I awoke at 5:40. It was still dark outside, yet I’d slept enough and I was ready for morning and time with the Lord, so I got up. As I settled into my chair, the rooster crowed… and the rooster crowed…. and the rooster crowed. It was distracting me, getting my attention. He kept crowing until I wondered why he was doing it. Did they have enough food? Was something wrong?
I mentioned how long the rooster had been crowing to my husband, explaining that I would normally go out to see if anything was wrong out there, BUT the rooster has been a bit aggressive toward me recently. So, we woke our son Jack. He’s assumed the role of defender of the rooster and is fighting for his right to remain alive in spite of new aggression rearing up in Mr. Cock-a-doodle-doo. Yet, my heart was for the overall welfare of the neighborhood, potential guests and those who can hear a rooster’s crow for a good half mile. The weather was cooler this morning and sleeping would be good next week as we expect a break in the hot weather. Our neighbors may be opening their windows to enjoy the fresh night air and there to greet them would be Red Jr, the rooster.
Drowsily, but dutifully, Jack went out to see if all was o.k. in the hen den. A few minutes later he came back in. “Nothing wrong. He’s just being loud to be loud,” he said.
Six-twenty a.m. The rooster still crows. The sun is about to come up. I am reminded of the verse from Isaiah 21:11-12. The watchman is up in the night, sounding the alarm. For morning is coming but also the night, a darker time.
11 Someone calls to me from Seir,
“Watchman, what is left of the night?
Watchman, what is left of the night?”
12 The watchman replies,
“Morning is coming, but also the night.
If you would ask, then ask;
and come back yet again.
I try to see the created purpose in all things, so I’m not without sympathy. There are lessons to be learned in everything and today my morning was all about the rooster crowing. The truth I came to is that Red Jr., the rooster, is one of nature’s watchman. He watches for the sun to come up and seems to crow until it does. His job is to keep track of his hens — to preserve his flock. He lets no one bully his girls — except him. Red watches for invaders who may come into the hen house and he’s decidedly not passive about letting them know he’s on the job.
He takes responsibility for what is in his care, as a watchman must, seeking no one’s approval, just acting according to what God made him to be. Red seek no mans permission to crow and don’t care if anyone crows with him! He’ll do it even if no one joins in, because he knows he’s a rooster and not a hen.
Meanwhile, the hens are content to quietly get up and go about their own business. Eating and drinking so they can lay their morning egg. One watches, while the others have their heads down focused on their own tasks. Both are important! We can’t do it all!
As the time ticked on, I wondered if Red believed he was crowing the sun out of it’s sanctuary. In my spirit I felt the power of ownership in his morning cry. He crowed like a man of faith, beating on the door of heaven until it opened. I wondered, “Do we pray like the rooster crows?”
As the crowing continued I felt my intercessor heart begin to relate to him. In true intercession our whole being engages with God to birth his purposes. Our hearts engage, our bodies are surrendered to our spirit, and our cry goes out until we hear “Well done good and faithful servant,” from our Lord and Master. If we are to really live like royalty on this earth, priests and kings of God Most High, then it is important for us to understand our priestly call to take prayer seriously. Will we crow until the sun comes up, until the new day dawns in our spirit and the prayer has been finished? I pray we will! We should not cease until release comes and the burden is lifted. This is intercession. Anything less is simply less, and will less accomplish what it needs to accomplish?
Early morning is a busy time for the watchman. It is when agenda’s are at war in the second heaven. God is preparing our bodies for another day through rest, giving dreams and teaching us as we sleep. Yet at the same time, satan is sending out his own battle plans. Up, up, up, comes the watchman. Awakened by the activity not seen yet by those who are sleeping, who must rest so that they can work in the day, producing what they must in their own roles. It all matters to God. It is all part of the community working together. One plows while the other reaps.
In Nehemiah was see how crucial the role of the guards were in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. Only half of the people physically built the wall and the other half covered their backs. The result? The work was accomplished in a miraculous time frame, astounding all who observed. How important is our role as watchman, as shepherds of our territory? While the one who hammers is often the one paid in this society, the watchman, or priest, is left to depend on others for provision.
Ezekiel came to mind. “Watchman, watchman, what of the night?” says Isaiah 11:11-12. In Ezekiel 33, God reminds the prophet of the importance of the call of the watchman, and our call in the New Covenant as priests of God Most High. We read, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.”
