On the day of the Tabernacle, the tent of the covenant Law was set up, the Cloud covered it. From evening till morning, the cloud above the Tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night, it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set. Whenever the cloud settled, the Israelites set up camp. At the Lord’s command, they set up camp. As long as they cloud stayed over the Tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the Tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the Tabernacle for only a few days, at the Lord’s command, they would set up camp. Then, at His command, they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening until morning and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites remained in camp and not set out, but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord’s command they set up camp and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order in accordance with His command through Moses. (Numbers 9:15 – 23)
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Make two trumpets of silver. You shall make them of beaten work. You shall use them for the calling of the congregation, and for the journeying of the camps. When they blow them, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the door of the Tent of Meeting. But if they blow just one, then the leaders, the heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves to you. When you blow an alarm, the camps that lie on the east side shall go forward. When you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that lie on the south side shall go forward. They shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm. The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets. This shall be to you for a statute forever throughout your generations. When you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets. Then you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. “Also in the day of your gladness, and in your set feasts, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be to you for a memorial before your God. I am the LORD your God.” (Numbers 10:1-10)
We see here a classic illustration of the ways of God, which are above our ways. Now, any human being will preferably have routine seasons and gaps between actions. But here, we see that the Lord could stop moving for just one evening sometimes – just one night. And other times, He could stop for a year or maybe years. Sometimes, He could move at night when it would not seem wise to do so; it would seem the day is the time to move.
But as you know from the story of the Lord Jesus Christ as a baby, that it was at night that the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph saying, “Take the child and his mother...” and they moved to Egypt.
It is very likely that if they moved during the day, they would have died. And what if Joseph was not obedient and said, “No, I’ll move in the morning; I’ll move when it’s convenient…”?
Sometimes, the Lord tells us to move when it’s very inconvenient. The important thing is, “What is the Lord saying?” ‘At the Lord’s command’ is the operative term, and it is what we must always look for.
Now, the Lord in His ways (which always require faith, because you can see no other reason for the apparent difficulty or uncertainty) could have as well informed them of His plans ahead of time, but He would ‘jump’ [not tell] them. At times, He would seem to surprise them — He would just arise and move.
For all I care, He could have told Moses, “In two days, you’ll be moving.” He spoke to Moses, who also encountered Him constantly. But no — the cloud would arise before everyone’s eyes. There’d be an obviousness to the Lord’s intentions, not just to the leader (Moses), but to the rest of the people. There may be two, five, twenty, or a thousand people outside when the cloud lifted or when the cloud rested on the Tabernacle. The important thing is that some people would see it first, but eventually, the rest would see it.
God refused to make the moving of the camps simply something that only the leadership of God’s congregation are to recognize. This buttresses the super importance of leadership not being proud or thinking that God speaks only through them, as we have experienced as a congregation in God’s Lighthouse. We have these seasons where God begins to call us either to come together, go out and do something, or go spread the Gospel, and [the prophetic leadings] always come from the house! The words always come from a generality; it could come from the newest addition to our church family, but it’s never individuals [who may not be] meeting together but who send in their prophetic revelation, dreams, or an encounter they had to the leadership who begins to look at it. And these are the things that guide me in blowing the trumpet, in announcing the move.
What are the Trumpets for?
The Trumpets are the signals to the people to move: again, underlining the fact that it’s not everyone that sees the signal in the same way at the same time. They might be facing away from the Tabernacle, or even if they are facing towards it, everyone may not be outside [when the trumpet is blown].
Secondly, though they might be outside and everyone might be aware that there is a call, [some] people might be sounding alarms. Picture our congregation meeting in different places, in their houses, and [those groups] receive prophetic words as is often the case, and we start saying, “Oh, yes, someone got this, and another got this, and another got this…” , and we start wondering, “Maybe [God is leading us in this direction]…”.
No matter how clear it is to whatever number of people, there must be coordinated movement [in and out of the camp], and that is what the blowing of the trumpets is for.
We see in Numbers 10:5 that, when the trumpet was blown once, it was a signal for those facing the east to set out. And then, the second blast was for those on the south. I suppose the third blast would be for another and the same goes for the fourth blast, and it would go on like that. So, you have the different contingents, the divisions of God’s people moving out in an orderly fashion since everything must be done decently and in order. The different tribes faced four different directions. On the four sides, there were three tribes each. So, they’d march out in sequence. Therefore, it is not enough that God has said, “Move”; “Set out”; “Start marching”; “Go to war”; or “Offer Me praise”; whatever it is [should be done in an orderly way].
We saw the different reasons for setting out and for blowing the trumpet. The major reason for setting out is to move at the time they are in the wilderness, depending on the stage of that group of people.
There are times all they are doing is moving from one place to another; they are proceeding according to the will of God to the Promised Land, to the place He’d have them have an inheritance. So, that’s one reason for moving.
Another reason for moving is to go and offer sacrifices during the appointed feasts, to give praise to Him, and the trumpet was also sounded then.
So, the trumpets are sounded to:
— help you move,
— help you worship God at set times,
— help you fight battles,
— help you memorialize your sacrifices, and
— mark the change of season.
It’s a call to war. It’s a call to movement. It’s a call to praise. It’s the marker for seasons of change! All these are the reasons for the trumpet. The trumpet calls are the will of God being expressed through the voices of men.
Who Sounded the Trumpets?
The priests had the duty of sounding them, not everyone. Not just anyone, but those whose day to day lives are for the sole purpose of serving the household of God; who act as intermediaries between the God of Heaven and the people.
