“Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps." (Numbers 10:2)
The people of God are to be divinely directed. Numbers is a book about walking with God. The Hebrew title of the book is literally, "In the Wilderness." This world is a wilderness. We are pilgrims on a journey. The wilderness is a place fraught with peril. Our opportunity is limited, our responsibility is large, and our enemy is fierce--therefore, we must be led by the Lord, lest we become diverted by detours, delayed by dead-ends, or decimated by the Devil. In the previous chapter, God had provided Israel guidance by His presence--the glory cloud--that moved out when they were to move and stopped where they were to camp. Now, we find they were directed by not only the sight of the cloud, but the sound of the clarion. The cloud represents the presence of God in His Spirit who guides the believer today, and the trumpet symbolizes the precepts of God in Holy Scripture that guide us as well.
Paul uses this analogy when confronting the confusion in the Corinthian church, "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air." (I Cor.14:8-9) Communicating God's message must be done clearly.
There were three basic purposes of these trumpets. This is most instructive to the church today.
They were sounded for WARNING (Num.10:1-8). Think of them as an alarm going off. When God directed them by the movement of the cloud, the priests were also to blow these silver trumpets to warn the people it was time to move or time to stop. We are too easily distracted by the world or dulled by slumber and so we may miss God's leading without someone putting the trumpet of truth to their lips and waking us up. The teacher and preacher seek to do this each Sunday morning--to wake us up and move us out! God has places for the church to go.
The silver trumpets were for WARRING (Num.10:9). The people of God are not sightseers on a walk, but soldiers in a war! The church is God's army. On Sunday morning, we assemble at headquarters to receive our marching orders. The preacher puts the trumpet of truth to his lips and conveys the battle plan. We are equipped for the spiritual conflict awaiting us on Monday by hearing the truth on Sunday. There is the "fog of war," and we cannot fight effectively without clear communication from our Commander. The Word of God is our powerful weapon too!
The trumpet blasts were also for WORSHIPPING (Num.10:10). Israel was to be assembled for worship as the trumpets sounded. The Word of God is central in our worship. That is why you find the pulpit at the center of most sanctuaries. Whether that truth is sounded in song or sermon, we will not have worship apart from the communication of the Word.
One of these days, the last trumpet will sound, and God's saints will be gathered home! Until then may the truth be trumpeted loud and clear--for we will give an account (see 2 Tim.4:1-8).