Listen to the Sound of the Trumpet (Numbers 9-10)

Listen to the Sound of the Trumpet (Numbers 9-10)

Scripture reading – Numbers 9-10

Numbers 9 – The Passover Memorial

Numbers 9 marks the beginning of the second year that Israel was encamped at the base of Mount Sinai. It was “the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt” (9:1). The LORD then commanded Moses to speak to “the children of Israel [to] keep the passover” (9:2).

The Passover had been instituted by the LORD to serve as a perpetual memorial of the night He spared the firstborn of Israel from death (Exodus 12:1-14). That night, the angel of death passed over the households where the blood of the Passover lamb was applied to the door posts (Exodus 12:21-30). The day after, the LORD liberated the children of Israel from slavery (Exodus 12:31-36).

We find an occasion where some men of Israel had been defiled by handling a dead body, and were ceremonially unclean, and unable to observe the Passover (9:6-10). The LORD, in an exercise of divine grace, provided those men an opportunity to observe the Passover the next month (9:11-14).

The LORD Commanded the Starts, and Stops for His People (9:15-22)

Having promised the Tabernacle would serve as a visual reminder of His presence in the midst of Israel, when the sanctuary was raised, the LORD in a “cloud [that] covered the tabernacle…and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. 16So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night” (9:15-16).

Because the LORD was the Shepherd of Israel, the people journeyed as He led them through the wilderness. When “the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle” (9:17a), the people journeyed. When the cloud was stayed, and “the children of Israel pitched their tents” (9:17b). The LORD decreed the “starts and stops” of His people, and they followed the movements of the cloud and the pillar of fire throughout their journey (9:21-23).

Numbers 10 – Silver Trumpets Heralded the Movements of the Tribes of Israel

Israel was a theocracy, a nation whose government was under the Law of God, and was led by spiritual leaders. Aaron and his sons were tasked with the responsibility of sounding the trumpets (10:8), for the LORD had given the priests the responsibility of communicating His direction to the people.

The silver trumpets sounded four messages (10:3-10). There was a sound to assemble (10:3-4). There was a sound for journeying (10:5-6). Another sound for a call to arms (10:9). There was also a sound that heralded festivals, and sacrifices (10:10). Of necessity, the sounds of the trumpets had to be clear and distinct, for the people to understand the message (10:3-4, 7).

The departure from Mount Sinai was recorded in Numbers 10, and the nation of Israel set out on her journey for the Promised Land (10:11-13, 33-36). The leaders of the tribes are named (10:14-28); however, the cloud was a reminder of the Lord’s presence and protection. The God of Israel was the Commander and Chief of Israel.

A Closing Appeal

In his letter to Corinth, Paul warned believers that they should make certain that the teaching, and preaching they sit under is a message that leaves no uncertainty. Those who preach, and teach the Word of God should not be like a trumpet that gives an “uncertain sound” (1 Corinthians 14:8). Make sure the teaching you sit under is like the silver trumpets- the Word and the will of the LORD!

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith