The Messiah in Isaiah
Isaiah 56:10-12 - The Who What Why What of Watchmen
by I Gordon
 ↩ Dogs make excellent watchman. That's why we have the term 'Watch dog'. My next door neighbour's dog is called Lochie. The other night I had to go outside and pull our hose in through the window to try and unblock the kitchen sink. Never mind how it got to that state... that's another story! So Lochie soon spotted someone suspicious (me) outside doing something odd after hours around my home and sounded the alarm... as any half decent watch dog would do! Well... didn't take long before other dogs across the street and in the area heard the alarm and added their voice to the chorus. I soon was being barked at from all direction. In fact it wasn't long before I started feeling like I was doing something wrong! God in this passage calls his leaders a mute dog. A mute dog? A dog that doesn't bark? That's a burglars dream dog! A true watchman will always warn. He will always bark when he sees something not right. Just like my neighbour's dog Lochie!
 ↩ Joseph Harris in Sunday School Times wrote about watchfulness and carelessness giving the following illustration: 'Some day you may visit the interesting and historic French-Canadian city of Quebec. There you will see the Plains of Abraham, where the English forces of General Wolfe won Quebec from the French. When you see the steep ascent that Wolf's men had to make up the face of the great rocky cliffs, you will be amazed that they succeeded. Mere boys should have been able to hold off a force of soldiers from scaling such cliffs and gaining the heights. Yet Wolfe and his men made the ascent and gained the citadel. Why? Because the overconfident defenders became careless and pleasure-loving; and one night, when they were off guard, the enemy saw his opportunity, scaled the heights, and took the city. Quebec fell because its defenders failed to keep watch.'
 ↩ The Greek word used here for 'alert' is gray-gor-yoo'-o which means 'to keep awake, that is, watch (literally or figuratively): - be vigilant, wake, (be) watch (-ful).' It is used 23 times in the KJV and 16 times it is translated 'WATCH'. So again the imagery of the O.T watchmen is being used. The enemy prowls around looking for someone slumbering. So keep your eyes wide open spiritually! Keep alert!
 ↩ I think the illustration I used here in Nehemiah is useful. I used to play a lot of competitive tennis and we'd play teams from different regions. A lot of the times you had not ever met the opponent that you were up against so as you start the hit up before the game you'd be watching pretty closely how they hit particular shots... What was their volley like? Did they show any hesitancy on their backhand? How well did they move around the court? You look for a weakness that you could exploit for your own gain and advantage! Once you found a weakness, you keep plugging away at it - What are you trying to do? You are trying to break their faith and confidence in that area because you can't hit a good shot in tennis or any sport if your head is full of doubts. I know, sounds a tad mean really doesn't it? Would it help if I said he is trying to do the same thing to me? Not really? Ok, let's leave sports and get back to the meaning of this cruel illustration.
What is the enemy trying to do with you? Break your faith and confidence in the Lord. How? Well one way is to keep plugging away at your weakness getting you to repeatedly fail in that area. After a while it's 'Oh Lord, I've done it again.' And pretty soon you start to doubt your position in Him and possibly His love for you. Well, that is what the enemy would like anyway. So be on your guard!
 ↩ Like I mentioned, the enemy loves to exploit our weakest areas. He would like to make the 'gap in the wall' as large as possible so that he can come and go as he pleases. In fact such areas that are constantly exploited by the enemy can become strongholds in our lives where he goes unopposed. They are often areas where we think that there is nothing that can ever be done about them. 'It's just an area that I repeatedly fail in - What can I do?' In the Old Testament there were 'strongholds' that the children of Israel had to overcome. For example, we read that in the days of King David, Zion (Jerusalem) was a strong hold and its inhabitants, the Jebusites, mocked David saying that he would never be able to take it.
2 Samuel 5:6-7 Now the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, and they said to David, " You shall not come in here, but the blind and lame will turn you away "; thinking, "David cannot enter here." Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David.'
Maybe you have an area of weakness that has been turned into a stronghold by the enemy and you too have heard the mocking whisperings saying 'you'll never enter here!' 'You'll never take possession of this. You are so weak!' 'We control this area of your life.' Well, just remember that despite the lies of the enemy, there was a 'nevertheless' in the story of David and there can be one in your life too. Strongholds are established, and broken, in the thoughts and imaginations in our minds. For this reason, and concerning spiritual warfare, the Bible tells us:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses . We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ...'
 ↩ The word translated 'watches' here is shamar. It is sometimes translated 'keeps' and Strong's concordance says it is
'A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.: - beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).'
So thank God that He puts a hedge about you to guard, protect, save and watch over... and He never sleeps! Without that protection we would all be defenceless to the attacks of the enemy. That shouldn't lead to complacency on our part but it does us good to be aware that God has the final say in the works of the enemy and as we see in the book of Job, God does put a 'hedge' around His own to protect them and only allows the enemy to do what God in His sovereignty and omniscience deems right.
Related Series Posts
- Chapter 40: Behold... Here is your God!
- Chapter 42: Behold my Servant
- Isaiah Chapter 43: God will make a way!
- Chapter 45: The Potter, the Clay & the Sovereignty of God
- Chapter 49: The Messiah's Mission
- Isaiah Chapter 50: The Calvary Road
- Isaiah 52 - Wake up you sleepy head
- Isaiah 52:15-53:3 - Start of the greatest passage in the Old Testament
- Isaiah 53:4-6 - The Substitute
- Isaiah 53:7-9 - The Trial, Death & Burial of the Messiah
- Isaiah 53:10 - The Messiah Crushed by the Lord
- Isaiah 53:11 - The Satisfaction of the Saviour
- Isaiah 53:12 - The Shared Inheritance of the Saviour
- Isaiah 55:6-9 - Seek the Lord while He may be found
- Isaiah 55:10-13 - God's Word Shall Not Return Void
- Isaiah 56:10-12 - The Who What Why What of Watchmen
- Isaiah 56:10-12 Part 2 - The Who What Why What of Watchmen
- Isaiah 57:15 - The High & Lofty One Who Inhabits Eternity
- Isaiah 59:14-16 - The trampling of truth and the salvation of God
- Isaiah 59:17-20 - The Redeemer of all Creation
- Isaiah 60:1-6 - Rise and shine in the last days!
- Isaiah 61 - Reasons for Rejoicing
- Isaiah 63 The Holy Spirit - Grieving or Pleasing?
- Isaiah 66:1-2 The Pursuit of Spiritual Lameness