The “Feasts” Series #3
"FEAST OF TRUMPETS!"
TEXTS: Lev. 23:23-25; Num. 29:1-6; 10:1-10; Neh. 8:1-12; 1 Thess. 4:16-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-52
INTRO: The “Feast of Trumpets” was New Year's Day in Israel, today called "Rosh Hashanah." It was a day for Israel to look forward and celebrate the future possibilities ... as well as to rest from the past year of hard work and harvest! The mood was one of celebration.
It was a time for old wounds to be healed, new hopes were born, the harvest was finished and collected ... the people enjoyed the rest that came from finished responsibilities; this was the order of the day and dreaming ahead! It was kicked off by blowing trumpets; everyone within hearing distance would come to celebrate a new day … and a new year!
ILLUS: God is no distant deity but a constant reality, a very present help whenever needs occur. So? So live like it. And laugh like it! [The apostle] Paul did. While he lived he drained every drop of joy out of every day that passed. -- Charles R. Swindoll in Laugh Again. Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 13.
PROP.SENT: The Word of God teaches us that we are to rest in God's grace which is more than sufficient to deal with our past ... and to celebrate the life in Christ we now have and into eternity, to dream and be filled with the hopes of tomorrow and the walk of faith! Let the trumpets blast!
I. REST Num. 29:1 Lev. 23:23-25 Neh. 8:1-12
A. New Year! Num. 29:1 Lev. 23:23-25
1. The Trumpets called the attention to all Israelites that a new time had begun!
a. All that were within hearing were expected to stop everything and come together to celebrate the new beginning!
b. This would herald a time of focusing on "newness" and “rest” from the heavy responsibilities of the fall harvest which were now over!
c. They were expected to not only forget past failures, but to not continue relying on past successes ... it was time to look forward!
2. The fruit of their past labors were gathered in ... “rest” was the order of the day and dreaming ... but not sleepiness!
a. The fruit of their past year's faithfulness was to be joy, humility, gladness etc.
b. This kind of “rest” resulted in lively celebration rather than sleepiness!
c. It is like Paul's statement in Philip. 3:12-14 "FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND ... I PRESS ON..." “rest,” with activity!
ILLUS: At Harzburg in the Hartz mountains, we were awakened early in the morning, according to an ancient custom, by the sound of a trumpet, which made us pray that when the last trumpet sounds it may awaken us to an endless Sabbath. It would be wonderful if all hearts and minds heard at the dawn of the Lord's day "the sound of a trumpet," so that every faculty might be aroused to the highest activity of holy service. Sleepy hearing, praying, and singing are terrible. Sleepy preaching and teaching are worse, yet how common they are, and how many need the trumpet at the ear! -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)
B. New You! Neh. 8:1-12
1. Several interesting events take place in Ezra's and Nehemiah's day concerning the Feast of Trumpets:
a. Instead of being held at just the Temple it was celebrated in the square ... a signal that this "NEW" life was to be carried into the marketplace, not just at the house of worship!
b. In Solomon's day the presence of God appeared so powerfully in the Temple that the priests couldn't even be in the Temple ... the people were brought to a place of worship and praise due to the spectacular nature of God's glory in the Temple:
c. It is the reading of the Word of God that moves the people in the center of the town square!
(1. The Christian life can certainly appreciate the moving experiences of a demonstrative service, but...
(2. The strength of our witness will fall upon the Word being alive in our lives in the marketplace!
d. Ezra read the Word of God for about 6 hours and explained the passages ... a long sermon; but notice Neh. 8:3b "they listened attentively…" (13 men stood on the platform with him ... (Verse 4); while another 13 men walked through the crowd and helped explain the Word to the people. (See Neh. 8:7) It is interesting to note that during the 6 hour sermon the people were standing!!
2. Notice the dynamics of this worship setting: Neh. 8:5-12
a. First there was the blowing of the trumpets ... to signal the start.
b. They all gathered together in one place ... the square.
c. Ezra stood on a platform and opened the Word of God ... upon which the people stood in reverence for God's Word.
d. Ezra then praised the Lord in prayer!
e. The people entered into that praise with lifted hands and shouts of "AMEN, AMEN!" (Sounds quite Pentecostal at this point!)
f. Then they bowed down showing humility and worshiped God!
g. The Word of God was read and explained so all could understand!
h. The people were convicted of their sins because of the Word.
I. Nehemiah stands up and tells the people to no longer weep or mourn ... it was a "new" time ... God’s grace covered all, they were to celebrate now, not weep!
ILLUS: If there had been no fear of failure, neither would there be any joy in success. -- Paul Tournier, Leadership, Vol. 2, no. 1.
j. The people responded to this grace of God by great joy and sharing portions of food with each other ... sharing and generosity broke out ... and a new strength for the New Year was ushered in!
3. It was a time to remind them of the NEW people they were in a NEW year, even as we are a "NEW people in a NEW age!"
II. RESPONSIBILITIES Num. 29:2-6; 10-1-10
A. Never Yawning! Num. 29:2-6
1. This day of rest did not mean slothfulness ... it was full of responsibilities!
a. So is grace! Though it is God's favor and His rest for us from trying foolishly to work our sins off it still does not mean laziness, it means liveliness!
b. Though we rest ... we must not sleep!
c. Resting would give them the strength to serve, not to sleep!
d. Real biblical resting will not make a person inactive ... but more active!
