Sounding the Shofar
"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand--" (Joel 2:1) The blowing of the trumpet or shofar is an integral part of the celebration of Yom Teruah or Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year). The sound of the shofar is designed to summon Israel, the Church and the world to repentance. It initiates what is called The Ten Days of Awe--those days leading up to Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated according to Leviticus 23:24. "...On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts." This day should be a reminder for all Believers that one day God Himself will blow the shofar as a signal that indicates the end of the age is upon us. Zechariah 9:14 declares, "The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet..."
As I mediated on Joel 2 a question arose in my mind. Could it be that the Lord is using what is happening in nature as the beginning of sounding the alarm to let us know that the time of His coming is drawing near? All creation is groaning with sound--the crackle of the fire, the rush of the wind and the crash of the waves!
Chapter 21 of Luke talks about some of the signs of the age. "Jesus said, 'When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.' Then He said to them: 'Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.'" (Luke 21:9-11) Jesus also warned his disciples that they would be brought before kings and governors on account of His name which would allow them to be witnesses to these people. He promised to give His disciples words and wisdom in these situations. (Luke 21:15)
Luke continues to record the words of Jesus in verses 25 and following: "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken."
Could it be that God is summoning us to repentance and renewal? How should we respond? Let us participate in the Ten Days of Awe. Tishrei 1 (the first of the seventh month on the Jewish calendar)--the beginning of the New Year--occurs on Thursday. Let us use this time as one of introspection and repentance. Let us turn toward the Lord in prayer and confess our sins and the sins of our nation and plead for His mercy as Daniel did for Israel in Daniel 9. This is a time of spiritual preparation for God's New Year. It is a time of getting right with Him and of preparation for the final fall feast--The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. This time, to sit at the table together in thanksgiving to the Lord, may be the time when we encounter His glory. Look at the approaching feasts as a time of opportunity--one to get right before God and to meet Him face to face.
Joan E. Mathias