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Numbers 10 begins with God detailing out instructions to Moses about the making of two silver trumpets and how exactly they were to be used.
The Silver Trumpets
The sounding of the trumpets conveyed different messages, each specific message had a specific sound or blast. The Silver Trumpets were to be used as signals by the priests for
- Travel as they set out (verse 2)
- To gather everyone for worship (verse 3)
- To gather the leaders at the tent of meeting (verse 4)
- For military purposes – when in battle the trumpet sound was received by God as a prayer from the whole nation (verse 9).
- At times of rejoicing (feasting) – served as a memorial for the people that they are His and He is their God (verse 10).
God’s cloud was there with the people guiding them to move and to rest. Then why did they need the trumpets? The Trumpets had more specific roles. At first glance, we understand that the trumpets helped in moving such a large gathering of people in an organised fashion. There were specific blasts to move each side of the camps. As the cloud moved and the trumpets sounded for each side of the camp to set out (Num 10:5-6), it created order in their movement. God is a God of order not chaos.
Seeking and Following Him in all things
The cloud gave general direction, but the trumpets served for more specific direction. In life, are we fine with following God’s general direction or are we pursuing to be obedient in all matters?
In Ephesians 5, the passage talks about living as children of the light and as a part of doing so, we are to find out what pleases the Lord (verse 9), we are to understand what the Lord’s will is (verse17), and we are to be filled with Holy Spirit (verse 18).
Seeking to follow God in more ways than having the general direction of your life flow towards Him is like being on a boat that has two kinds of people. One has no motion sickness and is enjoying every bit of the trip, basking in the wind and the view even though they are experiencing the waves (challenges in life). But the other is either puking or nauseous and is feeling every swell and turn of the boat (an analogy I recall reading elsewhere a while ago and it stayed with me).
Seeking God in all things is to seek and understand what the Lord’s will is in specific situations, it involves the laying down of our desires, it involves trusting God and leaning not on our own understanding and it also might involve moving out of your comfort zone as we choose to be obedient and pleasing to Him.
Call to Action
What else do we glean from these silver trumpets? Through their journey, the people had to follow God’s leading but with the different calls of action the sounding of the trumpets were meant and used for, God invites the people to partake in more with Him through different aspects of their life, be it worship, feasting, praying for his help in times of battle or what they were supposed to do next.
What does partaking in more with Him through different aspects of life do? It deepens our relationship with Him, it reminds us always of who alone is to be the recipient of our worship, it reminds us of our need for God, deepens our dependency on Him and reminds us of the source of any blessings and the why of our existence.
The Lord desires for us to draw closer to Him, to be in the very core of our day-to-day life. He desires for us to focus on Him and call upon Him on our good days and our tough ones, during seasons of trial and celebration. He desires and invites us to a deeper walk with Him.
Is he sounding the trumpet, calling you to action about something specific. Draw near to Him with what he lays on your heart to do and receive a joy that comes from being in His presence and being obedient to His call.
In verses 11-28, we read that the Israelites prepare to move for the first time under the Lord’s command after eleven months in the region of Mount Sinai. These verses detail out the order of the line of march just as the Lord had commanded and we had seen in Numbers 2.
In verse 29- 33a, we read “Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.” He answered, “No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people.” But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the Lord gives us.” So, they set out from the mountain of the Lord and travelled for three days.”
Hobab was Moses’ brother-in-law. Being a Midianite, he was familiar with the desert. Moses given the task of leading the people through the wilderness sought to have Hobab by his side to be their eyes.
Was the Lord’s presence (cloud) not sufficient for Moses? We do not see the Lord reprimand Moses about it. From what we have seen of Moses, as he led the people, he did not take a step without the Lord’s command or direction and the time when he did not directly obey God, he paid the price for his disobedience (Num 20).
Even though the Lord is with us and guides us, he often provides people around us to help us in our journey with wise counsel. Proverbs 11:14 says “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.” Moses did not lack trust in God, he was being wise. Often, we can either choose to isolate ourselves from any wise counsel and rely solely on hearing directly from God or we can keep seeking advice from others without seeking God directly. As Moses did, always going to the Lord first, but not negating the ways in which God uses others to speak and help, may we too value godly counsel but never allow it to supersede seeking the Lord first.