The Watchman on the Wall
The watchman on the wall is a venerated archetype of the prophetic servant standing guard outside his community so that he might warn the village of approaching danger. It’s a romantic stereotype that many have embraced, but it may not be the best model for ministry. And if one chooses to live this way, it may actually do them more harm than good.
One problem is the idea that the prophet ought to remain outside his village. I’ve come to know prophets who have found themselves isolated from fellowship with other believers. The usual explanation is that others have shunned the truths they speak in favor of believing lies. Many prophets truly believe it’s only their revelation that has caused them to be rejected, and not their presumption, their pride or need to control others. So they live as outcasts of God’s household, in the manner that legend says men of God did long ago—as watchmen on the walls at the edges of their communities.
In the past, I’ve felt it was enough to speak what God revealed without compromising the message. If people ignored the message, it wasn’t the prophet’s problem. There is some truth to this because people must have ears to hear the message. You can’t force anyone to receive revelation. But if a prophet is to have an effective ministry, it’s not enough to merely speak what God reveals. The prophet’s audience must also receive and act upon his words. Otherwise, his ministry bears no fruit.
But lately, I’ve come to realize that the harder part of prophetic ministry is developing relationships within a community where people are willing to listen to us. If a group is initially resistant to a prophet’s message, he can help them become more receptive. But that takes time, and it requires trust. It’s not an easy task—especially if the prophet views the community as being sinful. Living with and loving sinners requires a higher level of spiritual maturity.
We might also consider the possibility that the prophet has been emotionally wounded by rejection. I don’t know anyone (myself included) who hasn’t. It might seem like a cross we need to bear, but the Bible says Jesus bore our griefs and sorrows on the cross. And if He bore them for us, there’s no reason for us to carry them any longer. He paid the price to bear our emotional trauma and we need to let Him heal our emotional wounds. Emotional healing allows us to live in peace with others.
I wonder if it’s possible to be a watchman in the home, or a watchman in the university, or even a watchman in the workplace. I wonder if God could use us to watch for danger where our influence is organic and our message is more likely to be received and acted upon. If, as John Maxwell says, leadership is a matter of influence, then maybe there’s room for watchmen in places other than out in the cold at the edges of civilization, where no one can hear them.
Jesus was the quintessential prophet. His message was received by sinners more warmly than by any other group. They loved Him, they heard His message and they acted upon it because they knew how much He loved them. The love of God caused them to repent. And His love was not just a matter of words, as is true for many of us today. It was demonstrated by acts of service. If a prophet is going to be used by the Lord in a community, he must make himself (or herself) a part of that community. That requires a heart that loves and serves others right where they are at—sin and all.
Good true word, now how can I forward it to a couple people without them having to come down off the wall an beat me with there shofar?! lol
Bribe them with coffee and chocolate?
You could certainly try after you have loved on them.
Some good thoughts here, but there is another side of the equation. There has been some very twisted ideas perpetuated by religion where no matter how in relationship someone is, it is not just rejection of the gift but the one who has the gift is banished so there will be no chance of there being more of that in their church again. Then no one is to associate with you. I know several gifted prophets that lost their friends and community after years of being a part of the church and then finally obeying and letting God speak through them. Bad teaching and unbalanced leadership models in modern churches have a lot to do with this problem existing in modern times.
So many are now not in any church at all. They live outside of the church community to have a chance of being able to be obedient to God. Their voice has been forced out of helping the people that say they love God.
So how do we as God’s people learn to work in leadership and community with this gift if leaders are not allowing it as part of the leadership model?
I agree with your thoughts, but I also agree with Julie, as I have seen his happen n the congregation where I used to attend. One of their Pastors had been giving tongues and interpretations were coming forth. One Sunday on the midst of this the lead Pastors wife, also a Pastor. who does have a prophetic gift, got on the platform, waved her hand across the congregation and declared emphatically, “We’ll have no more of this!!” WOW!! On reflection, I believe that was the day the prophetic died…I left several years later. I have a friend who still attends, she is a Pastor, and she attests that it is dead there…No prophetic voice…they have run off many prophets! I believe jealousy is at the heart…so it can be difficult…I am one who Was run off!
I agree. Jesus’ greatest critics were from within the church. I dare say that just because he didn’t get along with those who claimed to be in the know doesn’t mean that his ministry was fruitless. A prophet acting on a true word of a God is not prideful or arrogant, he or she is obedient – end of story. Our responsibility is to God and His message. How and if someone receives that message isn’t relevant to the task. That is the burden we bear and I, for one, am totally cool with that.
Great word that really spoke to me. I have been that watchmen who was rejected and been isolated. It wasn’t until a great pastor of much wisdom help me realize the importance of lovingpeople and being I relationship with othe. It developed into a beautiful growth in my life and brought many great relationships that still bear fruit!
