Becoming Watchmen
Part 3

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It would be unconscionable to watch a toddler’s curious and lustful advances toward a hot stove without warning him of the dangers of touching his obsession. Similarly, it would be immoral to silently observe as a child chases his ball into a busy street, oblivious to danger. Even among adults, warnings are necessary and expected. Nobody should be permitted to handle a loaded gun for the first time without being warned of the consequences of mishandling the weapon. Neither should a doctor withhold his warning against ignoring treatment options. Although warnings are not always appreciated in the moment, our society expects responsible citizens to warn those who are being irresponsible. Likewise, we must warn others of the consequences of our continued rebellion to God’s instructions.

So committed are we to protecting others in our society that we place upon ourselves an expectation not only to warn but to intervene, if necessary. Hospitals have sought legal recourse to provide reluctant patients the treatment they need, and guardians have often rushed to intercept children who are headed for danger. Why then would we assume, having been made aware of our nation’s perilous trajectory, that we bear no responsibility to warn others about God’s judgment? We have an obligation, after first ensuring that we ourselves are no longer living in rebellion, to warn others—and if necessary, to intervene in their lives—to protect them from disaster.

If we see calamity approaching but choose to remain silent, then we bear a portion of responsibility for whatever happens:

“When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths” (Eze. 33:3–6).

Likewise, if we see disaster coming, but our warning is not proportional to the threat, then we bear a portion of responsibility for whatever happens. After all, a watchman whose cry is not loud enough to wake the sleeping citizenry would be useless, despite having sounded some form of alarm.

Gentle exhortation to avoid the street is appropriate when a child is content to play in the yard, but a forceful warning is necessary when that same child is running toward the road. Similarly, our time for gentle exhortation in America is past. Our nation is careening along a perilous path, and we are unable to discern how much distance remains before it descends into disaster. Those of us who recognize our predicament must become our nation’s watchmen and fervently sound an alarm.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.