THE SILVER TRUMPETS
"Make two Trumpets of Silver." Numb. 10:2.
Sinai's ordinances here end. The hallowed mount must now be left. But before the onward-signal sounds, God speaks again. A final token testifies, that Israel's every matter occupies His heart.
A mandate issues to form Trumpets. In number they are two. Their metal is pure silver. As in the golden candlestick, each is constructed from one piece. There is no joint--no link--no mixture. The priests alone may use them. Their purpose is fourfold.
1. Their liquid note convenes assemblies to the tabernacle-door.
2. They sound, when the moving pillar calls the tribes to march (verse 2).
3. They warn, when hostile armies threaten battle (verse 9).
4. On festive days they peal melodiously around the blood-stained altar. Such are these Trumpets--such their use. Each order is divine.
Reader, this is our grace-day. We live, that we may glean soul-profit. The Bible is our harvest field. Here this ordinance now meets us, and offers no small riches to our store.
An obvious thought stands on the threshold. We see God's all-pervading care. He directs all things for His people's welfare. Their least arrangements are arranged in heaven.
How happy; then, is the child of faith! The grand concerns of his eternal home are firmly settled. The door is opened--the passport is provided--fit robes are wrought, by the God-man's redeeming work. A new heart, fit for pure joys, is created by the Spirit. But this is not all. Heavenly plans are not restricted to these heavenly things. Each little matter on the earthly stage is offspring of decree. The countless links in each day's chain are framed above. The way, then, must be right, because divinely marked. Chance guides no vessel through life's waves.
Reader, hence learn to scorn no matter, as too small for thought. There are no trifles in a soul's career. Minute things sometimes seems to turn the scale for heaven or hell. Make conscience of each trivial event. It has an influence on eternity. When God appears to order two Silver Trumpets for the camp, surely He stamps all little things with magnitude.
The MATERIAL must be silver. This is a metal carefully prepared. Repeated fires cleanse it from all dross. Hence it is emblem of rare purity. "The words of the Lord are pure words--as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Ps. 12:6. Each vessel in the camp of God must be thus clean. "Holiness becomes Your house, O Lord, forever." Ps. 93:5. Ministers should precede with silver-brightness. The flock should follow, as silver without alloy.
Let us now draw nearer to the camp. Two priests are seen. Each blows a Silver Trumpet. Light falls hence on the office of God's ministers. Their voice should sound with trumpet-clearness through the flock. They are entrusted with God's message to a fallen world. Theirs is the privilege to tell the story of redeeming grace. They bear grand tidings, which are life to the dead--health to the sick--liberty to the captive--joy to the mourner--comfort to the broken-hearted--wealth to the poor--sight to the blind--recovery to the lost--strength to the weak. As heralds, they have to announce, that God is reconciled--a ransom found--a remedy provided--a Savior given--a Deliverer sent. It is their work to cry, Behold the cross--look to the dying Lamb--flee to His sheltering arms--hide in His wounded side--nestle beneath the covert of His wings--put on the glories of His righteousness--trust in His finished work--plead His atoning sacrifice--present by faith His wrath-appeasing death--receive Him, as all wisdom, joy, and peace--cling to Him through life, in death, forever--in answer to all Satan's wiles, and conscience-fears, shout, 'Christ is All'. They have to warn of the world's murderous arts--of sin's tremendous doom--of fire, which is never quenched--of anguish, which exceeds all thought--of an eternity in darkness and despair.
Should they not, then, with clarion-shrillness, rouse the flock? The Silver Trumpets sent a PIERCING note. So should the Gospel-herald utter aloud the Gospel-news. Away with timid whisper--and a stammering tongue. The servant's lips should glory in the Master's name. Let statements be unmistakable, as the sun without one cloud–clear, as the crystal stream--distinct, as the unmuffled trumpet's voice.
Note, the Trumpets were of ONE PIECE. So is the Gospel-message. It knows no mixture. It is no piece-meal fabric. It is not partly grace and partly works. It calls not men to finish what the Lord commenced. From first to last--in origin--in progress--in conclusion--Gospel-salvation is a free gift. All merit is in Christ. He opens heaven. He closes hell. He washes, decks, and fits. He presents His children pure and faultless. Their pardon and their fitness is His work. They follow Him, because He calls. They love, because He wins their hearts. They conquer, because He is their sword and shield. They persevere, because His hand upholds. Their grace is offspring of His love. Their glory is the payment of His worth. Thus Christ is All. No diverse metal soiled these Trumpets. No intermingling error should soil pulpits.
The type, moreover, fixes attention on the Christian as a worshiper--a pilgrim--a warrior--a son of joy. For let the OCCASIONS, on which these Trumpets sounded, be now more closely marked.