Red rooster has just accepted his call. His cries prepare the world for the day. When the day finally woke up, did the rooster stop being a rooster? No, the watchman is who he is, a watchman, until God reassigns him, perhaps as dinner! Today, if I step in that pen, he will be aware of me and I will be aware of him. We will lock eyes and recognize each other’s position. Friend or foe today Red? Red will immediately consider what my intentions are and I can’t help but feel aware that I am in his territory and he’s going to defend it. Yet he needs to learn that he’s actually in MY territory too. A little submission does a rooster good!
Yet when a true predator comes, and we are asleep in our beds, this rooster will fight for his flock to the death. Other than reproduction, it’s their only other job. In actuality, Red is only a small bird to me. Small but his faith in who is his matters! His ability to intimidate an intruder is powerful. His heart is strong! A raccoon will have met his match in him.
Roosters often gets slack for being dispensable, not producing anything we can hold in our hands other than their bodies as dinner. Yet who are we to argue with God? He made the rooster who he was. He is a defender of the weak. He gathers the hens and keeps track of where they are. He keeps ruthless invaders like me out of the hen den so I won’t steal the produce. It’s just his job. Whether I pay him or not, he’ll do it.
What is the territory God has given you to defend? How are you shepherding it? Are you up early defending your territory in prayer or maybe preparing by getting your plans and supplies ready for the day? God made us for partnership and while one watches, the workers can be more productive. This could apply to pastors up praying for a flock who are out working in the world, or prayer groups standing in the gap for the work of God in families, churches or nations. Or it could be just that one person who no one sees who God gets up in the night to pray.
The role of watchman is not easily understood by those who are not of their tribe, unless we choose true empathy…. unless we look at how the watchman is called and how unique and important they are.
As we look at Biblical history, Jeremiah was called to be a watchman, to pray for King Zedekiah and he received words of truth from God that needed to be heard, warnings that needed to be sounded and heeded so the people would not be taking into captivity by Babylon. Yet, the one he was assigned to defend hated to see him come around his court and did all he could to muffle his voice. The king preferred to hear those who agreed with him, his own flock who didn’t challenge him or assault the pride in him.
Yet God chose Jeremiah because he would be loyal to God’s heart, because he feared God more than man. Jeremiah was the true defender of Zedekiah’s kingdom assigned by God, the one loyal to God who was willing to crow when it was not popular. The king didn’t listen and disaster came to everyone, captivity. How are we like that sometimes? Pushing away the very voices that have been listening for our welfare?
Some voices are really just misunderstood and, like the rooster, can annoy us if they start speaking earlier that we are ready or willing to hear. Yet consider the rooster. The rooster crows on behalf of the whole flock. Like him, the watchman listens for the good of all the people so the workers can rest peacefully and allow their bodies to be restored. Should the watchman keep it all to himself? No. His gift is for the good of others as well.
Don’t underestimate your value or shrink in your role. We need to hear the voice of the watchman. The workers are busy at their tasks, like the hens in the barnyard. They are making food for the others to eat. The workers need to know what the watchman is hearing. If you have accepted a job, fully take on the role God has assigned to you, whether you believe in yourself or not. God calls us and equips us for every good work. Who are we to argue with him.
Consider the rooster. He has value…
Until my love for sleep and my love for my neighbors outweigh my perceived need for his job as watchman. Yet, I can’t just remove him without a consequence. When I get rid of that rooster, by my actions I am taking on his job as defender of the flock. I will have to arise in the night myself when a raccoon threatens or a fox comes near. All things work together for the good for those who are called to a purpose. We may not like the sound of the rooster or the offensive way he defends his territory, but if we don’t have him or choose to get rid of him, then are we prepared or ready to get up early? To be diligent in watching those hens?
Someone has to defend a flock. It may be your household, your workplace or your church. It’s a sad sight to wake up in the morning and see seven beheaded hens in your coop, but it’s happened to us. Why? Maybe because we didn’t hear the sound of trouble because we were sleeping, or we had our windows closed to block out the noise of the night, or the heat. Or, maybe it was because we butchered all the previous roosters when they became anointing. How tempting to want to remove the defender of the flock so we don’t have to hear him!
What is in your care today? What have you been given that you need to be responsible with?
Today, Red the Rooster and I will divide and conquer. We will be defending our territories. Yet in the grand scheme of things, I am not going to give him more authority than God has assigned him. He’ll have to submit to my authority as land owner and realize when he needs to rise up, and when he needs to stand down. Today his big head is going to get a bit smaller and it better stay that way!