10).  According to the apostle Paul this will also be a message of end time error preceding the coming of our Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Today I call on each of you to live as "watchmen" in our day.  Provide to those around you the perspective of God, which will certainly include a serious warning of God's impending judgment.  But it will also include a message of hope for those who turn to God (chapters 37-48). Hear the voice of the Lord and be His "faithful watchman" whose message to the world is filled with both warning and hope!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, thank You for Your repeated warnings in Scripture that informs, instructs and protects us from the evil one.  Help us not to ignore your warnings or procrastinate in our obedience to Your commands. Embolden our spiritual leaders to be fearless watchmen who speak out Your truths, even when they're not popular or politically expedient.  May we be receptive to Your Word and obedient in our response.  In the name of Jesus we pray, amen. 

Photo: In yesterday's Creation Festival portapotty photo Brooksyne is fifth from the right (with the blue hat) and I am second from the right (raising my index finger "one way").

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play in your audio player)

"Blow The Trumpet In Zion"  

"Days Of Elijah"  Video  

"To The King"  Audio

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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