“Son of man, I have made you a watchman …” (Ezekiel 33:16-17).
Adam was given, along with Eve, the gift of dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:28). But it was to Adam specifically that the charge was given to ‘grow’ the garden, to cultivate it; and to ‘guard’ it (2:15). The scope of the entire planet was placed under his auspices, but he was ‘put’ in the garden. That specific locale was the critical key to the universal. The garden controlled the globe. The loss of order in the garden resulted in the loss of dominion over the earth. In the same way today, the home still rules the world.
The word for ‘guard’ (Genesis 2:15) meant to watch! The term does not merely mean ‘to look,’ rather it means to ‘take a position in the interest of another, to protect, to observe, to represent.’ It is used more than 400 times in the Old Testament and comes to carry the idea of intercession – the act of standing between. This is the dimension of intercession that is beyond words, weighted with representative authority. Just the conscious act itself – prayerfully positioning yourself, in obedience to God, coupled with the deliberate and intentional awareness of your obligation for spiritual care – about your family, city, the nation, is an ‘on-duty’ declaration to heaven. It completes a heaven-earth connection. It is a kind of punching-of-the-spiritual-clock as though we were notifying heaven, “I am now watching in God’s behalf, caring about the things that he cares about” – and that is a powerful form on intercession.
A watchman positions himself at some gate or he patrols some perimeter. He may be in a tower or another vantage point. He is between potential danger and the thing or person to be protected and preserved. The power of the watchmen is not in his words or even his own independent action – but in his representative authority, his badge. Many men, husbands and fathers, feel inadequate in praying for their family. They are inadequate – all of us are. The secret to our success, is that in the role of watchman, we ‘represent’ and stand in the office of another, of Christ Himself – and the blessing we seek for our family is not one that originates with us. Nor does it rise out of our righteousness. It derives from the one we represent, for which we are only the messenger. We are allowed to ‘convey’ the blessing.
God, we have left our homes and workplaces, even our churches and especially our cities – unguarded. Unprotected. The enemy is left unchecked. There is no watchmen. Forgive us, and move us to watchful prayer.