Ignoring Danger (Isaiah 56:10–11) - Radical

Ignoring Danger (Isaiah 56:10–11)

“His watchmen are blind. They are all without knowledge. They are silent dogs. They cannot bark, dreaming lying down, loving to slumber. The dogs have a mighty appetite. They never have enough, but they are shepherds who have no understanding. They have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all.”
– Isaiah 56:10–11

Whoa. These are sobering verses. Did you hear the language? This is God speaking specifically about the leaders among his people, the watchmen. That’s what Isaiah 56:10–11 starts by saying. “His watchmen are blind,” talking about the watchmen on the wall, the person with the responsibility for looking out for any danger that’s coming and warning the people when danger is coming, alerting them.

Isaiah 56:10–11 Calls His People to Repentance

God is saying here, “The watchmen on the wall, the people who are supposed to be warning and telling my people about my word and my judgment and my mercy, if they will turn to me, they are silent. They’re dreaming lying down, loving to slumber, and not just being lazy, but indulging themselves. They are all turning to their own way, each to his own gain.”

Imagine the picture of a watchmen on the wall with a responsibility of looking out for danger, warning people of danger. Instead of doing that, just feasting on his own pleasures and focusing totally on himself. When we read these words from God in Isaiah 56:10–11, I just want to encourage us to reflect on our own lives. Yes, for all of us who are leaders in the church to reflect our responsibility before God to be on the lookout for dangers among his people and to warn his people of coming judgment and call his people to repentance and call his people to follow Jesus.

But then there’s a sense in which this imagery applies to every single one of us who has the gospel, who knows that people we will interact with today via email, social media, in person, over phone, Zoom, whatever it might be, at work, at home, and the places where we live, everyone around us needs to be warned of coming judgment from God. We know that mercy is available to all who will trust in Jesus.

Isaiah 56:10–11 Helps Us Not to Be Silent

So we pray. God, help us not to be silent. Help us not to be dreaming lying down, loving to slumber, to be lazy with the message you’ve given us to proclaim, with the warning you’ve called us to give, with the gospel you’ve called us to spread. God, help us not to turn to our own ways and focus on ourselves today.

Help us to actively spread the good news of your grace, good news of your salvation from coming judgment. God, help us to realize that people we interact with today will go to heaven or hell and the only way they can go to heaven, the only way they can have everlasting life in you is if someone proclaims the gospel to them. So help us to be that someone.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for the Bhil People of India

God, we pray today for the Bhil people of India, 14.5 million of them, hardly any followers of Jesus in this Hindu people group who have little to no knowledge of your grace in the gospel, and judgment is coming for all who have not put their trust in you. God, we pray for the salvation of the Bhil. We pray that you would help us as your church to proclaim the gospel to the Bhil and the three billion other people like them who need to hear the good news.

Help us not to be dreaming lying down, loving to slumber, seeking our own gain in a world where three billion people have little to no knowledge of the gospel. God, we pray that today and every day that you give us life you would help us to be faithful watchmen on the wall. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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