“Blessed are those servants,
whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching”
In Biblical times the night was divided into watches. In the Old Testament the night was divided into three distinct watches. These were the shifts that the night watchmen would take to be on the alert for an enemy. In the New Testament the night watches were four in number. In the illustrations of Jesus it was the fourth watch that He used to illustrate the necessity of vigilance and sobriety.
“For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey,
who left his house, and gave authority to his servants,
and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh,
at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all,
MARK 13:34 – 37
It is imperative that we find the strength through His wondrous grace to be actively engaged in the work that He has given us lest we grow weary and the slumber of the world come upon us. It is in these late watches that the weariness of the way sets upon us and our senses are no longer attuned to the things of the Spirit. We may mindlessly go through the actions of a religious life without the fervor or passion of His Life in us. Everyday life becomes a mechanical performance and the lateness of the hour and the subtlety of the thoughts of our hearts deceive us into thinking that everything is all right. Without the watchman calling out to the Church of the Living God there would be no sound of alarm. Soft and soothing words of men declaring peace and safety when the Day of the Lord is at hand are a deadly and beguiling thing. We are clearly admonished to watch for we know not the hour of the unimaginable shakings that are coming upon the earth.
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down
with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life,
and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.
For it will come upon ALL who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength
to escape all these things that are going to take place,
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
LUKE 21:34 – 36
The coming of the Lord is no longer spoken of as imminent or of any real importance as to how we live our lives. In this Day of obscurity where evil is abounding all around us, the greatest evil of all is the revelation of our own insensitivity to it. The Darkness is gathering and the Church is being lulled by the seeming peace and tranquility around us. As it was spoken of Noah’s day… “…they knew not until the flood came and took them all away” (Matthew 24:39). In this day we are being tested by the watchfulness of our hearts and the readiness of our lamps. We need to have that extra measure of oil to burn into the late watches of the night.
“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them…”