"W" Words Of Wisdom
"Watchman, What Of The Night?"
"Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" (Isaiah 21:11) Since I first began thinking about all the "W" Words Of Wisdom, these questions have echoed through my mind. Towns in Bible days were built with surrounding walls as a safety precaution and the watchman held his post high up on the wall. A good example is found when David waited for the news of the war against his own son, Absalom. "And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone. And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near." (II Samuel 18:24-25) King David was told the news that his son had been slain in the battle. The best example of a watchman that is prevalent for us today is found in Ezekiel 33:1-9.
"1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
As we watch the news of the fighting and follow the devastation of the earthquakes and hurricanes we might soon hear the world calling out, "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" How might we answer? We hear of "wars and rumours of wars." (Matthew 24:6) "Watchman, what of the night?" "And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Luke 21:11) "Watchman, what of the night?" "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (II Timothy 3:2-5) We have been set as watchmen upon the wall, to warn the world of the coming judgment of the Lord. Are we doing our duty? Will the blood of our family and friends be on our hands?
Willing But Weary
Pastor Jack Tripp preached a sermon recently and part of it was about being willing, but weary. I would really like to use the entire 30th chapter of I Samuel, but to save space I will tell the story. When David and his men were away from their homes in Ziklag the Amalekites invaded and burned Ziklag and did not kill their families but carried them away as captives.
"4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
5 And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." (I Samuel 30:4-6)
David and the 600 men pursued after them and when they came to the brook Besor, 200 were so faint that they could not go over the brook. They found an Egyptian servant in the field who had been left behind by the Amalekites and gave him food and water and he told them how to find the people. David and the 400 with him recovered all their wives and children and flocks and herds and spoil that had been taken. When they got back to the brook Besor the wicked men of the group did not want to share their spoil with the faint men that had been left behind.
"23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.
24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.
25 And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.
26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;" (I Samuel 30:23-26)
David sent of the spoil to Bethel, Ramoth, Hebron, "and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt." (I Samuel 30:31) Today I want to encourage you who are too weary to fight the battle. Be faithful and remain by the stuff! God will reward you for your faithfulness!
Today I want to look at the little book of prophecy of Haggai. God sent him to call the Children of Israel to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. I want to focus on Haggai 1:5-6. "Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes." Our "W" words for today are "Wasted Wages". The people were neglecting the house of the Lord and all of their efforts towards living were in vain.
"7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit." (Haggai 1:7-10)
I know that this was a specific message for the Children of Israel, but I want us to think about wasted wages. Does it ever feel like you are putting your money into a bag with holes in it? There are many times that we live paycheck to paycheck, stretching every dollar to make ends meet. Are we putting too much of our money into areas that don't matter? Jesus told His followers to lay up treasures in heaven.
"19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
Look at another Old Testament prophecy, found in Malachi 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." I believe God's Word teaches us to put His work first in our lives and He will supply our needs and the reward for our labor will follow. "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (Matthew 16:27) Don't put your wages into a bag with holes.
Noah Worked As God Commanded
Last spring Michael, Mom, and I had a short trip planned to see the Noah's Ark exhibit in Kentucky. Well, Michael broke his hand and then our car was totaled in a wreck, so we cancelled our plans and did not get to go. I think it would be really interesting to see how massive the ark really was. For a youth activity one time we had the young people to measure our fellowship hall and mark it out on graph paper. Then they converted cubits to feet and graphed out the size of the ark. We were all surprised to see how much larger the ark was than our building. I have often wondered how long it must have taken for Noah to build the ark. He didn't have the tools, man power, and conveniences that construction crews have today. We read in Genesis 6:3, "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." I believe that this is God's timeline, 120 years, for Noah to get the ark built, the animals gathered, and all the food and supplies they would need to sustain them for a year. The sixth chapter of Genesis gives us the dimensions and specifications of the ark. And verse 22 ends the chapter, "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." Noah worked hard to prepare the ark, and then God saved him. In the New Testament Jesus did according to God's will to prepare for our salvation. We can't work for our salvation. Jesus did the work for us and saves us through faith by His mercy and grace. But we must believe on Him and confess our sin. Just as God instructed Noah to work in building the ark, Jesus has given us instructions to work in His fields.
"35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (Matthew 9:35-38)
Noah Waited On God
Because Noah was faithful to walk with God, witness for God, and do the work God commanded, he and his family were safe in the ark when the rain fell. I have mentioned before how sad it must have been for Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives as they faced the fact that no one else believed in Noah or his God. Noah had brothers and sisters. (Genesis 5:30) Noah had aunts and uncles and cousins. (Genesis 5:26) These people lived hundreds of years, and some of his ancestors may have known Adam and Eve. Okay, back to our lesson... Noah and his immediate family had prepared what they needed and the windows of heaven were opened.
"13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in." (Genesis 7:13-16)
"The LORD shut him in" so there was nowhere for Noah to go, so he waited. His family waited. The animals waited. They took care of each other, and they took care of the animals, and they waited out the storm. We all go through storms from time to time and sometimes God delivers us from the storms. But there are some storms that come into our lives when all we can do is wait out the storm. We can pray. We can try to encourage ourselves in the Lord. But, sometimes we just have to wait on the Lord. One of my favorite Psalms is 27:14 "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Waiting is hard, but sometimes all we can do is wait on the Lord.
Noah Worshipped God
Have you ever experienced sea sickness? I have. I am also a little claustrophobic. I can't imagine being closed in the ark with all those animals for almost a year.
"15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.
17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:
19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:15-22)
Noah worshipped. After receiving salvation from God above, he worshipped. Before closing, I want to look at how the next chapter begins. "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea;..." (Genesis 9:1-2) I believe that all the animals on the ark ran just as far from Noah as they could. I don't know if animals were afraid of mankind before the flood, but after all the time on the ark they sure were afraid of them now. Hebrews 11:7 tells us that Noah was afraid before the flood. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." But, when it was all over, he worshipped. When you are afraid of the storm, keep trusting the Lord, and worship Him.
A Warm Welcome
Michael and I have been going to Pine Grove Baptist Church in Archdale, NC for 30 years. I know that because our son, Joshua, just had his thirtieth birthday and the sweet people at the church gave us a baby shower, way back then. Over the years we have grown to love the people there like family. Tomorrow is the Lord's day and I want to encourage you to go to church and worship the Lord. I also want to give a little reminder to you who are church members to give a warm welcome to visitors who may want to try your church. I read an article about why people don't visit a church more than once and one of the common answers was that the people were not friendly. Well, I don't think anybody could say that about our church. The people are very friendly, to each other, and to visitors. If you don't have a home church, and you live in the High Point area of central North Carolina, we would love for you to come for a visit. It would be a joy to have you come and we will be sure to give you a warm welcome. "For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;" (I Thessalonians 3:9)