Currently my family is ministering among an unreached people group in the 10/40 Window. At the present time, because we have just moved here, our ministry is pretty basic: Getting the language down so that we can communicate the good news of Jesus!
But before we moved here, someone introduced me to the concept of the Isaiah Watchman. This is a ministry that anyone can have to an unreached people group… whether you are living in the country or not… whether you know the language or not. So before we left our home country, we started several Watchmen prayer groups where anywhere from 2 to 20 people come together monthly to pray for the advance of the gospel. These intercessors are our “Isaiah watchmen.” Let me explain…
Two kinds of watchmen in the Bible
In the Old Testament, both Ezekiel and Isaiah talk about being a “watchman”, but they use the terms in two very different ways:
Let’s look first of all at the Ezekiel Watchman. In Chapter 3, God is commissioning Ezekiel as a prophet and he says this in Ezekiel 3:16-19
…the word of the LORD came to me: “ Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’, and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. but if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”
An Ezekiel watchman, then, is someone who is appointed by God to proclaim a message of salvation to the wicked. It is a warning message, “You shall surely die!” It is an announcement both of the tremendous predicament we all find ourselves in because of our wickedness, (we are facing the death sentence). But it is also an announcement of salvation. Verse 18 says that the warning is given to bring the wicked to repentance in order “to save his life”!
So the ministry of the Ezekiel watchman is a ministry of proclamation.
This is a responsibility that all of us have, not just those of us who live among unreached peoples. We are to proclaim the gospel that all men are facing the wrath of God for their sin but that because of Jesus, when they come to God in repentance, they will be saved from God’s wrath.
All of us can be Ezekiel watchmen, warning the lost people around us and sharing with them the good news of Salvation. Everyday we come in contact with people who need an Ezekiel watchman in their lives.
But the ministry of the Isaiah watchman provides a way for those who may not live among unreached peoples to play a major role in reaching them with the Gospel. This role is described in Isaiah 62:6-7
6 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,
7 and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.
What do these watchmen in Isaiah have in common with the watchman of Ezekiel 3? First of all, they are also chosen by God. God says, “I have set watchmen on your walls o Jerusalem.” God put them there. He gave them this responsibility. And also, like the watchmen in Ezekiel, the Isaiah watchmen are speaking. It says… “they shall never be silent”. But here is where the two watchmen begin to be distinguished. In Ezekiel, the watchman speaks to the people, to the wicked. He gives a warning.
But in Isaiah, the watchman speaks NOT to the people, but to GOD. They are speaking to God! Isn’t that what we usually teach our children as a definition of prayer? Prayer is speaking to God.
So God says here that he has established watchmen who will speak to him in prayer. As I am preparing to be an Ezekiel Watchmen among the unreached people where I am living, it encourages me immensely to think that God is taking the initiative to establish for this people Isaiah watchmen who will pray that God’s Kingdom will be established here.
But it gets even better when you consider what God establishes these Isaiah watchmen to do! I’ll talk about that tomorrow.