In the second part of this discourse, I emphasized that if you have Christ in your life, you should hold Him fast, because there is tendency to sleep off if one does not take heed. While all Christians need to be watchful and stand firm in the Lord, I particularly want here to focus on the servants of God.
His watchmen are blind they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs; they cannot bark, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Isaiah 56:10.
No word can better explain the condition of some servants of God and Evangelists today than that in the expression of the passage stated above. It is quite a pity that those whom God is depending upon, entrusting His work to in these latter days are disappointing Him fast. You can imagine you picked up a child from a gutter where he was dumped by a wicked prostitute. You nurtured and trained him up. When he grew up you sent him to your firm to do certain time-bound specific job. Instead of doing the job he began to fold his hands, slumber and sleep. Even when the time was running out he was still lying down, sleeping, and snoring. What would be your feelings and how would you react in essence?
Pastor, Evangelist, Minister … do not pass judgment on him yet! Check your life if you are not failing God. How much are you involved in the gospel work? Do you still maintain the standard with which you started? It may be that the grip of spiritual sleep is already catching you unawares that you are no longer profitable to the Lord who has called you to His service. This could easily be measured by your attitude to the gospel work, your prayer life, the way you uphold the truth and the concern you have for the unregenerate souls.
A blind man cannot see. He cannot see any danger whether far or near. How difficult it is for him then to be a watchman! God was lifting up Isaiah to see the spiritual condition of the watchmen who were set up over Israel. They were blind. The situation was horrible! On the similar note, Jesus declared to His disciples concerning the Pharisees:
“Let them alone,” He said, “they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14.
A blind person will definitely be ignorant of many things. He does not know there is a ditch somewhere. He cannot detect there is an enemy coming ahead of him unless someone tells him. Except he is led through by somebody who can see he will fall down many times along the way.
It is even more terrible to be both blind and dumb at the same time as in the case of the watchmen of Israel. If you cannot see and you cannot speak, your problem is very enormous. What a total darkness! It is a woeful condition. If the enemy approaches, you cannot see him, you cannot run away, and you cannot shout for help. Isaiah says, “His watchmen are blind they are all dumb dogs.” You know that dogs are kept in the house to keep off thieves and raise alarm of danger. You can now imagine you have a dog that is both blind and dumb. One thing is that he cannot bark. Another thing is, he cannot see. How useful is that dog to you? He is a liability. You have to feed him since he does not know where the food is. He cannot see his own prey or pursue it; talk less of serving you. The case of some servants of God is not better than this. They are failing God in their responsibilities simply because they are spiritually asleep. You can prayerfully check your life and see if you are failing God. The way out is to return to your first love and cry to God for help.
Jonah, the son of Amittai had been a prophet and a servant of God for long. The Lord God of Israel had used him to prophesy restoration to Israelites when He saw their affliction. This was fulfilled when God saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash (2 Kings 14:25-26). This could be referred to as the bright days of Jonah, when he was following the Lord in obedience and readiness of heart. He was serving the Lord willingly and no single message fell to the ground. He treated every message with a matter of urgency. His ears were wide open to hear the commanding voice of God and with all patience, Jonah would wait upon God to receive directives on what, where, how and when to disseminate each message that came from the Lord God.
It was this same Jonah, who at a time relented in his efforts. His zeal went out of him. He became a “dumb dog that cannot bark” and so was no longer serious about the work of God. As far as spiritual matters are concerned, Jonah was completely asleep. The voice of God did not mean anything to him anymore. Little wonder then, he chose to run away when God called him; “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city and cry against it for their wickedness is come up before me” Jonah 1:2-3. He chose to flee away from the presence of God and he boarded a ship at Joppa with the view of going to Tarshish.
“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7-10
You cannot run away from your Creator. If the Lord is calling you to His service and you feel you can run away, keep on trying. You will soon discover there is no where you can run to. He is everywhere to welcome you. The problem there is that if you run away from God, you will find it tough and rough. You are really looking for trouble.
While Jonah was in the ship, running away from God, he got into trouble. He also brought some other people into a state of pandemonium. The Lord sent a boisterous wind to the sea and a great tempest almost broke the ship into pieces. The people were casting forth their wares into the sea to lighten the ship and they were calling upon their gods, but Jonah went to the lower part of the ship and was fast asleep. You will already know it was not an ordinary sleep. For him to have been able to sleep at such a fearful moment like this, you probably will retort, “He might have been stupefied by the grip of his sin. He might have lost all his senses”. Well, that is the terrible thing about spiritual sleep. He was already asleep spiritually ever before entering the ship. He had lost his spiritual sensitivity, not knowing where he was. He was asked seven important questions by his colleagues in the ship. The questions should be closely examined but let us begin to look at them in the next discussion. But for this time, ask yourself how you are doing in God’s work.