“Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” Joel 2:1
This is the moment the Watchman waits for, what he’s been looking for all along…the moment when he can sound the alarm. And, there are generally two reasons for a Watchman to sound an alarm:
To warn of an approaching enemy
To announce the arrival of the King
As a side note: This past week, the Lord called me into a season of “purposeful prayer.” There are several ministries and churches that He laid on my heart to hold before Him in intercession on a regular basis. The demands of my life don’t allow me to spend hours in prayer or even to attend prayer meetings at this time, but I’m so grateful that the Lord gave me a strategy to participate with Him in prayer and in the unfolding of His plans in the earth. Some of these ministries I pray for weekly, but most every other week. I pray in tongues throughout the day and keep my ears attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in how to pray, and I’ve been amazed at how He has led me. When I’ve shared with the ministry leaders what the Lord revealed to me, they told me that those things are exactly in line with how the Lord is leading them–and there’s no way I would have known that. I really believe that this is a season of training for me. The pressures and demands of life are not going to go away, and it is still possible to give myself to the work of the Lord while trusting Him to take care of the burdens of my heart. I was even pondering that it is often easier to carry someone else’s burden than my own.
Back to the topic…
One of the clearest pictures of watchman intercession is the story of Esther. And it is so appropriate for me to write about Esther now as it is the time for the Purim celebration. Friday, March 18, 2011 is the date for the celebration to start.
I’ve heard so many allusions to Esther in the past few years. People long to be like Esther–lavished with love in the palace of the king. Sounds good, doesn’t it? However, I have a different take on the matter. Let’s look at the Biblical account in Esther 4 and set the stage. Esther is established in the palace. She’s spent her night with the king, and he delighted in her and crowned her queen. Outside the palace, Mordecai (who I believe is the true hero of the story) offended Haman, and Haman hatched a plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Upon hearing of Haman’s evil plan, Mordecai and all of the Jewish people cry out in mourning over their impending doom–they sounded the alarm about an approaching enemy.
Where’s Esther? In the palace, enjoying its luxuries, self-absorbed and completely oblivious to all that is happening outside the palace. It was her servants who heard Mordechai’s cry and told her about it, and her first reaction to hearing about Mordecai in sackcloth and ashes was to be embarrassed by his behavior and send him clothes. It was only after he refused them that she sent her servants to find out why he was mourning. When she finally heard his true cry, and understood what was happening, she felt powerless to do anything. She had a lot going against her. Although she was queen, she had little to no power to influence or change anything. She saw her predecessor deposed, and there was no reason for her to believe she wouldn’t face the same fate. Mordecai admonished her, and his admonition shook her to the core:
Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14
Esther needed to become actively attentive to Mordecai’s cry, his admonition aroused her to a state of being awake, alert and aware of her responsibility. She was also awakened to her identity. Although she kept it hidden, now was the time for her to reveal who she truly was–a Jew. And now that she was actively attentive, awake, alert and aware it was time for her to sound the alarm. The “such a time as this moment” occurred when she sent her reply to Mordecai:
“Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” Esther 4:15
She was so convinced of her responsibility to intercede on behalf of her people, that she was willing to lay down her life. And we know the rest of the story.
Are we convinced enough of what God is asking of us to be willing to lay down our lives? Yes, there are times to enjoy the presence of God and allow Him to pour out His great love for us, and for us to respond to Him in adoration. Yet, there is also a time when we stand with him as covenant partners and work with Him to establish His Kingdom on the earth.
God has His watchmen placed in various places in the earth at this time. We are called to pray purposeful, passionate, strategic and intelligent prayers as God imparts wisdom so we can partner with Him to accomplish what is on His heart. Intelligent prayers–know what is going on around you. Be up to date with current events and what God is drawing your attention to. Study Scripture. Develop an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, who searches the deep places of God’s heart. Pray out those things that God highlights to you. There is tremendous power in prayer, which is why the enemy does all he can to keep God’s people from praying!!
Finally, when all is said and done, watchmen get the awesome privilege of announcing the coming King.
“Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!” Psalm 24:9