Courage to Keep Watch

       It is easy to get caught up in our lives and our circumstances.  The faster our lives seem to go and the busier we get; it becomes almost impossible not to be so caught up in the here and now. The more we get caught up in the here and now, the easier it becomes to lose track of the important because the urgent immediate creeps in to take over and manipulate how our time is spent. Next thing we know, the tyranny of urgent has hi-jacked the majority of our time. We become exhausted and when we have a few minutes we crave a release often in the form of mindless entertainment just so we can relax. Ok, maybe this doesn’t describe you but it has described me at times. The pressure sometimes just seems too much and I need a time out; a pressure release valve; some chill time just to rest and that is ok. Child of God we were created by God in His master plan to need rest.(the need for rest, that is) That is why He created the Sabbath. It was created for us, not us for the Sabbath. We need to rest! We also need for find our rest in Him.

       During December 2013, I began to seek God for a verse for the upcoming year. It had been a busy and tiring year and I was looking forward to what the new year might hold and hoping for a change of pace. Maybe time would slow down a bit and there would be more time enjoy life. As December came to a close, my attention was drawn to Habakkuk, chapter 2, verse 1:

        “I will stand at my watch post; I will remain stationed on the city wall. I will keep watching, so I can see what he says to me and can know how I should answer when he counters my argument.”

     I sensed this was the verse that the Lord had chosen for me and so it became part of my morning routine. Did I truly understand what it meant, not at all. I know a watchman is one who is posted as a guard to watch and warn if an enemy approaches the camp or comes against a walled city in this case. They are to be alert and well-informed about the events happening outside the community; especially those things that pose a threat.  Each morning before I prayed I would write this verse out as a reminder to keep watch. Keep alert. It was my reminder to keep awake and informed about what was going on outside my “little” world and to also dig into the Word for deeper understanding.  It only took going beyond that first verse to get a bit of understanding. Let’s look at the next section of that chapter.   

        The Lord answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late. Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith. Moreover, wine betrays; an arrogant man is never at rest. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and like Death he is never satisfied. He gathers all the nations to himself; he collects all the peoples for himself. (Habakkuk 2:2-5 HCSB) 

     Habakkuk was a prophet. He was to station himself in a position to hear from God and proclaim God’s messages to the people. A Watchman on the wall.  Often times the prophets were presenting warning to God’s people. In Habakkuk’s case, his assignment was to write God’s vision; trust God’s word; and to speak His judgement. Interestingly, many prophecies have not only an immediate purpose but also a secondary applications to be revealed in the later days and times. This one clearly says it is yet for an appointed time. Is it possible that it is speaking to people living today? Maybe. More and more I am seeing references to the last days and not just in Christian circles. Is it possible we are living in those days as I type? Absolutely it is possible because with God all things are possible. Is it likely? Only He knows for sure how close it may be!  I can also tell you that Jesus tell us to keep watch and to know the signs of the time of His coming. We are also told that as in the days of Noah, people will continue eating and drinking; they will be so engaged in their day-to-day lives that when that day comes they will not recognize it until it had passed. Jesus also says no man, only the Father knows the day and time of Jesus’ return yet He clearly outlines the signs leading up to that day. I would advise you to be very cautions of anyone who sets dates, however we can know what to watch out for.  We can be diligent in our watchfulness, our preparation and how we live out our lives each day. We can know how to ready our hearts and live our lives so that we are not caught off guard and ill-prepared should His return be closer that we think. 

     Habakkuk 2 continues and talks about five woes to avoid in our behavior.  Isaiah chapter 5 also is a good list of things God would have us avoid in our lives; mistakes that Israel made that sent them in captivity and things we see all around us even today. (covetousness, drunkenness, deception, carelessness, injustice, pride; good being call evil and evil being considered good)  If you’re looking for signs of the time in which Jesus will come back, a great jumping off place is Matthew 24. In His own words He tells you what those days will look like.  He continues in chapter 25 as he speaks of those prepared when the bridegroom arrives and those who are not; of the faithful servants; the one caught wanting; and finally of how the world will be judged. Many fear reading and studying such scriptures as Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel that speak of end days; others don’t believe they are true. Fear is from the enemy of your soul and further, it leaves us unaware and unprepared.  Beloved, we do ourselves a great favor by knowing the Word. God is the author of faith, not fear! When we know the Word, we can be prepared. We can judge ourselves and correct our course. We can be like the five bridesmaids that continued to watch, wait and never ran out of oil for their lamps rather than the five that were left outside of the banquet because they ran out of oil and weren’t waiting when the groom arrived.  

      My prayer is that we be watchful, prepared, and purposed to show others to be watchful and prepared because no man knows the time or hour of Christ’s return but we can all know the signs and the things which lead to the season of His return! Let us not be slumbering bridesmaids; let us be the fully awake and fully prepared Bride of Christ, eagerly awaiting the time of His arrival! Whether Jesus comes soon or whether He tarries we will be ready if we are informed and keep watch. Moreover, if we are His, there is nothing to fear and much to gain…  weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes, and oh what JOY! 

May Grace, Peace and Joy be yours!