How did I know that I could sound the shofar? Well, to tell the truth I didn’t know that I’d be able to even make a squeak or squawk with it. One would think that with any serious outlay of cash that a person would have reasonable assurances that whatever they were making a serious investment in was going to work for them. I had no such assurances when Cheryl and I laid down our $1300.00 (plus some) and invested in the horns that I have. Now, $1300.00 to $1400.00 may not sound like much money to some, but for Cheryl and me, it was a monumental, sacrificial outlay of cash. That’s almost three house payments! That was money that our household needed. My family really could have made use of that money. I’m not talking about getting some things that we wanted. I’m talking about the provision of things we needed.
Now, Cheryl is a computer programmer. She works on government contracts. Being the government can never make its mind up in a timely or orderly fashion, she has been waiting and out of work since the first week of May 2018. You read that correctly, 2018. Her income was two thirds of our entire household income!
When our income tax return came in we were looking at bills the returns still wouldn’t pay. Cheryl said, “Be looking for your shofars.” I asked how much we could afford to spend. Her reply? “We can’t afford anything! But I’m not going to allow that to stop you from calling heaven down to earth in our home and in the lives of people in this area.”
Suddenly, I understood the seriousness of the decision at hand. I told Cheryl, “I know my heart because I have examined it and asked God to examine me. I know your heart and that you are standing with me. Let’s pray about this and come back together on it in three days and share what Holy Spirit has given us.” And that’s what we did.
Three days later, Cheryl asked me, “Have you been given a dollar amount?”
I admitted that I had not been given a dollar amount but I believe that I had an idea of the shofars that God wanted me to have. The cost $1177.00.
Cheryl, being the sensible one then proceeded to add taxes, insurance, shipping, and a few odd and end accessories for good measure. It all totaled up to $1358.00! She sat there looking at the figures before looking over to me. “That’s what God wants you to have?” She asked.
I assured that I believed it was so. “You wouldn’t rather have one horn a little larger, more expensive?” She asked.
I shook my head negatively. “No, I’ve prayed and prayed and what I’ve shown you is what I believe God wants me to have.”
Cheryl starts smiling a big Cheshire cat smile. “God had me put $1500.00 in a special account this morning. Call the man. Order your shofars.”
Now, as I mentioned earlier, a cash outlay of $1300.00 to $1400 is a serious investment for us. The problem was this, I had NEVER hefted a horn to my lips in my entire life! Not once! To say that I prayed diligently for the LORD to correct me through His Holy Spirit if this was not a true calling on my life would be a massive understatement!
Here’s the picture in a nutshell. We were spending what was a massive amount of money to us, to pay for something that I had never used before and, honestly, didn’t know if I could even LEARN how to use it. But we believed in the prophetic words that were being spoken over me and we stepped out in faith and put our cash where our faith was.
When the shofarut (that’s the plural for shofar) arrived, I pulled each out of the packaging and got at least one clear note out of each one. After saying a prayer of thanks, I put them up for the day. I didn’t have a clue how to sound the horns or even how to get consistent, clear sounds that I could reproduce at any time.
I had some uncertainties. I didn’t know how to sound a shofar. I knew what it was supposed to sound like. But I had no one to teach me, one on one, or face to face. The fellow that sold the shofars to me was very helpful regarding passages in Scripture about the shofar. His best advice on how to actually sound the shofar was, “purse your lips and blow from your diaphragm, not your cheeks. The deeper the breath, the longer you can hold the note. The tighter you purse your lips, the higher the tone of the note. And,” he continued, “if all else fails, let Holy Spirit guide you.”
Still, I didn’t feel assured, until the next day. The next day, I was reading in my Bible and Holy Spirit practically dragged me into Psalm 32 and landed me on Verse 8, which reads, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (NASB95)
There it was. Plain as day. My mentor knew what he was talking about. I did have a one-on-one face-to-face teacher. It was time to go to school. Every day, I sit or stand with these horns in my hand and I listen to Holy Spirit. I practiced. It has not been pretty. Cheryl and the girls grimace, sometimes, but they never complain. I don’t know if the dog is complaining or just singing in the spirit. But she howls right along with me when I practice. But Holy Spirit is right there, cheering me on and offering instruction.
“Loosen your upper lip! Tighten your lips! Use your tongue to control air flow! No! Not that way!” Those times are easy to ascertain. “Yes! That’s it! That’s how you do it! Now, DO IT AGAIN!” That “do it again” is difficult most of the time. Most of the time it’s difficult to remember what it was that you did correctly in the first place. But Holy Spirit lets me practice. He is patient and never seems to get frustrated with me.
When I practice now, it mostly sounds like thirty or forty minutes of high-pitched squeaks and squawks in varied volumes and transitions between notes. You don’t get from note #2 to note #3 in the same manner that you get from note #1 to note #2. Getting from note number #1 to note #3 is madness. At least it seemed to be at first. Yeah, my practice sessions at home still bring forth grimaces from the family and howls from the dog. Yet, public soundings are getting stronger and predictable. When I heft the horn in public I just pull it to my lips, close my eyes and think, “Breathe O breath of God!” You know what? What comes out of that horn is usually something I’ve never been able to do before! Most of the time I spend the rest of the next week trying to figure out how to do what I did accidentally on purpose, what the Holy Spirit did by just breathing God’s breath in my lungs through His horn.
I have a wonderful mentor. His name is Jim. I have a wonderful teacher. His name is Holy Spirit!
How did I know, when Cheryl and I laid down $1300.00 plus, that I could sound the Shofar? We didn’t know. But God knew. I find it heart rendering that Cheryl believed in me that much. I find it awe inspiring that God believed in me that much. I am thankful that I was at a point in my life where God could lift me above my unbelief.
So, what’s the point of all this? Psalm 32:8 is merely a gateway into the “ancient paths” that serve as directions and instructions for our travels in life. Hey, if God cannot “teach you”, “instruct you” in “the way you should go” and “counsel” you as He watches over you, then…who can?
I am The Old Watchman, and I travel the Ancient Paths.