“The morning of December 7, 1941, found 353 Japanese airplanes swarming all around Pearl Harbour. Within a couple of hours, America lost 8 big battleships, 6 major airfields, almost all planes, and 2,400 men. That happened at 7:50 AM in what was supposedly a surprised attack. But these are the startling facts:
That morning at 7 AM, while the Japanese warplanes were 137 miles (50 minutes) away, two US soldiers on a small radar station in the Pacific scanned the screen and saw dots and dots appearing, until the whole screen was filled. These soldiers notified their youthful supervisor, a lieutenant. No other officer was around, that being a Sunday. The lieutenant thought these must be planes from California, and without another thought, said these crucial words: “Don’t worry about it.”
There would have been time to scramble the planes at Pearl Harbor, prepare the battleships and shelter the men, but this lieutenant, at the most responsible moment of his career, failed the nation.” (Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Sign of the Times, Garland TX, Bible Communications, Inc.)
The two observant soldiers were military watchmen, a role frequently mentioned in the Bible. Watchmen throughout history were strategically placed on the highest point of the city wall. They were to warn inhabitants of an approaching enemy.
“Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon; make the watch strong; set up watchmen; prepare the ambushes; for the LORD has both planned and done what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.” (Jeremiah chapter 51, verse 12)
They also saw friends approach. Messengers may be bringing news of recent events. (No text messages then!)
“For thus the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman; let him announce what he sees. When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, riders on donkeys, riders on camels, let him listen diligently, very diligently”
Then he who saw cried out: “Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord, continually by day, and at my post I am stationed whole nights. And behold, here come riders, horsemen in pairs!” And he answered, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; hand all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.”
(Isaiah Chapter 21, verses 6 to 9)
In the Old Testament they were also described as prophets, spiritual watchmen, who warned the people of Israel of God’s judgment.
“And at the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.” (Ezekiel chapter 3, verse 16, 17)
I like what Strongs Exhaustive Concordance says describing the watchman as one who leans forward, peers into the distance, to observe.
The New Testament instructs all of us to be watchful. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5: 8)
Peter targets the devil as the real enemy of believers. We may be concerned about ISIS and physical forces but they are inspired by the devil who seeks ‘to maim and destroy.” Peter says the devil is ‘like a roaring lion’ an image he took from the Old Testament. “Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.” (Psalm chapter 22, verses 12–13 ESV).
By diligent observation we can identify the savagery. We are encouraged to be alert and aware.
Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament reminds us: “The Christian would do well to remember that he cannot fight the devil. The latter was originally the most powerful and wise angel God created. He still retains much of that power and wisdom as a glance down the pages of history and a look about one today will easily show. While the Christian cannot take the offensive against Satan, yet he can stand his ground in the face of his attacks. Cowardice never wins against Satan, only courage.”
Our courage is not from our own resources. Unlike the soldiers at Pearl Harbour we are not reporting to a junior officer. Our watchman responses are referred to the King of kings, the Creator of the Universe.
Remember the inspiring words God spoke to Joshua – ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be dismayed, for Yahweh your God, is with you, wherever you go.’ (Joshua chapter 1, verse 9)
I am encouraged we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. We are spiritually high and above every principality and power. Keep your authority in mind when next a situation or circumstance leaves you a bit shaken.
Take it to the Lord. Be He promises to ‘do the fighting for you.’ Israel has survived on that assurance. So will you.
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html