In the ancient world, cities had huge walls all the way around them that served as their primary form of defense against enemy attacks. The walls were often ten feet thick and thirty feet high. On the top of the walls, they would position watchmen to warn against an enemy attack. It was the watchmen’s responsibility to watch over the city. If the watchmen failed to do their job, it could be fatal for the inhabitants of the city.
In Ancient Rome, they had a group of men known as the Vigiles Urbani, which means “the watchmen of the city.” They were the firefighters and police of Rome. They served as the night watch of Rome, watching out for burglars, runaway slaves, criminals, and fires. Throughout history, there have been different types of watchmen and they have played a crucial role in some of history’s biggest events.
President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. The Presidential box was guarded by a policeman named John Parker. However, during the intermission, John Parker left his post. He went to a tavern with Lincoln’s footman and coachman. He was not at his post when Booth entered the box and assassinated the President. Because his watchman abandoned his post, the President’s life was cut short early.
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, six Japanese aircraft carriers launched a vicious attack on US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 353 Japanese bombers, fighters, and torpedo planes attacked an unsuspecting Pearl Harbor base. Over 2,402 people were killed. 9 US ships were sunk and 21 were severely damaged. How were the Japanese able to attack an American naval base without any advance warning? The Army had a Radar station at Opana Point that detected the Japanese planes and the radar operators called in a warning.
However, Lieutenant Kermit A. Tyler at the Intercept Center, presumed that the planes on the radar were six US B-17 bombers that were scheduled to arrive around the same time. Lt. Tyler failed to take the warning seriously and dismissed it. He failed to act as a watchman over Pearl Harbor and as a result over 2,400 people died. You see, being a watchman is a serious responsibility—it’s a matter of life and death for the people you are responsible to watch over.
I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. — Isaiah 62:6-7 (NIV)
In Isaiah 62, the Lord says that He has set watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem who will not be silent day or night. They will pray and cry out to the Lord until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise in the earth. God was referring not to natural watchmen but to spiritual watchmen. Who are spiritual watchmen? They are intercessors who watch over their cities and cover their cities in prayer. They are the guardians.
In every generation, God raises up intercessors who serve as the spiritual watchmen (and watchwomen) over their communities. God is looking for a few good men and women who will stand in the gap and pray until God’s will is accomplished on earth. Will you watch over your family, church, city, and nation in prayer? Will you be a guardian?
- Brian Alarid is the Lead Pastor of Passion Church and President of Passion Leadership College. He has a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership from Regent University, and a Bachelor's degree in Theology. Brian has been married to Mercy for 16years and they reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico with their 3 children: Chloe, Colin, and Lauren.