March 11, 2019 | Dutch Sheets
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph 6:18).
The King James Version uses the word “watching” for the phrase “be on the alert.” The second verse is 1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Again, other translations use the word “watchful.” The context of both verses is spiritual warfare. Each mentions our adversary and challenges us to alertness or watchfulness, both for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I want to draw four conclusions from these three verses—Ephesians 6:18,1 Peter 5:8 and 2 Corinthians 2:11—as an introduction for our study of the watchman anointing:
- Protection from the attacks of our enemy—even for believers-is not automatic.
There is a part for us to play. Though God is sovereign, this does not mean He is literally in control of everything that happens. He has left much to the decisions and actions of humankind. If God were going to protect or safeguard us from Satan’s attacks regardless of what we did, these verses would be totally irrelevant to Christians. Somewhere in our theology, we must find a place for human responsibility. At some point we must begin to believe that we matter, that we’re relevant, for ourselves and for others.
- God’s plan is to warn or alert us to Satan’s tactics.
This is deduced from the simple fact that, since God says not to be unaware of Satan’s tactics, He must be willing to make us aware of them. If He says to be on the alert, this must mean that if we are, He will alert us. God wouldn’t ask of us something He wasn’t also going to enable us to accomplish.
- We must be alert—remain watchful—or we won’t be aware of God’s attempts to warn us of Satan’s attacks and plans.
If these attacks were always going to be obvious, alertness wouldn’t be necessary. Isaiah 56:10 speaks of blind watchmen. What a picture! I’m afraid it has been a fairly good description of many of us in our watching roles. We’re often like the disciples of old: we have eyes, but we do not see (see Mark 8:18). It’s time we do more than gaze; we must alertly watch!
- If we are not alert and watchful, if we are ignorant of Satan’s schemes, he will take the bigger portion. He will gain on us, taking advantage of our ignorance.
Contrary to popular belief, we really can be destroyed due to ignorance (see Hosea 4:6). We may not like to admit it, but Satan really has gained a lot of territory in America. We cannot deny the reality of spiritual conflict. If we do, we act in denial, and the results can be disastrous. Don’t be like the desert nomad who awakened hungrily one night and decided he’d have a midnight snack. Lighting a candle, he grabbed a date and took a bite. Holding the date to the candle, he saw a worm, whereupon he threw the date out of the tent. Biting into the second date, he found another worm and threw it away, also. Deciding he might not get anything to eat if this continued, he blew out the candle and ate the dates.
Sometimes we, too, prefer the darkness of denial to the light of truth. Though the truth really does hurt at times, it is still truth. Denial doesn’t change it. Where Satan has made gains, let’s admit it and determine to take them back!
- Excerpt from online PDF of “Watchman Prayer” by Dutch Sheets, Pages 18-19