It was Friday night.
After 20 years, I still remember that because we had gone over to my sister's house for a Bible study like we had every other Friday night of that year. About 15 of us would get together in their basement to sing, pray and search scripture together.
It had been a long day and our son Brendan--a baby at the time--was more than ready to grab some sleep. We all were. Turning into the driveway, I was relieved to finally be home.
Suddenly Michael stopped the car short. He fell silent before putting it back in reverse. Cranking my head to look past him, I could see that the back door was wide open. For all that we knew someone could be inside. It was safer for us to pull into a friend's driveway then phone the police from their phone, and thankfully Michael leading the way.
About thirty minutes later, the officers walked us into our little house on the corner to survey the damage and take down our statements. How long were we gone? What did they take? What did they do?
They didn't take much, since we didn't have much at the time other than a few CDs, a stereo system and a little VCR called a movie machine. But what they did take away was our sense of peace. They violated our home, and our trust.
It took weeks--maybe months until I felt safe again. I knew that they weren't watching me through the windows, but I couldn't shake that feeling of being vulnerable and exposed.
It was only after that break-in that we stepped up our security. It wasn't much really. We got ourselves a steel insulated door for the outside of the house and a pit bull-boxer cross for the inside. She was a pussy cat beneath all that muscle, but we didn't let that secret out to too many strangers. ;)
My vow today is to guard the castle from harm. When I'm talking about the castle however, I'm not talking about the little house on the corner, the DVDs or a flat screen TV. Those are material things that one can easily replace. What I am talking about here is the role of a watchman.
In Ezekiel chapter 3 we see that God had appointed Ezekiel as a watchmen.
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. - Ezekiel 3:17In those days towers were built so that a watchmen could stand guard to look over the fields or the gates of a city. Because of it's height one could see the enemy approaching from a distance giving them enough time to sound a warning. He saw who came and who went through the city gates. Becoming familiar with the people therein, he witnessed the beauty of everyday life as it unfolded before him.
The Bible instructs older women to teach the younger women to be good keepers of their home. It's common sense to keep a house clean, isn't it? But wiser yet is a woman who keeps a close watch over her home.
In Titus 2:5 we find the words, "keepers at home." Looking to the Strong's concordance we see it does indeed mean domestic, and taking care of household affairs, but it also includes this meaning: "the (watch or) keeper of the house." Coming from the root word "ouros" meaning a guard.
Who's coming? Who's going? And who is talking to who? When we are involved with our children we get to know their friends. We know where they are at all times and what they are up to. I'm not talking about obsessing over our kids, because they do need some space. But I am talking about spending time with them and talking to them about the people in their life. They'll share a lot more with us when we're genuinely interested in the things that they do.
They need rules that keep them from harm. Not popular rules--good ones. Here's my rule--and I don't necessarily expect it to be yours (we're all different, right?)--my daughter is on Facebook, I have the password, and I log into it often while she sits beside me. It's not a matter of me not trusting her--it's my way of protecting her. I know all of her friends and what they are posting. We both enjoy the conversations that we have about the people she knows.
Skype? On occasion and only if the monitor is on the dining room table where I can clearly see it.
Guarding the castle means that I can be a second pair of eyes for my husband, and I can keep a watch over things when he's not in the house.
Driving my kids to and from school gives me an opportunity to not only get to know the teachers, I've also gotten to be close friends with some of the moms. I know that Nathaniel is safe when he's at his buddy's house because I know this kid, and I've made friends with his parents.
I'm not a perfect parent by any means, but I'm learning to keep watch. I'm learning to sound the horn before the enemy approaches.
Do you want to know what else is beautiful about a watchman? She brings the message of salvation into the household, proclaiming the Word of the Lord.
She sees all of the things that are going on in the home day after day and brings good news to her husband so that he might also share in her joy.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." - Isaiah 52:7
The Vow: To Guard the Castle from Harm
The Challenge: While you're keeping an eye on the home to see who's coming and going, take time out to pray. Ask God to protect your family from harm and to help you to encourage them in the faith.
You are loved by an almighty God,
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