Friday, May 10, 2024

2024.05.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Numbers 10:1–10

Read Numbers 10:1–10

Questions from the Scripture text: Who spoke to whom in Numbers 10:1? What did He tell him to make (Numbers 10:2)? To use for what two purposes? What is to happen if both are blown (Numbers 10:3)? What is to happen if only one is blown (Numbers 10:4)? What might Moses “sound” in Numbers 10:5? Who, then, is to begin what? When he does this a second time, who is to begin what (Numbers 10:6)? What does the rest of verse 6 imply? How do these sounds compare to the one in Numbers 10:2 (Numbers 10:7)? Who are to be the blowers of trumpets (Numbers 10:8)? Through which generations of the Mosaic administration would this be the case? What would they go to in Numbers 10:9? Where? Against whom? What will this enemy have done? What sort of sound is to be made by the trumpet in that case? Who will remember? What will He do? What other sorts of days are these trumpets for (Numbers 10:10)? What does He give as examples of days of gladness? Upon what actions are they to blow the trumpet on such days? What will such days, and offerings, and trumpetings be for them, before Whom? Who is He?

How will the Lord’s people know when to do what? Numbers 10:1–10 prepares us for the evening sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these ten verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God gives His people the distinct soundings of His call so that they will properly prepare for action.

Priestly trumpets. The making of the silver trumpets, and instruction for their use, are the last order of business before departing from Sinai. YHWH Himself signals that it is time to leave, but He has assigned to His priests the short blasts of the trumpet (Numbers 10:5) that initiate the actual movement of the people. This was important, because the house of Aaron oversaw the packing up of the tabernacle (chapters 3–4), and the people must not begin moving until it was ready. Because God is the King, the trumpet-blowing is a priestly function. If you weren’t of the house of Aaron, it wouldn’t matter if you were the most skilled trumpeter on earth; God had not given it to you to do. 

Occasions in the wilderness. While Israel were one great camp, the trumpets served a special function. The long blowings of the trumpets would call for the assembly of the people, and the short blasts for the mobilization of the people. A long blowing of both trumpets would assemble the entire congregation (Numbers 10:3), and a long blowing of just one would assemble only the leadership (Numbers 10:4). 

There are times when the Lord calls for His people to gather in a convocation, an assembly. And there are other times when He calls the leaders of His people together as a council. By appointing special trumpets for this for the church in the wilderness, the Lord reminds us that it is He Himself Who is really calling such gatherings.

The short blasts of the trumpet would initiate the march of the people. One short blast would send the eastern camp off (Numbers 10:5). The next short blast would send the southern camp off (Numbers 10:6). And so forth (end of verse 6). The Lord assigned to the priests these short blasts, assigning this auditory cue to the visual cue of the cloud, for reminding His people that He was the One Who went forth in their midst.

Occasions in the land. Numbers 10:9 now pivots to what would happen “in your land.” There is an indication here that occupying the land would not bring an end to nations’ attacking them. They would still have to go to war. There would still be enemies who oppressed them. But, they would still have “YHWH your God” in their midst! Now, the short blasts are not as much for mobilizing themselves, but a reminder that the Lord had promised that He would mobilize Himself in response!

And then there would be those occasions, when they were all gathered together for days of gladness (Numbers 10:10). Then, as had been true in the wilderness times, the Lord would be in their midst. And He would give memorial of this by use of the trumpets. This occurred not only at the feasts but at times like the inauguration of a king (cf. 2 Kings 11:14) and the dedication of the temple (cf. 2 Chronicles 5:12–13).

The Lord is in our midst to deliver us and gladden us! And, He calls us to action and mobilizes us! Though we no longer have trumpets that announce these things, the preaching and teaching of His Word proclaim them to us. These are gifts from the God Who is with us, and His servants Whom He employs in calling and reminding His people must do so clearly and distinctly (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:6–9). When they do so, let all His people believe what the Scripture teaches, and do what the Scripture commands. Let them prepare for battle!

Without trumpets, how do you know that the Lord calls us to gather? How do you know what you should be doing as part of His people?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving to us Christ as our Great High Priest, Who gathers us to You. And thank You for giving Him to us also as King, Who defeats all His and our enemies. And thank You for giving Him to us also as Prophet, Who clearly reveals Your will to us. Grant that we would follow Him in all things, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH271 “Blessed Jesus, At Your Word”

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