Read: Ezekiel 33:1-34:31, Hebrews 13:1-25, Psalm 115:1-18, Proverbs 27:21-22
But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths. (Ezekiel 33:6)
Relate: On March 3, 1918, the New York Times carried an article about 4 men who were sentenced to death for falling asleep on sentry duty during World War 1. Two British soldiers and one Canadian were also killed for the same crime. Perhaps the most famous sentry to fall asleep at his post was William Scott. He, along with his four brothers, was a volunteer who joined the Union Army near the beginning of the Civil War. Shortly after the battle of Bull Run, Scott offered to volunteer for a sick friend to cover sentry duty at a strategic bridge. The thing is, he had just done duty the night before for himself and after spending the day marching, was in no condition to be out there again. Scott was caught sleeping at his post, court marshaled and on September 4 sentenced to be shot at dawn the following Monday.
Reverend Moses Parmalee, a chaplain with the army gathered signatures from 191 of Scott’s fellow soldiers. It was because he was helping a friend, not because he neglected his duty that they wished his pardon. On Sunday evening Parmalee presented this petition to Lincoln. The President wrote a note to General Smith and, according to one version of the story, ordered his personal carriage to take the chaplain back to the front lines.
The next morning William Scott’s brigade was ordered into formation and Scott, bound and blindfolded was brought before them. His crime and an order of his execution was read to the men, then they also heard read Lincoln’s pardon. After believing for the past five days that his life was forfeit, Scott was released.
Relate: We are the watchmen on the wall. As Christians we are aware of the immanent danger to those around us who do not yet know Christ. They are destined for hell. Scott thought he was doing a favor for his friend by taking his watch, but if the enemy army pressed its advantage, many men could have died. He was doing no favors. In the same way, our failure to share the love God has so richly poured out on us is a crime. We do our friends no favors with our silence. It is better that they be offended, and repent than that they skip their way to hell in ignorant bliss. When they die, they will be judged for their sin… but their blood will be on our hands.
God, I repent for my silence. I repent for the attitude that says my good actions are enough. It takes more than being kind and generous and patient. It takes opening my mouth. I have a warning for the world You have ordered me to cry out. Give me courage to shout it.
This is a devotional created by and for Two Rivers Assembly.