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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
World War 2 Watch Tower on Cape Henlopen, Delaware
"The Blessing Of The Watchman"
"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). "To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it....I appointed watchmen over you and said, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But you said, 'We will not listen'" (Jeremiah 6:10,17).
Along the Delaware shore there is an interesting historical feature. Eleven large concrete watchtowers still stand that were used during World War II to protect the Delaware Bay and the vital industries up in the bay, including the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. From these towers watchmen scanned the sea for German submarines while large artillery was available to provide defenses.
These watchmen had a very important role. The Germans were sinking an average of one ship per week along the coast. There were four huge guns located at Fort Miles, which is located in the Cape Henlopen State Park near Lewes, Delaware. Two of the guns had a 16" wide barrel and could shoot a 2,700 pound shell about 25 miles. The "spotters", as the watchmen were called, used a telephone to advise the artillery gunners as they targeted enemy ships. These towers remind us of a perilous time in our nation's history and the many ways people were involved in the war effort. Can you imagine if those within our own country had tried to hinder their efforts! Of course that would be treason.
The Scripture uses the term "watchman" to describe a vital spiritual role. "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). Ezekiel was called to be a watchman for the house of Israel, to hear God's Word and to give His people warning.
Today true servants of God still have a watchman role. Yet a strategy of the "progressives" who are bent on reshaping America and rejecting God's ancient laws is to present these spiritual watchmen and their message as hateful. On the short-term this strategy appears to be working. Many have been silenced and those who do speak increasingly face ridicule and persecution.
This strategy is amazing and indicates the growing spiritual blindness in our land. Two issues are at the very forefront in the current "culture war"; the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. Both strike at the very foundation of God's design for the human race established in the earliest chapters of Genesis.
Today I especially consider sexual morals and marriage in regard to this point. For thousands of years marriage was recognized as a union between a man and a woman. That is what our parents, grandparents and ancestors believed. In fact any other understanding would have been unimaginable to them and even to many my age and older just a few years ago. In recent years the homosexual movement has demanded redefinition of marriage and in many states is succeeding with the goal of completely redefining the institution ordained by God nationwide and worldwide. Those standing for traditional marriage are blasted as hateful people or bigots.
I have an old Study Bible written long before these things were even imagined that makes this stunning point in a comment on Romans 1: "Any nation that justifies homosexuality or lesbianism as an acceptable lifestyle is in the final stages of moral corruption"* Now that is a sobering thought.
Our second daily text speaks so powerfully to the watchman of our age. It was written during the final stages of Judah prior to the Babylonian captivity. Jeremiah was fulfilling his role as a faithful watchman in his time. "To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it" (Jeremiah 6:10).
1) "To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear." Jeremiah served in one of the darkest periods of human history. God's judgment was imminent upon His apostate nation. Jeremiah, although maintaining his faith, also presents honest despair. We may have to fight off despair as we see the rebellion against God intensify.
2) "The word of the LORD is offensive to them." Isn't that the case of most in our society? The message and the messenger are a source of offense. Attempts are made to ridicule and silence these voices but the faithful watchman must continue to speak out: "We must obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29). "On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent" (Isaiah 62:6).
3) "They find no pleasure in it" (the Word of the Lord). Contrast this with the earnest believer and follower of Christ who can proclaim with the Psalmist, "I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8) and "I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word" (Psalm 119:16). A longer passage that expresses this is Psalm 19:7-14.