Well done. With few exceptions it is through relationship we are given a “voice that can be heard “. Blessings – B. Whitmore-Parks
While I wholeheartedly agree with what you’ve written, I can only imagine what kind of hornet’s nest this could stir up with some of those very watchman. I’ve know several while walking with the Lord and almost everyone of them dealt with rejection, arrogance and pride. They were (are) wonderful people and true prophets but their focus, almost everyone, became skewed. I believe it was because of hurt and lack of community. Many even began to turn their focus from looking for evil that may be coming into the ‘city’, to looking for sin, perceived or not on the very people they were supposed to be warning. It’s an ugly thing indeed when the prophetic gets twisted. And get twisted it will, every time without community.
I too question the model, as I find many of those who use the “watchman” title seem to have an OC view of things with a dispensationalist bent. They seem to be in defensive mode and their filter is things are getting worse so we hunker down and prepare to defend the walls.
I believe NC view is offensive in understanding what enemy is doing and taking the battle to them. Taking territory, destroying the works of the evil one and bringing the Kingdom everywhere.
So I tend to avoid those “watchmen/prophets” that see doom and gloom and living a defend till Jesus comes life.
This is a topic close to my heart. Some interesting perspectives here, some truth, & also much, much left unsaid. I agree there are many walls watchman watch from, within the community, home and church etc. My husband seems to be like a last sentinel standing on perimeters before the gates of hell pointing people back with a ” you’re going the wrong direction”; he typically speaks to people in the gym, hockey, etc. & people gravitate to him.
A prophetess I know dreamt of many in the congregation in their appointed positions years ago, my husband & myself included; I was seen in her dream as a watchman on the wall. God spoke of it to me also, before further public confirming came. One of the interesting dreams I had since was coming in from my watch on the wall to the camp/cabin? of the church, where I took to my bunk to rest,( that was directly behind where the pastor was sitting discussing strategy with others). As I listened & watched resting on my bunk, I gained a fair bit of strategy for people’s lives “inside the family” as well, which were later confirmed in the natural. The dream showed I was both out and in. (It seems anymore I’m being called to watch outside the walls as much as on & within.)
Still, that hasn’t kept me from the usual long, difficult and painful journey of maturing in the function. As well, I have found that perspectives of roles and their functions, how they operate, is a major factor of the five equipping gifts (to the church) learning to operate together complementary vs conflicts. Since pastors and prophets & often prophets & apostles, need to work closely in understanding for effective equipping in the immediate local church, there needs to be a great deal of security and maturity for that to occur.
As well, every equipper is also personally growing in their maturity as a person, in function and understanding and of the others and how that looks and what it creates etc. This creates a natural tension that can be for better or worse. Add a malicious enemy into the mix who’d like to tear everyone apart and …If a person isn’t yet recognized in their function, by pastors apostles etc, their messages can come across as a troublesome person who interferes, criticizes etc. that’s the importance of identifying people’s functions as early as possible I feel. Saves early damage that can cause defensiveness etc out of hurts & misinterpretations of their motives.
I think insecurity and defensiveness are a big part on either side, people who want to speak a message & the people who need to hear & test it. I find these lone rangers I hear of to be elusive~ in fact, I’ve never met one yet, tho they may exist. I have however, met a lot of misunderstood people, who want nothing more than to function in relationship & acceptance, to be taken seriously without the other junk.
Love & seeking to understand each other as first priorities would go a very long way in communicating. Prophetic people can be some of the most misunderstood & unfairly judged. One of the hardest & most needful things can be staying when you’d almost rather leave to avoid conflict & pain, & others indicating in some fashion they’d be just as happy if you did so as not to rock the boat or challenge thinking etc. the fact remains, He gave 5 not 4 and we all are doing the best we can in our current understanding & maturity. Watchman was a previous word for prophet, tho many who devote themselves to prayer & prophetic gifts can function in a watch mode also. While mistakes are made, & offenses may come, genuine agape love is the solution in the big picture.
Normally I wouldn’t comment but since it was your post, & I call you friend… It felt safe enough.
Very good. As I read this thoughts came to mind of a time several of my friends are going through where some are calling themselves “watchmen” yet it is causing descension in our group, as several have not been as transparent as we should have been.
For several months God would show me things two months before it accured. It was interesting to watch as I confided only in one person during these times just saying it with no real regard as it didn’t seem important at the time. Yet when it came to pass this person would remind me of it and most of it was what we are going through now.
It’s an interesting journey and when we listen to His heartbeat we can not go wrong.
Powerful and needed. The world is crying out for leadership.The mainstream Christians are too caught up in material prosperity and not the wise battle that needs to take place. Training is needed for the”seasoned” Christian to be able to lead and do the work that is needed today.