Now, let’s go on a short rabbit trail: constantly, people point out that under the New Covenant, everyone is the same and everyone has access in the same way. I understand that the blood of Jesus makes way for us all. I understand that Exodus 19 tells the people of Israel also that they were chosen and that they’d be a kingdom of priests, just as we know under the New Covenant in the Book of 1 Peter 2:9. But just as it was then, it is now.
God separates some He gives to some apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. He provides intermediaries – the men of God. He chooses a whole people, calls them a holy nation under the Old Covenant and does the same under the New, but He selected some to be with Him. He called them apostles and He gave them a responsibility — foundational responsibilities.
Every house must have foundations; every house must have a builder. In Hebrews 3:1-6 , Moses had a job. Now the priesthood represented before in the Levitical or Aaronic format had the duty – No man takes the honour upon himself (Hebrews 5:4); Blessed is the man whom God chooses to approach Him (Psalm 65:4). God chose the family of Levi and specifically, the house of Aaron.
In Numbers 16, Korah of the family of Levi, together with the people from the family of Reuben, Dathan and Abiram, who were of the first son’s family (Reuben was the first son), became defiant, got up and said, “Hey, all the people are holy!” And Moses came to them and (just like Psalm 65:4 says) told them, “God will show the one He has chosen.” We already know that he’d chosen all the nation of Israel. We already know that in Abraham, He’d chosen all. He made a specific promise in Exodus 19. He said, “Tell the people, if they will obey Me, I will make them a kingdom of priests, a special possession to me.”
Moses went down the mountain and told them. They said, “We agree” through their elders. But here, you have God selecting specifically when Moses goes up and down the mountain a couple of times and they are sinning. Moses said, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” The tribe of Levi separated themselves, and God said, “You have been set apart today,… you are blessed this day. Exodus 32:29. He then chose them to represent the first born of every family. That’s how that distinction was made. Then, you have Him emerge from there and extract further the family of Aaron from that tribe of Levi.
God always prefers representative responsibility. It reduces consequences on too many. It restricts chaos. It helps maintain order. There are many reasons why God selects a few to represent the whole, and it’s just plain wisdom. For example, you have the first two sons of Aaron – Nadab and Abihu – offer incense wrongly with strange fire; only two of them die. If God were to put that on every first son, that is, if everyone came with his own incense from that wrong source of fire, all of them would be dead.
Now, back to the story in Numbers 16. Korah, Dathan and Abiram were not alone. They also had 250 men who were leaders, and they arose against Moses and contended with him. What happened?
The scriptures tell us that Moses told them, “God will decide whom He has chosen – we will see it tommorow.” And you know how that story ended: the ground opened and consumed them, and a fire burnt up those 250 men. In other words, though there was a general choosing of these people to some degree or other, there was no specific cause to approach. God did not give them that duty.
They made censers; for Moses said “Everyone bring your censers”; they did, and they died.
In simple words, they were rejected. If God had accepted Aaron’s own household as you can see in Leviticus 12; if He had accepted Nadab and Abihu as priests and later on rejected them, that shows us that with God, nothing is eternally constant with regards to His dealings with man. You can disqualify yourself. So, if these sons of Aaron who were once accepted became rejected, how much more those that were accepted as part of a nation but never even appointed as part of the priesthood? Levites were given to the priests to serve as a gift from God. They were not to take it upon themselves to offer incense.
With God, you always take only as much as He has given you. You dare not overextend yourself. When you do that, you are in what I call the ‘Disobedience Realm’, and the devil has a right to bring an accusation against you and succeed. If not that, God Himself will strike you down because, to whom you yield yourself a servant to obey, his servant you are [Romans 6:16]. And if you are not yielding to God as servants, then, you are not being His servant. What then are you doing in His presence? You have approached the King without permission and His sceptre will not be stretched towards you; you will not find His favour. And the consequences of appearing without permission will come on you. [Esther 4:11]
Therefore, we must be aware that the truth of our choosing is limited to the One who chooses. You cannot impose upon God _’specialness’_ that He has not given you. You can only be accepted to the extent that He is the one accepting you. We do not determine by our own strength our acceptability.
Back to the trumpet:
Only the priests had the right to blow it, in spite of the recognition by others of the movement of the cloud. Only the priests had the right to call people to the fight or call people to gather to praise, or gather them to communicate an announcement, (for the trumpets were also blown to cause them to congregate).
The Responsibility of the Chosen
At all times, there is a responsibility on those God has chosen for different duties to do what they are called to. When they fail to do it, and anyone takes it upon themselves to carry out a responsibility that is not theirs, they expose those people to a backlash that will hurt them or take their very lives. This is why the priests must be responsible; it’s why they must be brave and bold. The priests are the ones that marched in front of the men as they went around the city of Jericho. They are the ones that marched with Jehoshaphat and his army. The priests must be with the army.
The priests are the ones that go ahead and the sons of Levi (the Levites) go ahead and praise God in the beauty of holiness. When you do this as the Lord commands, victory is assured because He said He will hear it, it will come up to Him as a memorial.
Therefore, in no way can we consider slightly the matter of blowing the trumpet, calling the people together, and rejoicing when the Lord demands it. It’s the job of those whose lives have been consecrated to the work of serving the temple, serving the people who present gifts, offerings and sacrifices, on behalf of the people to God. It’s representative action to those appointed for such responsibilities. This is the power of the trumpets. This is the purpose. Isaiah 58:1 says: Cry aloud, do not spare, lift up your voice like a trumpet….
If we obey, victory goes forth; the people will gather, deliverances will be commanded for Jacob and movements will commence. The people will set forth, or the people will stop moving, depending on the time and the season and the purpose of God. Blessed is the one who hears these things and does them!
— Pastor Ita Udoh
© God’s Lighthouse 2021