Awaken to the Voice of God
This is the second day of Elul in the year 2022 on the Gregorian Calendar.
The sound of the Shofar is that which is like the voice of God!
That’s a bold statement but it is true.
September 9, 2018, I was working at my desk when I heard a Ram’s Horn Shofar for the first time. My wife, Cheryl, was watching a live feed streaming on her computer of the opening festivities of Rosh Hoshana, Yom Teruah, as it is called in the Bible. Yom Teruah is “the day of the great shout”. Which makes sense considering that a shout is often associated with the sounding of the biblical trumpet in the Bible. “Rosh Hoshana” means “head of the year” and is the first day of the Jewish Civil Calendar.
The sound of the Ram’s Horn shofar was unlike any that I’d ever heard. It cleaved my soul, pierced my heart, embedded in my spirit, and stirred something so deeply within me that I am unable to express or convey the experience adequately with terms or words in any known language. The closest that I can come to convey the experience to use would be by using simile and comparison.
When I heard the sound of the shofar for the first time it was as if I had been abruptly snatched from the deepest state of sleep possible and suddenly thrust into a supersonic, hyperacute, state of awareness! It was if I had been……AWAKENED!
I recall running over to Cheryl’s desk and exclaiming, “What was THAT?”
When the shofar sounded again, it was if my flesh was subjected to a shockwave from a massive explosion. It was as if the sound of the shofar was speaking to me. Then, the mighty Yemenite shofar was sounded. That is the long, spiraled horn of the Greater African Kudu that most people think of when they hear the word shofar or trumpet. But when that trumpet sounded, I pointed my finger at the monitor and said, “That’s mine!”
Cheryl asked me what I meant by saying that.
My response? “I don’t know. But that trumpet, that shofar is speaking to me!” Of course, she wanted to know what it was saying. My response? “I don’t know.” At the time I didn’t know but now I can tell you that it was saying, “WAKE UP! Pay attention! Pay very close attention!”
All I can tell you is that I believed that something was being offered to me and I had accepted “it”. The only problem was that I had no idea as to what “it” was or where it would lead me. The shofar, the sound of which is like the Voice of God, was being offered. I often tremble under the responsibility of that gift.
In the Book of Revelation, in the first chapter and tenth verse, John wrote,
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet.” Revelation 1:10 (NASB95)
It is clear that God was speaking to John and that His voice was like the sound of a trumpet. That was precisely the experience that I’d had. I was at my desk as Cheryl was watching the live feed streaming in on her computer, with my back towards her. I had heard a loud voice, like the sound of a trumpet, from behind me.
In Revelation 4:1, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Revelation 4:1 (NASB)
Again, it is very clear that God was speaking to John in a voice like that of a trumpet! Now I’m a question asking fool, so I had to ask myself, “Had God ever spoken with a voice like a trumpet, a shofar, previously? How did John know the sound of a trumpet and how did he recognize the sound of a trumpet as God’s voice?
Exodus 19:9, “The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. Exodus 19:9 (NASB95 emphasis is my own)
Exodus 19:13, “No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live. When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” Exodus 19:13 (NASB95 emphasis is my own)
In these two verses, God confirms that He will speak to Moses and that the sons of Israel will hear Him speak with Moses. Not only that, God would call Moses and the people of Israel to Mt. Sanai with the long blast of a ram’s horn! The long blast of the shofar is known as the TEKIAH. When the presence of God denotes TEKIAH GODOLAH which is the long blast held as long and the person has breath. However, we see something remarkable as we continue.
Exodus 19:16-17, “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Exodus 19:16-17 (NASB95 emphasis is my own)
Exodus 19:19, “When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. Exodus 19:19 (NASB95 emphasis is my own)
God had called Moses and the sons of Israel to Mt. Sanai with a voice that sounded like a trumpet! John, in Revelation, knew these Scriptures and recognized the sound of the trumpet in Revelation 1:10 and 4:1 as the voice of God speaking to him! I had recognized that the sound of the trumpet was speaking to me, but I did not immediately discern that God was speaking to me or what was being said at the moment.
But again, I had questions. Remember? I’m the question asking fool. How did Moses and the people of Israel know the sound of the trumpet? How did they associate that sound with God’s voice? What was the purpose?
The answer in regards to the purpose is found Exodus 20:18-20, “All the people perceived the thunder and lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let God not speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” Exodus 20:18-20 (NASB95 emphasis is my own)
But how did Moses and the sons of Israel recognize the sound of the ram’s horn as the Voice of God?
Well, for starters, God told Moses in Exodus 19:13 that He would call them with a long blast of the ram’s horn. God was saying, “Here I am! Come to Me!” But how did they know what a ram’s horn shofar was?
That answer is found in Genesis 22:13, “Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for burnt offering in the place of his son.” Genesis 22:13 (NASB95)
Here, we have the first instance of a Ram caught by its horns in a thicket. That ram, a male sheep, was sacrificed in place of Abraham’s son Isaac. It is believed, as historical evidence, that this is where the ram’s horn shofar originated. I find it remarkable that a ram, a male sheep, was sacrificed for Abraham’s son, Isaac. I find it even more remarkable that, at a later time, a sheep would be slaughtered, and the blood smeared on lintels and door posts during the Passover when God led Israel out of Egypt. I find it astounding that the Son of God would be later sacrificed for the “sheep”. What impresses me to no end that each of these three events took place on a new moon. They ALL took place on the fourteenth day of the first month! That’s not January 14th by the way. I’ll explain later.
What am I saying? I’m saying that the sound of the shofar is that which is like the voice of God! It’s biblically sound. Scripture supports it. Scripture documents it as a fact.
I’m going to stop here because I’m going to get ahead of myself, and I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with too much information at one time. I’ll be back tomorrow. I am
The Old Watchman, Ezekiel. See you then. Shalom!