Are you ready? This is an ancient trumpet used in Bible times to communicate urgent messages to the people. A blast on this was a call to attention, an urgent warning, a sign that something was about to happen.
I found a lot of references to trumpets in the Bible today. From the trumpet sound that announced the arrival of the Lord in Exodus to the seven trumpets of Revelation. All of them saying:
Stop, look, listen, pay attention. Whatever it is you were waiting for is happening now!
There’s something quite scary about the idea of an unexpected trumpet call announcing something big and imminent. Like an air-raid siren or smoke alarm going off, you have to react immediately, follow a plan you already made, be ready.
Reading Nehemiah especially it strikes me how much his fellow builders were ready. With one hand they were building up the wall, and in the other hand they held a weapon. They knew that the moment the trumpet sounded they needed to gather together and defend themselves. To switch instantly from building to battle. No time even to swap one implement for the other. They hadn’t stopped doing what they were called to do- but they were ready.
For Nehemiah’s men the trumpet was a warning – a message that you need to start fighting, right now. In the other verse that caught my attention today the trumpet sound heralds good news- the best news- that Jesus is about to return:
In either case, the blast of the trumpet is not saying ‘now’s the time to get ready’. I suspect that if you wait to get ready until you hear the trumpet, it might already be too late.
I have no idea when that final trumpet call is going to sound, and no interest in predicting when it might. But I know I want to be ready. And I know that until then we’re not supposed to stop and do nothing and just watch… That’s the job of the guy with the trumpet. Our job is to be ready and to get on with the task we’ve been given at the same time. And maybe to know what we’re going to do when the trumpet sounds.
But I wonder as well if there might be moments when God blows a trumpet in our individual lives or the lives of our church communities. Each one saying ‘pay attention- the time is now’. Sometimes a warning, sometimes a herald, but every time vitally important that we hear and respond.
Are we ready to drop everything and listen up; to discern whether it’s time to enter into a new battle, or whether God is about to arrive in our lives in a new way?