1. They call the people to God's sanctuary. Reader, mark this. It is a Gospel-ordinance, that worshipers should throng the holy courts--that public prayer and praise should reverence the glorious name. Who will not hasten to obey? Who will not join the people, who keep holy-day? A saintly congregation is a foretaste of heaven. It is earth's holiest scene. What sanctity pervades the spot! What blessedness inspires the company! The Triune God is mighty in the midst. The SPIRIT intercedes within the soul. He prompts longing desires. He makes sin's burden to be felt. He deepens penitential grief. He fans the flame of wrestling supplication. He brightens the torch of love. The GREAT HIGH-PRIEST draws near. He takes each prayer, and washes it in cleansing blood. He perfumes every note of praise. He then presents the fragrant sacrifice before the throne. The FATHER is well-pleased. The service is accepted. Pardons are sealed. Blessings fly down. The faithful meet to honor God. They honor and are honored. They come in faith, and they depart in peace.
Reader, do not think, say not, that such assemblage is superfluous. Doubtless God is not linked to means. He can bless in solitude, and hear in the secluded closet. But it has pleased Him to order public worship. His commands are always gain. The pious congregation thrives. Faith hears--obeys--and finds obedience to be wealth.
2. The trumpets give command to march. Christians are portion of a marching host. The Bible warns, that earth is not our rest. We live a stranger-life. We occupy a moving tent. We hold a pilgrim-staff. What is there stationary here? Our days are a fast-flowing stream. The rapid current rushes onward. Let then no heart cast anchor on these sands. Let not affection entwine its fibers around earthly stems. Our mansions are on high. Our home is far away. Be prepared for the journey. Let all be ready for departure. Death should not find a Christian unequipped for march. It is a friend, for whom expecting eyes should watch. The ears should listen for the chariot-wheels. When it appears, let there be no tremor--no surprise--no work unfinished. The Gospel's Silver Trumpets ever cry, 'Arise, Depart. Come up here'.
3. The trumpets sound for war. The life of faith is one incessant fight. Beneath the cross, a sword is drawn, of which the scabbard is cast far away. The attitude of bold defiance is assumed. Until the victor's crown is won, unflinching combat must go on. The foes are many--mighty--wily--restless. They meet us, at each step. They lurk in every corner. They infest our public walk. They enter our closed doors. They are without--around--within. Count, if you can, the hateful legions, who compose hell's hosts--they all rush at the soul. Survey the world--its snares--its foul seductions--its enticing arts--its siren calls--its smiles--its venom-sneers--its terrifying threats. Each in its turn assails--and each, when foiled, renews the assault. Behold the heart, and all its brood of lusts and raging passions. How often it betrays! How often it beguiles! The Gospel-trumpet ever cries, 'Battle is near. Stand firm. Resist'.
But when the Gospel calls, it promises sure triumph. It gives an armor, wrought by God. This, rightly used, cannot be broken. It points to a Captain, by whose side no battle can be lost--beneath whose banner, no warrior was ever slain.
Believer, hear, and go forth in hope. Face all your foes. Grasp manfully your sword. Use skillfully your shield. Lift up the head, safe in salvation's helmet. Shout boldly your great Leader's name. The fight will soon be over. The victor's song will soon be on your lips.
4. They have a further use. In the grand feasts the trumpets cheer the worshipers around the bleeding victims. While the altar streams, and happy crowds look on, the heavens resound with these exulting melodies. The precept is obeyed, "Sing aloud unto God our strength--make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob." Ps. 81:1.
Believer, thus, too, the Gospel teaches you to rejoice--to rejoice with heart abounding with melodious praise, when you in faith contemplate, and in worship plead, the meritorious death of Christ.
My soul, obey, remember Calvary, and sing--shout--pour forth music of delight. Let all, that is within you, swell the adoring chorus. Gaze on the cross--and let exulting hallelujahs testify, how fervently you love--how rapturously you extol--how undoubtingly you trust, that death, which is your life--that blood, which is your ransom--those wounds, which are your shelter--that Jesus, who is your full salvation--that Christ, who is your All.
Reader, the Gospel-trumpet is now within your hearing. But it is prelude of another melody. Yet a little while, and "the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout--with the voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God." 1 Thess. 4:16. That note will open every grave, and wake the sleeping dust, and gather mankind to the great white throne. Quickly you will hear it--for every ear shall hear. It introduces the coronation-day of saints. It is the knell of execution to the lost. Are you prepared? Do you stand ready--one with Christ? If you heed now the Gospel-trumpet calling you to Him, you will hear then the last-day-trumpet calling you to glory.
It is faith's happiest hour, when it goes forth in spirit to intermingle in the fast-coming scene. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last Trumpet--for the Trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Then shall be brought to pass the saying, that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?" 1 Cor. 15:51-55.
My soul, hark! hark! This Trumpet soon will sound. Bless Jesus--and fear not.