There are prophets who are in remote areas and it’s true, no one is hearing them. Social media is prime example of how to get the prophets message out.
This is a different world and the enemy has reared it’s dangerous head in a way that a lot feel is unfathomable .I pray that God’s children who he speaks of in 2 Timothy 2: 19, will heed the call . Obedience is better than sacrifice!
I read all of the responses and can’t help but realize that I am not mature in my walk with God to even respond. I just left the Catholic Church, after 20:years. God has had His hand on me for years. Now I am out and in a small protestant church.
It appears that God is moving my new church into a new direction. The denomination is Congregational, but we praise and worship like a Pentecostal/ Baptist church. What drew me to this church was the music and the fact that you are given a Bible at the door.
God has told ne himself that He is my best teacher. Daily He gives me what He wants me to study. Then He directs me to be individuals who He wants me to speak and listen to.
I am in awe of God and His Wisdom. Through Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I have been made whole. He Gives me words to write, post.
There is a reason God directed me to this s site, as I would have never just turned to this.
I am humbly grateful to God for entrusting me with His instructions. So as I said, I will keep listening and discerning so I will know what He wants me to do.
I have been rejected by many and even in this church I know I am an outsider. What ever God wants me to do, He knows that I am obedient.
I have finished reading your book, A Kingdom View of Economic Collapse. I truly appreciated the depth of explanations toward the financial crisis of the world at large. I found your writings to be comforting in nature. My pastor has delivered a series of sermons on the coming economic crisis and collapse, but he has not given a plan of how to prepare for it other than to show the congregation the films by Jonathan Cahn. While I understand my pastor feels compelled to warn people, I also feel as compelled to remind people God is still in control. He has not left the throne and just as He provided for the children of Israel; He will provide for His church now and during the coming crisis. Yes, we need to be aware of the coming crisis, but do not focus on it to the point of paralysis; be prepared not scared.
I noticed on your site that you have referenced John Paul Jackson. Is this the same John Paul Jackson of Streams Ministries? I am currently taking on line his course, The Art of Hearing God. I wish I could have attended his teaching before he passed; however, I believe in appointed times for all things-there is a reason and a purpose. Non the less, I am enjoying the class and learning so much. The section on the Dark Night of the Soul really helped me to understand what I have been going through for the passed two years. I now realize God is maturing me for the calling He has placed on my life. To God be the Glory!
Thank you for your writings and for being obedient to God’s instruction.
Thanks Vickie. Yes, John Paul Jackson of Streams is the one I referred to in the book. He has (or had) some good resources on his website to help people prepare.
I am working on hearing God more quickly and obeying quickly. I came to your site to learn more about hearing and seeing. I have been given words that I am a prophet from at least three prophets. One said that I just knew things and I would get aggravated because others didn’t see what I saw. (That is true.) but he also said I had not used the gift like I should. No church has been even friendly enough for me to say anything – especially when they find out I have been obedient to do what Jesus said to do: heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead. (A grand daughter was brain dead over three days. I stood on a scripture (Ps.118:17) and asked God to let her live. I heard him say, She would live.’ I knew If I did not doubt she would have to live. Everyone thought I was crazy – family, doctors, nurses, even preachers who came to the hospital.) She walked out of the hospital the 4th day. When my mother died at 98, I walked over to the casket and everything got quiet – I didn’t feel led to pray her back, but evidently they thought I would. I told a friend, I probably would not be invited to funerals anymore. Everyone has been afraid of anything that is different than just going to church. I listen to much preaching on line from Kenneth Hagin and Derek Prince to the modern preachers (Praying Medic, Henry Gruver, Bruce Allen, Ian Clayton, Kim Clement, Kat Kerr, Billye Brimm, etc.). One time about two years ago, I visited a church and when I started to shake the preacher’s wife’s hand, she jerked it back. She did not even know me. Then I ran into the same woman later at another small church as we stood in a circle praying. I glanced up and saw her glaring at me with hate in her eyes. This time I prayed and asked the Lord why she was jealous of me. After all I am a great-grandmother (18 Greats). The Lord told me she had a strong Jezebel spirit, which recognized my prophetic spirit. Like Henry Gruver says, we can’t take these things personally. It is spirit against spirit. Thank the Lord, I have the Holy Spirit in me. (The Lord even sent an angel to kick-start my heart after warning me to say Ps.118:17 over my self. My heart stopped while I was babysitting six great-grandchildren. That will make a heart stop!!) Fasting, praying, lots of worship, staying immersed in the Word and obeying it always builds enough faith for anything. All we have to do is speak the Word: Ps. 103:20 says Angels hearken to the Voice of God’s Word. We must be the Voice.