Very seldom will you find a soldier who chooses guard duty.
It is a responsible position and an extremely important one. But that will not entice a man to seek it and to prefer it. Without a guard the enemy catches us unawares. In the stillness of the night he would come to infiltrate for later advantage or to kill and destroy weapons and installations. The enemy never comes to do you any good. And when he cannot deceive by a sweet smile, he will try to attack when he can catch you unawares.
Guard duty is important!
The lives of all in camp, the victory in the coming battle and even the outcome of the war itself require a secure guard and demand a vigilant and ever alert guard; The guard sleeping at his post will be court-martialed. He will be held responsible for any damage occurring during his moments wherein he was remiss in his duty. While on guard duty there is no time for tomfoolery and levity. It is a deadly serious business. Even in the training camp with a view to the deadly seriousness on the battlefield and in time of war, it will go hard with that trainee who is negligent while on guard duty. Let him admit one without the password, and it will go hard with him upon discovery of such failure to take his position with the seriousness that it demands. Even the soldiers who guarded so foolishly the tomb of Jesus were in terror, not only because of what they had seen when the angel appeared in heavenly glory but also because the tomb was empty. They knew that they stood in danger of the death penalty. And the silly lie had to be spread to protect them that the disciples stole His body while they slept. And if they were sleeping, how did they know that it was the disciples? But they and the wicked Jews were desperate, and this was the only lie that they could manufacture at the moment. Their fear does underscore the seriousness of being on guard and of not protecting as is required.
But there is danger in guard duty!
Night is the time for sleep. The darkness is conducive to sleep and extra measures of vigilance are necessary for one in good health to remain awake. Sleep is natural at night for the healthy. Watchfulness requires efforts not called for to that measure in the daylight. Guard duty then at night is more difficult than in the daytime and is very, very seldom chosen by the soldier. Then too, there is the matter of the difficulty of seeing the enemy in the dark. He hides in the shadows. You cannot see him, but he sees you. You cannot aim your rifle at him, but he can draw a bead on you. You do not know that he is there, but he knows where you are. You are ever watchful for his approach but do not see the approach. He is ever watchful of you waiting for your unguarded moment or laxity. Who would deliberately choose to be on guard in the midst of the battle and. in the darkness of the night?
The same thing holds true even in peace and in our civilian life; Business establishments, factories, schools, financial institutions and the like have their night watchmen who are on guard in the darkness of the night. And all of the above applies to them as well. They are exposed while the thief is hidden. They often make a clear target for the intruder who cannot be seen.
Because of the fall of man we need such night watchmen and guards. We are in the night of sin and death, and that does not help. What a commentary on man’s spiritual condition that we need watchmen, guards, policemen to walk their beat and private detectives. The need is becoming greater rather than diminishing. There was no need in paradise. There will be no need in the new Jerusalem. Did you not note inRevelation 21 that there is no night there? And that the gates of the city are not shut at all: for there is no night there? There will be no evildoer left on the earth. They will all be in the lake of fire out of which they can never climb. But in between paradise and the new Jerusalem guards and watchmen—even upon the walls of Zion, see Ezekiel 33 —are not only necessary but increasingly necessary. As the population of the earth increases, as man develops. in sin, as the earth becomes smaller, we find that men would rather speak of police duty on foreign soil than to call it war, Man wants to get away from the prediction of God that there will be wars and rumors of wars; and it does not sound so bad—except to the loved ones whose beloved are slain—to call it police duty. But it shows the curse and the development of sin. It also shows that guarding has spread far beyond the mere watching of one man for the safety of his own family and preservation of his own possessions.
And you, who also must be on guard duty?
We live in the night of sin and death which complicates matters and in fact makes it necessary for us to be on guard. As regenerated children of God with the life which is from above within us and surrounded by the enemy that can only seek to destroy us and get the victory over us, are we on guard? We have guard duty that is extremely important. We have a tremendously responsible position in this world. We have something extremely precious to preserve. And as soldiers of the cross of Christ we are also admonished in Scripture to be sober and to watch unto prayer. We are exhorted to be vigilant and not to be drunken with the pleasures and treasures of this world. We are counseled to put on the whole armour of God and to STAND!
But are we as parents on guard? Are our children an easy mark for the heretic and for Satan’s barbs because we are remiss, in our guard duty? Are we asleep and doing that which is natural, sleeping when we should be vigilant? Is the enemy watching us while we are dulled in our senses by gold and silver, houses and land, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, too busy making our hoard of gold and silver, too concerned with social and financial position and standing for ourselves and our children that we have forgotten the battle and that we are on guard duty by a solemn and inescapable call from God Himself?