2. Numerous sacrifices were required on this day ... real worship is impossible without real sacrifices!
a. Because they could rest from their works they could live out a life of righteousness!
b. Worship enabled them to work, just as Adam’s first day was the Sabbath, and then he worked for 6 days following. (Remember, Adam’s first full day of existence was the 7th day, or the Sabbath … he started life worshipping, then worked.
3. THE POINT: Getting saved isn't all God calls us to ... He also calls us to SERVE!
ILLUS: During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives. One day in 1789, the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand. Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, "The Day of Judgement is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought."
Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we're to be lights as we watch and wait. -- Henry Heintz, Troy, New York. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 2.
a. Every Christian is called to different responsibilities and numerous sacrifices.
b. If God's rest is not followed with responsibilities the Christian grows lazy and indifferent ... and a spiritual weakness or tiredness slips in ... with a deep lack of joy!
c. God wants "serving" saints, not “sleepy ones!”
d. The whole purpose of REST is so that you can be fresh to serve!
e. Rest in grace ... but don't sit around yawning!
B. Needful Yielding! Num. 10:1-10
1. The “Trumpets” would become an important part of Israel's life ... sounded for different reasons, but always to get their attention!
a. To gather them for worship.
b. To gather them for war!
c. To gather them for the feasts.
d. To signal the start or finish to something ... like marking off time.
2. The sounds were different depending on what the people were being called for ... it was imperative that they knew the distinction between the calls so they could properly respond!
a. Could you imagine the people responding to a call to worship by showing up prepared for a fight! (*there are people who do this today ... the call to worship on Sunday is an invitation for them to fight with someone or carry a grudge!)
b. Imagine the call to war ... and everyone showing up with a hymnal and their Sunday best, without responding to the war blast they might come unprepared for battle ... and so lose everything!
3. It is also noteworthy that God gave the instructions for blowing the trumpet, but it was the peoples’ responsibility to choose to respond!
a. God would call them into battle and promise them victory ... but they had to go and march out to war and fight!
b. God won't make you yield to the call ... His responsibility is to blow the trumpet ... too many hear God blow a trumpet for worship and they are willing to respond ... but when He blows the trumpet to fight they want to sit back and relax!
ILLUS: We decided to let our three-year-old son record the message for our home answering machine. The rehearsals went smoothly: "Mommy and Daddy can't come to the phone right now. If you'll leave your name, phone number, and a brief message, they'll get back to you as soon as possible."
Then came the test. I pressed the record button and our son said sweetly, "Mommy and Daddy can't come to the phone right now. If you'll leave your name, phone number, and a brief message, they'll get back to you as soon as Jesus comes." -- John G. McFayden, Woodbridge, Virginia. Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom."
4. It is good to respond to the trumpet to worship ... BUT we need people to respond to the trumpet of service also!
a. If everyone stayed home when the trumpet sounded for action ... they would be defeated!
b. Together however, they would be an invincible force as they served together in worship and war!
5. All that was needed was a yielded heart and body!
III. RESURRECTION 1 Thess. 4:16-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-52
A. Now Yearning! 1 Thess. 4:16-18
1. We are waiting today for a great trumpet blast ... how we yearn to hear it!
a. What a sound it will be ... like the “Feast of Trumpets” it will call all believers together ... for a time of celebration and feasting!
b. It too will usher in the “New Year” of the Lord!
c. This will be one trumpet blast that even the long dead saints of God will hear and respond to ... you won't be able to keep a good saint down!
d. Instead of just a “New Year” celebration it will be a "NEW LIFE CELEBRATION!"
ILLUS: The immense step from the Babe at Bethlehem to the living, reigning triumphant Lord Jesus, returning to earth for his own people -- that is the glorious truth proclaimed throughout Scripture. As the bells ring out the joys of Christmas, may we also be alert for the final trumpet that will announce his return, when we shall always be with him. -- Alan Redpath in The Life of Victory. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 14.
2. Let the TRUMPET BLAST!!!!
B. Near? YES! 1 Cor. 15:51-52
1. The Feast of Trumpets started with the sound of trumpets ... it meant the entire harvest period had ended ... all the harvest was in!
a. Until then we must continue to bring in the harvest ... the big celebration will come but now we need to work!
b. This is what Jesus said, "LOOK ON THE FIELDS THEY ARE RIPE TO HARVEST NOW ... PRAY FOR LABORERS!"
2. The final trumpet blast will be the final Feast of Trumpets!
ILLUS: In the Old Testament, under God's command, trumpets were used to call the princes and the congregation together, to announce the journeying of the camps, and as an alarm or notification device. Trumpets were also blown in the days of Israel's "gladness," "set feasts," and over their sacrifices in the beginning of their months (Num 10:1-6, Num 10:10). I believe that it is in this sense of gladness for the Church of Jesus Christ that this last trumpet will be blown. Can there be any more joyous event than this, when the dead in Christ shall be raised incorruptible, and living believers shall be similarly changed? The Lord's trumpet will call all believers, dead and living, to join Him in possessing a glorious resurrection body. – Source Unknown
a. The prophecies in Scripture indicate that we are nearing that time!
b. The harvest is truly plentiful.
c. Laborers are DESPERATELY NEEDED NOW!
d. Party time will come ... when the trumpet blasts ... what a “New Year,” OR BETTER A NEW ETERNITY FOR THE SAINTS will be ushered in!
CONCLUSION: The Word of God proclaims God's grace ... His rest for us, and asks us to proclaim this rest to others. Jesus’ soon return should encourage us to reach as many as possible while there is yet time ... the final Feast of Trumpets will soon be here, the trumpet will blare! ... PRAISE GOD!