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Discovery Magazine 4/1/2000

The Watchman and the Wall

Have you ever seen a huge skyscraper or looked at a statue that made you seem as small as an ant? Humans have built some very big things in their history, but the biggest thing humans ever built was not a building or a statue, but a wall.

The Great Wall of China is the largest man-made structure in the world. It stretches over 3000 miles and reaches heights of 30 feet. The top is wide enough to drive huge trucks on. If you took all the bricks from the Great Wall of China, you could build a 5-foot-high, 3-foot-wide wall that would circle the entire Earth.

What in the world would someone do with a wall that big? In the early years of Chinese history, destructive raiders riding huge horses would come down from the north and plunder the villages of China. The wall was built to stop these raiders. On top of the wall, many tall towers were built where watchmen would sit to watch for these raiders. When the watchmen spotted a band of raiders, they would light great piles of wood, hay, and wolf dung that produced huge pillars of black smoke. The plan worked very well, and few enemies could get past the wall when it was well attended.

The Bible tells us a story of a watchman much like the ones that used to man the towers of the Great Wall. The watchman in the Bible, however, blows a trumpet to warn of enemy attack instead of lighting a fire. In Ezekiel 33:1-10, God told the prophet some rules about watchmen. If a watchman sees the enemy and blows his trumpet to warn the people in the city, he has done his job well. However, if he sees the enemy and does not warn the people by blowing his trumpet, then the Lord will hold him responsible for all the bad things that happen to the city.

Ezekiel was a preacher of the Word of God. God told him that he was just like a watchman. If Ezekiel told the people God’s will, then he would be a watchman who did his job well. If Ezekiel did not tell the people God’s will, then God would hold him responsible for the bad things people did. We are watchmen too, because we know God’s Word. Are we blowing our trumpets to warn the world?

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