The Duty of Watching

August 9, 2021

“And they lodged around the house of God, for on them lay the duty of watching…” (1 Chronicles 9:15).

This verse stopped me the other morning, as I considered the phrase “the duty of watching.” In 1 Chronicles 9, this duty was outlined as the responsibility of the four chief gatekeepers of God’s temple, one on each side: east, west, north, and south. These men were entrusted to keep watch on God’s house, to remain diligent, at the ready to protect against intruders or thieves.

I’ve thought a lot about the idea of waiting on the Lord, but in the moment of reading this verse, I stopped to consider what it means to watch for Him. Webster’s Dictionary defines “watch” as: “to be attentive or vigilant…to keep guard…to keep someone or something under close observation…to be expectant.”

Do I have this kind of view on the Lord? Am I really watching for Him like my life depended on it? (Because it does.)

The Psalms speak much of watching: “O, my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress” (Psalm 59:9). 

“…my soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning” (Psalm 130:6). Here we see waiting and watching together.

In reference to the kingdom of heaven, Jesus counseled His disciples to “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matt. 25:13). And in His darkest hour in Gethsemane, Jesus implored Peter, James, and John to “remain here, and watch with me” while He went to pray and plead with His Father (Matt. 26:38). Oh, that they had; oh, that I would, more.

Autumn is here, my favorite season. Driving home from church last week, I was noticing the trees, some not yet turned in color, but hinting at it. I honestly wish that I could stare at trees long enough to watch them change from green to vibrant red, orange, or yellow. I expect to see colors explode in the fall and so I watch for them, and my heart aches with the beauty of God’s design.

This is the way I want to live. Watching, with expectancy, with vigilance, with attention, to see more of God. In the everyday moments and in the bigger life events. I don’t want to miss a single second.

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