Week of January 16, 2023 - January 22, 2023
Watchmen on the Walls – Man as Defender

"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth." - Isaiah 62:6-7 ESV

In the U.S. Army, we have a 60-page manual related to Guard Duty. In that manual, a guard is described as: “An individual responsible to keep watch over, protect, shield, defend, warn, or other duties prescribed by general orders and special orders. Also referred to as a sentry, or lookout.” As you might imagine, I pulled my share of guard duty assignments and made such assignments for the men under my command. It is a vital task. Without vigilant guards and sentries, the entire force is exposed to potential attack and defeat.

In ancient Israel, the watchman was the closest equivalent to a modern-day soldier on guard duty. The primary job of these watchmen was to keep a lookout for any enemies approaching, but they also watched for messengers bearing good news or for means of deliverance. The watchmen were to report what they saw in order to sound the alarm or sound a word of encouragement. Being vigilant was a critical part of their job: no sleeping on the job was allowed. And their watch was to be continuous; watchmen were to be at their post “day and night.” And when they saw anyone approaching, they were to announce it so that everyone would be informed and, if need be, mobilized.

The role of the watchmen in ancient Israel easily applies to the role of the pastors and spiritual leaders today. That’s why we call our network of pastors “Watchmen on the Wall.” These verses are our biblical foundation. Since FRC President Tony Perkins started our ministry to pastors and churches 20 years ago, FRC has been calling pastors to take their place as spiritual “watchmen” on the walls of our nation. Yet, this role also applies to all men in our role as Defenders. Notice that God says: “I have set watchmen.” Serving as a Defender is a divine assignment. The responsibility of spiritual leadership is a God-given task. We are to function as a watchman over our family, battle buddies, churches, and communities. Four basic parts to this task come from this text in Isaiah:

First, it is imperative for spiritual leaders to watch vigilantly. Spiritual leaders watch what is going on in the culture around them, scanning the horizon and looking for threats. They get informed and stay up to date on what is happening.

Second, spiritual leaders must pray continually. Notice the ministry of prayerful intercession patterned in these verses. You watch for threats, and then you take them to the Lord. Like King Hezekiah, who took the written threats from the Assyrians to the temple, spread them out in the Lord’s presence, and said, “Lord, look, this is what we’re up against, we need your help and deliverance.” This intercession is to be continual. Pray day and night. Give God no rest until He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The apostle Paul said: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Bombard the throne of God, praying for God’s mercy, deliverance, and wisdom to engage the threats and challenges, biblically, courageously, and winsomely.

Third, spiritual leaders need to speak urgently. Verse 6 says watchmen are never to be silent. That means we are to sound the alarm with urgency and keep on sounding it. Not only to give a warning, but to give marching orders and action steps to rally and mobilize those in our charge to take on the challenges with the help of God.

Finally, spiritual leaders are to work cooperatively. Notice that God is placing “watchmen” on the walls. That’s a plurality of spiritual leaders. Not just a single, solitary sentry but many watchmen. Jerusalem was a large city with a defensive wall surrounding it, and a number of watchmen were placed strategically along that massive wall to look out from their assigned post, and they were to work in concert. If one saw the threat, he was to spread the word to the others so that all could sound the alarm with a united message to mobilize the city.

We’re calling spiritual leaders to do the same today. Every man needs a battle buddy for taking on the common challenges facing our communities and nation. We must lock arms with one another, pray with and for one another, and work cooperatively to mobilize our families and churches to rally to the standard of righteousness and take our stand. Will you take your post as a watchman?

  • As a spiritual watchman over your family, are you staying informed and sounding the alarm about the threats that come your way? Subscribe to The Washington Stand for a daily download of truth about current affairs from a biblical perspective.
  • Have you developed a working relationship with a battle buddy who can tag-team with you on keeping watch on threats in your community? Encourage your pastor to become a “Watchman on the Wall” and join our Association of Churches.
  • Ask the Lord for spiritual discernment to detect the enemy’s movements and for the wisdom and courage to defend against them as a “watchman.”