I want to you to stand as a watchman today, whether you're a faithful minister or a faithful layperson; men and women who stand up unashamed for Biblical truth, "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) against the sweeping tide of unbelief and rebellion against God.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, as we review the passages in Jeremiah 6 we read of the pending disaster that was soon to be inflicted on Jerusalem and its impenitent people. But you raised up Jeremiah as a faithful prophet who called them to repentance. If the people would only turn to You they would be saved. Yet they refused to listen and judgment was imminent. It's such a stark reminder that our nation is going down the same road. Though messengers of the inerrant Scriptures warn of pending judgment people refuse to listen. They prefer to listen to those who teach a false message of "peace, peace when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14). What we know is that we must continue to preach truth as presented in Scripture even when people say, "We will not listen." Our message must not change due to current opinion polls and we must live that which we preach. We cannot change our message to bring it into conformity with the moral teaching or lifestyle of those with whom we seek favor. Scriptural teaching is not just for a lab discussion or seminary setting; it is to be lived out in our daily lives even in the midst of the hostile society in which we live. Help us to be faithful watchmen during our watch in this brief journey in which we sojourn here below. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
* Full Life Study Bible note (page 1709)
Last night I was discussing this message with my friend Mike Matangelo and we considered Watchman Nee. "Nee Shu-tsu was exceptionally intelligent. From his entrance into elementary school through his graduation from the Anglican Trinity College in Foochow, he ranked first in his class as well as in his school. With many grand dreams and plans for his future, he could have been a great success in the world. In 1920 at the age of seventeen and after considerable struggle, Nee Shu-tsu was dynamically saved while in high school. At the moment of his salvation, his plans for his future were entirely abandoned. He testified, “From the evening I was saved, I began to live a new life, for the life of the eternal God had entered into me.” Later, when he was called by the Lord to carry out His commission, he adopted the English name Watchman and the Chinese name To-sheng, which means “the sound of a watchman’s rattle,” because he considered himself to be a watchman raised up to sound out a warning call in the dark night. See here for more.
Ester holding Dottie, who turned twelve today, with Tina who's visiting from North Carolina.
Yesterday afternoon we took our out of town guests for a tour through Lancaster County, including a visit with our Amish friends Jesse and Anna Ruth, along with their five children. I wore myself out playing catch with their oldest son Moses, who really, really likes baseball. I told him I would take his dad and little brother to a ballgame for the first time and he is really excited about that! We passed the children's school and saw this lettering on the fence made of bunched up grass. We often see the Amish children playing baseball during recess.
We enjoyed a very full meal last night at Miller's Smorgasbord. The hostess (host) called our name and assigned our seating from this antique car in the lobby!
Next week I will be attending a pastor's briefing in Washington DC along with my pastor John Keefer and my brother Pat Weber, who is a pastor in the Lehigh Valley in eastern PA. The "Watchmen On The Wall" pastor's briefing in Washington DC encourages pastors to be a "watchman pastor", standing up for Biblical values against the tide of evil that is sweeping our land. The conference is so very important due to a sense of urgency regarding the state of our land. This conference will challenge pastors to take a strong, uncompromising stand for Biblical truth.
Our basic commission in this regard is to:
1) Pray for our nation.
2) Preach the Bible without apology.
3) Partner with those who also hold Biblical values.
Pastor friends: I urge you to examine this ministry and join me in being a "Watchman Pastor".
Lay people: Consider sending this message to your pastor with a note asking him to look into this.
What is a Watchman Pastor? The name is from Isaiah 62:6: "I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest." A Watchman Pastor is called to do the following:
* Watch what is going on in the culture.
* Pray for wisdom to engage Biblically, courageously, and winsomely.
* Sound the alarm from the pulpit.
* Take a bold stand with others to defend and advance faith, family, and freedom.
The music at the briefing we be led by Charles Billingsley, a musician I have long enjoyed.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Lord Have Mercy" Video Charles Billingsley
"This Little Child" Video Scott Wesley Brown This song was written in the mid-eighties and maintains a practical prophetical perspective in light of today's topic.
"Faithful Men" Video Twila Paris Note: We referred to Watchman Nee, a faithful watchman. The very first recipients of a daily encouragement in 1996 were Nigel and LaiFong Lee who attended our church in New England. Nigel is a Chinese American and LaiFong is from Malaysia. They met at Princeton. As I recall Nigel was related to Watchman Nee and his favorite musician at that time was Twila Paris. She wrote the following song:
Come and join the reapers
All the kingdom seekers
Laying down your life
To find it in the end
Come and share the harvest
Help to light the darkness
For the Lord is calling
"When I Cry" Video Gaither Vocal Band
Listen to a short sermon by Watchman Lee. Video
Info about the Delaware coastal watch towers
Extremely observant readers may recall that last year we developed another message using the Delaware watch towers as an illustration.
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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