Bible Readings for May 3rd
Up to this point in the book of Numbers, we have mainly seen how Yahweh has organized how the camp will function, with his holiness at the center, in the midst of his people. In Numbers 10, we finally see Israel actually pack up their camp to move to the next site (Num. 10:33–36), according to wherever the cloud of Yahweh would rest (Num. 9:15–23).
The two primary purposes for the silver trumpets, then, are for summoning the congregation or for breaking camp (Num. 10:2). Additionally, the priests could use the silver trumpets to sound a battle alarm (Num. 10:5–9) or to signal the beginning of feasts (Num. 10:10). From the way this is written, it sounds like building these silver trumpets was the last thing that the Israelites did before breaking camp to move to the next campsite, marching in the order that had been laid out back in Numbers 2. But in fact, there isn’t an explicit mention that the trumpets were used according to these commandments.
So, it is an interesting study to find other places where the Bible talks about the use of a trumpet—including in Psalm 47, one of the other readings for today on the full M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: “God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet” (Ps. 47:5). In the context, this seems like a battle cry, since Psalm 47 speaks about how Yahweh subdued the nations (Ps. 47:3) and that Yahweh reigns over them as King of the whole earth (Psalm 47:6–7).
Perhaps this is the idea behind what Moses said every time the ark of God set out: “Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you” (Num. 10:35). The trumpet sounded the battle alarm every time the camp broke and the ark moved.
We see a trumpet in one more place, with a similar theme to what we see elsewhere in the Bible: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God” (1 Thess. 4:16). In Psalm 47, God had “gone up with a shout,” and now Jesus “descends from heaven with a cry of command”—and again, with a trumpet. So, why the trumpet?
The trumpet will sound because Jesus is summoning his people to himself. The trumpet will sound because Jesus is breaking camp from heaven, bringing his people into their inheritance. The trumpet will sound because Jesus is returning to scatter his enemies once and for all. And the trumpet will sound because Jesus is ushering us into the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb.
Brothers and sisters, “encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.