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; and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.” —Isaiah 21:6
It was a time of turmoil. The year-689 BC. The Assyrian Empire was attacking the Babylonian Empire. Being next in line, Judah and the surrounding nations were holding their breath, hoping that Babylon would be able to defeat Assyria and bring peace to the area. Alas, it was not to be! Babylon fell and everyone knew that Assyria’s aggression would not stop until the entire region was in their control.
This was the situation in the text for today, Isaiah 21-23. Against the backdrop of aggression, war and certain attack upon His people, the Jews, God commanded Isaiah the Prophet to assume the role of a watchman on the wall. He was to announce what God showed him of the future and warn the people.
See any parallels for us today? Wars rage all over the world. People are losing their lives in terrorist attacks, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, jet crashes. Gang violence, drug addiction and alcoholism is rampant. Sexual immorality is not only flaunted on television and movies, large church denominations are voting to accept pastors who practice homosexuality. People no longer look to the Bible as THE authoritative Word of God. Sin is sweeping the world like a tsunami. Watchmen are desperately needed in our generation. Some who will watch for our spiritual enemy and the multitude of ways he will attack. We have a great need for courageous persons to take a stand, see the dangers approaching, listen to our culture and then open our mouths and sound the warning!
Don’t think that this will make you popular. Isaiah was killed for speaking out. According to tradition, he was martyred by being sawn in two. (Hebrews 11:37)