Is. 56:10 “His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.”
The prophets, priests, and now pastors of God, often fail in their duty as watchmen. We are to alert the church to trouble coming, to tell believers of the attacks coming their way.
In Isaiah’s day, the silent prophets failed to call the people back from idolatry. To warn them of unjust business practices, to violations of the sabbath. Instead, God’s watchmen were sleeping on the job. They were focused on their own comfort rather than on the welfare of God’s people. Because they were focused on their own comfort—feeding their own mighty appetite for ease, comfort, wealth, and security—they would not serve as faithful watchdogs, who bark at the first sign of trouble.
What good is a watchman who will not sound the alarm to warn of danger? What use the watchdog that will not bark at danger?
What are the broad and general attacks on the church today about which the faithful pastor should be barking?
Gender confusion. God made them male and female, saying a man should leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife. This basic creation order is assaulted on all sides by the gender confusion of the world today.
Relativism. From a more traditional relativism that denies absolute truth, today we have a relativism that establishes subjective emotionality as the basis for truth. God’s Word declares itself, Christ himself, as the truth. The world opposes his objective truth with their subjective feelings as their absolute truth before which all others must yield. God said, “Thus says the Lord.” The world say, “This makes me feel.”
Materialism. Always a problem for the church, the conviction that only the material world really matters and in particular for the West, having wealth and health as the ultimate good. God says, “Set your eyes on the things that are above,” and the world says, “See how this sparkles.”
Cultural Neo-Marxism. God declared that he alone should be worshipped and that the state was an institution to ensure public justice and safety. The world says now that the state should decide and provide everything for us and in return people should yield all their allegiance to the state. Further, that the state must assure equity among the races and specially created gender classes since the intrinsic problem of humanity is power inequity. God says there is in Christ neither Jew nor Gentile, but the world divides us race against race, class against class.
These forces threaten the church today. They have infiltrated her and taken her captive. Let the faithful watchdog bark, and bark loudly of these dangers.
Calvin writes: “Hence also it follows, that God appoints them to discharge the office of ‘dogs,’ that is, to keep watch, to drive away robbers and thieves, and not to permit them to enter into the fold. And if dogs are so faithful guardians and so warmly attached to their masters, that they continually watch for their safety, and do not cease to drive away, by barking, those from whom danger is apprehended, shepherds, when they give themselves up to sloth and drowsiness, ought to be ashamed of being surpassed by a brute beast.”
Lord, make me a faithful watchman for your church, not seeking my own rest, but their good. Not ignoring danger, the wolves and bears attacking her, but let me bark and howl, loudly and clearly from your Word the warning you want your church to hear that she may rise to arms, and meeting the battle by her spiritual means, prevail over all her enemies.