The Blowing of the Silver Trumpets

"And the LORD spake to Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves to thee. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God" (Numbers 10:1-10).

"Poor and feeble though we be,
  Saviour we belong to Thee!
Thine we are Thou Son of God,
  Thine, the purchase of Thy Blood."

The silver trumpets figured largely in the everyday life of Israel, and their use speaks typically to us of a great and blessed truth. It is well known that silver in Scripture is a symbol of redemption. Every Israelite that was numbered from 20 years and upward had to bring a half shekel of it as an offering to Jehovah. It was the acknowledgment on their part that they belonged to God who had redeemed them out of the house of bondage for His own pleasure, and the silver thus offered was devoted to the service of the sanctuary (Ex. 30).

Now these silver trumpets were essentially sanctuary vessels. May they not have been made from the silver offered by the Israelites to Jehovah at the time of their numbering? This is quite possible, though it would almost seem as though the whole of these redemption offerings were used for the making of the sockets and hooks of the tabernacle (Ex. 38); but be that as it may, these trumpets were first used at the door of the tabernacle, which was founded upon the silver sockets — redemption; and to assemble the people there was the primary purpose of their silvery notes.

When the priests of God blew long and loud upon them they proclaimed to the uttermost limits of Israel that the people were God's, that He had redeemed them at His own cost and by His own power, and that having redeemed them He had rights over them, and that He could summon them when He pleased to listen to His word at the door of His sanctuary. They were to hold themselves at His disposal. It mattered not with what they were engaged, God's call was imperative, and their own pursuits must take the second place; must be abandoned, indeed, and that immediately, what time the blasts of the silver trumpets rang in their hearing.

Have those of us who have believed yielded ourselves completely to the truth of which this type speaks, so that it is not merely a matter of doctrine with us that we are God's redeemed ones, but a great practical reality in our souls? Do we mean it, when we sing —

"I love to own Lord Jesus
  Thy claims on me divine.
Bought with Thy blood most precious
  Whose can I be but Thine?"

Let us give attentive ears to the truth proclaimed by the silver mouths of God's trumpets. "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, AND YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN? FOR YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And also in 1 Peter 1:19-20: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold … but WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

The words themselves are pure like silver, for "the words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Ps. 12:6), and, wonderful fact, obedience to them purifies the soul; the incorruptible seed brings forth after its own sort. For we read, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit" (1 Peter 1:22). And for practical and continuous purity of heart and life we must keep the fact that we belong to God prominently before our souls.

God has a right to command us for He has redeemed us, and He has given to us His Word that we might know His will, and He has given to us His Spirit that we might do His will — that we might be ever at His disposal.

The tabernacle was the God-appointed centre for His redeemed people in those ancient days, and from that centre His words to them went forth, and to it He summoned them when He would. That was the shadow, the picture, Christ is the substance, the reality; and if we are obedient to the Word of God Christ will be our one and only centre, as He is the One in whom all God's will has been declared for us.

But the priests not only blew the trumpets on God's behalf, they also blew them for the people. When they brought their BURNT OFFERINGS and PEACE OFFERINGS to God, they had to blow these trumpets. The joyous notes of redemption had to ring forth when they approached to God with those things that spoke of worship. And this would teach us that we can only approach God in worship as those who are redeemed. Israel offered no sacrifice to God in Egypt, when still under the domination of Pharaoh. They had to be set free from their foes, and redemption did this for them, and in the joy of their freedom they worshipped the Lord. So with us, if we "offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Christ Jesus" (1 Peter 2:5), it is because we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.

IN THE DAYS OF THEIR GLADNESS and IN THEIR SOLEMN DAYS also they had to blow the trumpets, whether in prosperity or adversity, in joy or sorrow, in exaltation or humiliation, the redemption note had to be dominant. They were ever to keep in memory the chief fact of their existence — that they were the redeemed of the Lord.

How much more do we need this, and how it would keep us from independence of God in the days of prosperity, and from depression in the days of adversity. How it would sustain our hearts in times of sorrow and pressure if we blew the silver trumpets. For if we belong to God, will He not do the very best for us, and may we not rest contentedly in the love that made Him redeem us at so great a cost?

AT THE BEGINNINGS OF THEIR MONTHS also the trumpets had to be brought out, setting forth for us that in every change in our lives we have to remember that we are the redeemed of the Lord. Is there a young man who is receiving promotion in his profession? Let him blow the silver trumpet. A young man and woman to be married in the Lord? Let the silvery notes of the fact that they belong first of all to the Lord ring out more joyously than all beside. Do any contemplate a removal from one town to another, or from one land to another? Let them make the change in the deep sense that they are not their own, but the Lord's, and say from their hearts, "If the Lord will." "At the beginning of your months ye shall blow with the trumpets."

WHEN THEY WENT FORTH TO BATTLE they could not do without these instruments. Their swords and spears and shield were not indispensable, but these trumpets were. If they blew them not they ran the terrible risk of defeat; but if they blew them, God said, "Ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies." We are often in conflict, and the world, the flesh and the devil often press us hard. We feel that our strength is small, and that our enemies are many and strong. If in the conflict we lose the sense that we belong to God we cannot prevail, but as this is remembered we are "more than conquerors, through Him that loved us." The blowing of the trumpets brought the Lord to the aid of His people, and it is well for us to remind Him, when in conflict, that He has bought us, and that as being His he will not, He cannot, abandon us to our foes, and that in His power alone can we prevail. It fills our hearts with courage also as we remember the same glorious facts, and keeps us in dependence upon the One to whom we belong, and the enemy must flee when we stand up as the redeemed of the Lord to resist him.

It is recorded that when once the army of the great Charlemagne had become completely hemmed in by a mighty host of Saracens and was in danger of annihilation, that one of the Frank warriors stepped forward and blew upon his bugle three terrific blasts. The first blast brought the pursuing army to a standstill, the second spread consternation throughout their ranks, and at the third they fled from the field in great disorder. More effectual, more powerful in our conflict with the foe will the blowing of the silver trumpets be. For no weapon that is formed against the redeemed of the Lord shalt prosper, and every tongue that shall rise up in judgment shall be condemned. This is their heritage, and their righteousness is of Me, says the Lord.

Then let us at all times and under all circumstances glory in the fact that we are the redeemed of the Lord, and that He is the Lord our God.