The Spirit likens public speaking within the church to the sounding of a trumpet. And " If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (i.e. for the day of the Lord? or the daily spiritual strife?). So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue significant words, how shall it be known (understood) what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air" (1 Cor. 14:8,9 A.V.mg.). One wonders how much 'speaking into the air' goes on from church platforms today. The Old Testament use of 'trumpet' language relates to the following ideas:
- To prepare for war
- To indicate the need to move on
- Convicting others of sin (Is. 58:1; Jer. 4:19)
- Warning of invaders (Ez. 33:3-6)
- A proclamation of the urgency to prepare for the day of the Lord (Joel 2:1)
- The certainty of salvation and God's response to prayer: " Ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God (Old Testament idiom for 'your prayers will be answered'), and ye shall be saved" (Num. 10:9).
All of these elements ought to feature in the work of our twenty first century priests. How much conviction of sin, blunt warning, forward moving inspiration, confidence building, real meaningful emphasis on the power of prayer, eager anticipation of the second coming, above all what sense of urgency in spiritual development- do you contribute, do you offer, do you have pouring from you? For we are each one members of a royal, trumpet-blowing priesthood. Israel were to be a Kingdom of priests because " Ye have seen what I did...how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself" (Ex. 19:4-6). The redemption which we have personally experienced must be the motivation to rise up to this challenge. The spirit of priesthood should therefore be seen in each of us.
If prayer for each other really can influence the possibility of each others' salvation- and there is no lack of Biblical evidence that it can- then we should each be devoted to prayer for each other. This is the work of true trumpet sounding priests. Lot's gracious deliverance from Sodom's destruction was largely due to Abraham's prayer for his deliverance; without this, it would seem Lot was altogether too unprepared and spiritually insensitive to have responded to the Angels' call in his own strength. The Lord spared Aaron because of Moses' intercession for him (Dt. 9:20); and this is perhaps the basis for James' appeal to pray for one another, that we may be healed, knowing that through our prayer and pastoral work for others, we can save a man from his multitude of sins and his soul from death (James 5:20). The very ability we have to do this for each other should register deeply with us. And in response, we should live lives dedicated to the spiritual welfare and salvation of our brethren. This should be our motivation in all areas of our service and spirituality. It could be argued that all our experiences are in order that we might be able to give out to others from our own experience of God's grace (2 Cor. 1:4-6). Even our Bible study, our desire to grow deeper in our knowledge of God, should be permeated by a desire to give this out to others. Consider how Moses asked to know God deeper in Ex. 33 and 34, and was subsequently given an inspiring theophany in which the Name of Yahweh was declared. This wasn't just a piece of exquisite intellectual stimulation for Moses. He quoted that very theophany, the things he had there learned of the essentially merciful character of God, in his matchless prayer of Num. 14:17-19, where he pleads with God not to destroy Israel and not to glorify him as God had offered. All we learn of the Father, the richness of the vision we see in Christ, all this cannot remain within us, as jottings in our Bible margins, as notes of addresses, as dimly recollected ideas in brain cells. If we have really seen, there must, inevitably and naturally, be a giving out of the vision, as trumpet sounding priests.