Monday, September 7, 2009
Once upon a city
With watchman on her walls,
The stealthy blight of treason
Just short of midnight falls.
Upon the gate called Doctrine
A watchman hears a sound;
The rattle of the latch
Comes through the arch and round.
"Who goes?" he cries, in startled fear,
"What business do you bring?"
"Don’t worry," says a voice below,
"‘Tis but a simple thing.
"We are nobles of the court,
On us you can depend,
We simply want to visit
With one the king calls friend."
Peering o’er the outer edge
The watchman strains his eye,
Expecting just one shadow
He instead sees four or five.
"Hold up," he says to those inside,
"‘Tis more than one who wait!
Are you sure of those outside
Who would enter at this gate?"
"What difference?" came the curt reply,
"Whether it be one or five?
Even a friend of a friend of the king
Is still a friend of mine!"
The watchman reached for his trumpet,
For in his heart was alarm. . .
When a warning hissed from the gateway
That worked its deadly charm.
"I will see to this thing in the morning
If you keep not your silence tonight.
We will give your post to another
If you cause all for nothing a fright."
So the watchman put down his trumpet,
His wife and children must eat.
He sounded not the warning that night,
And the city suffered defeat.
I ask you, "What of the watchman?
How would you reason his plight?
Would you want to sleep on in silence
For the reasons he was silent that night?"
I ask too, "What of the people
Who had put their trust in man;
Who’d remove a watchman for a false alarm
When he is doing the best that he can?"
The Word would condemn the people;
They too shared in his shame,
For, ". . .except the Lord keep the city,
The watchman waketh in vain."1
"Put not your trust in nobles,"2
Ask, "Watchman, what of the night?"3
Put your mind in the care of the Lord
And study with all of your might.
Then when comes the deceiver
Or comes the terror by night,
There will be no reason to worry
As for you it will be all right.
(1) Psalms 127:1
(2) Psalms 146:3
(3) Isaiah 21:11; Ezekiel 33:4-6