You read all too often in your newspapers that the children get into the medicine cabinet and swallow a handful of aspirin tablets or some sleeping pills. The child must be rushed to the hospital. All of a sudden the parent realizes that he was not on guard and was not watchful of his child’s physical wellbeing. Anxiety grips the heart as the ambulance screams its way through the slow traffic and the child’s color changes and his condition plainly is changing for the worse. Vows upon vows are made to be more careful from now on, if only the child does not die! Fear and self-reproach seem to dictate more caution in the future.
O, that parents today in the Church of Jesus Christ would be as interested in the spiritual health and safety of their children as they are in their physical wellbeing! Usually they are too busy to try to find out what their children are being taught, where they go and what they do. Or being aware that all is not well, that their children are not only exposed to heresies and open advocating of practices which are far from Christian, they do nothing about it in the hope that their children will not contract the disease.
After all, guard duty is not pleasant, and here one exposes himself to attack! You will lose friends(?) by seeking to shield your children from the lie and evil. Jesus said it. He said that you may lose your closest relatives and be alienated from them. He did not—as the Prince of Peace—promise the peace of which men speak today. He spoke of war and of total war and of guard duty of the most serious sort. Remember the admonition to be sober and to watch (Mark 13:37; I Peter 4:7; I Peter 5:8 etc.), and be not drunk with the pleasures and treasures of this world and with the idea of peace on this earth that cannot be achieved and is only a pipe dream of man. Sober up in the consideration of Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:34 ff., “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth: I come not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father and mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” No, you do not like to hurt the feelings of the one who is misleading and teaching your children the lie and advocating evil practices. You would rather look the other way and enjoy peace. But is that love to God? And is it even love to your children?
Did God not declare at the very dawn of history that He would divide the whole human race into two distinct classes from a spiritual point of view by the work of regeneration? Did he not predict to the devil who was still inside the serpent that His Church would have the victory because He would send The Seed of the Woman to instill hatred of sin in the hearts of His people (the seed of the woman) and that there would be a constant battle through all the ages?
Where is that battle?
Where are the guards in each quarter of this universal battle field? O, they are out looking for peace? Peace with the enemy?!! They have sent their children over to the enemy to be indoctrinated. Do you think that your children are going to become immune by association with the lie? They will not! They will learn to look for peace between the Church and the world. They will absorb the lie. And remember that the lie is most dangerous in its finest points. Satan cannot attack the child of God who is clad with the whole armour of God by using a crow bar. A blunt-edged tool will not work and will put the child of God on guard. But a very thin-edged screw driver that is tapered to razor-edge thickness will be used to pry up the plates of this armour to make it possible presently to come with the blunt and bold form of the lie. Beware! Be on guard. Be sober and WATCH! If you love your children you will be doubly on guard in this day. If you love God more than your children, you will, no matter how dark the night and no matter how many friends(?) are going to take a shot at you for your watchfulness while on this guard duty, you will resist, fight, and reveal the enmity of a life of regeneration against the lie and evil practices.
The same holds true for the churches and their officebearers. The guards have been withdrawn, even though it is yet the night of sin and death, in so many churches. An attitude of friendship is sought against defenders of the lie and the services of men with evil practices are sought for lectures, chapel speeches, “moral” pep talks and the like. The churches either advocate seeking the amusements they in their wickedness produce or look the other way and “see no harm in them” instead of investigating and condemning them in the light of the Word.
Churches are too busy with building projects, with social prestige, with politics (in which they should not meddle) to be on guard for the truth and a righteous walk. To make a name in this life and in this world occupies the time and effort of many a church so that guard duty is out of order and abandoned. Yet God has not changed and His word in Ezekiel 33 is still in force, “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.”
The enemy is still there. And he is still the enemy as bitter and evil as Satan in paradise. He is watching you, even though you have deigned not to watch him. Physically, as far as our standing in this world and even our life is concerned it is dangerous to be on this spiritual guard duty. You will suffer and will be an easy target for the hateful barbs of men and even relatives. But it is far more dangerous to let down your guard. For our God is a consuming fire, and He is not mocked. And your children ARE in danger. They are in more danger today than ever before.
Heed Mark 13:37! “And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.”