Make two trumpets of hammered silver for calling the community to assemble and for signaling the breaking of camp. Numbers 10:2 (NLT)
Bells may not be the first thing that come to mind when remembering high school days—even though a pivotal part of those days. But the importance of school bells! The sound of ‘the bell’ signaled every conceivable event requiring nonpunishable movement.
Bells meant the beginning of the day and the end of the day. Class beginning and class dismissed. First and second bell. The ‘late for class’ and ‘about to be late for class’ bell. Homeroom and end of homeroom bell. Lunch periods. Student Body assemblies. Pep Rallies. Fire and Tornado Drills. The amazing thing is that we always knew the meaning of each bell, even though it was always the same bell. How did we do that? How did we know?
The silver trumpets in Numbers 10:1-8 bring about similar questions. All these trumpet blasts and alarms, sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes long, sometimes a blast. Signals for the people—a large group spread out in the desert gathering manna, complaining, repairing tents, etc. How did they hear the trumpets? And if they did hear, how did they know if they should go to church or start packing? Sure Moses told them about the trumpet sounds, but how did they recognize a blast from an alarm? How could there be any certainty that only one had sounded?
In high school, we didn’t really stress over ‘the bell’ ringing or its meaning. We simply trusted it would ring. Subconsciously we learned 1) to listen for the bell, 2) to discern its meaning, and 3) react accordingly. It must have been the same for the Israelites. They didn’t stress over the trumpets sounding but knew they would eventually. They learned to listen for the trumpets and to know if they should stay or if they should go.
It would be really nice if God used trumpets or bells today to give guidance and direction. “Oh Lord, should I look for a new job or tough it out here?”
Trumpets, bells, writing a message in the sky, etc. are perfectly good ways that God could tell us what we want to know. But instead, He has chosen another method—His Holy Spirit. The Helper who comes in Jesus’ Name teaching all things (John 14:26) and helping us to understand all things God has given us (1 Cor. 2:12).
Like the Israelites learned to interpret trumpets and like we learned to interpret high school bells, we can learn to interpret the Spirit’s signals. The Spirit will help us attune ourselves to God’s voice, actively listen for Him, and subsequently discern the meaning of a message, whisper, passage, maybe even a trumpet or bell, whatever God sends.
In a bad job situation, it is all too easy to focus all of our attention on just that—the bad job situation. But narrowly focusing on one thing can cause something else to be missed. God knows what you are going through.
Stay open to God’s signals. He may nudge you to leave, as in update the resume, look at job postings, start applying for other positions, or maybe even walk out the door. But He may tell you to stay. Either way, it is necessary to learn to listen for and discern His signals. To know if you should stay or if you should go.
Spend time listening for the Holy Spirit speaking, prompting, and/or urging you in some direction. If a teenager can learn to do this with bells, certainly you and I can learn to do it in the presence of God’s Spirit.
Listen for the signals. Stay attentive. Learn to discern. And rest assured, when God signals you, somewhere deep in your soul, you will know. You don’t know how you know, but you know you know. You know? Maybe God is telling you to leave. Maybe He is telling you to stay. Trust that God has your best interests at heart, as well as what’s best for His Kingdom.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” 1 Corinthians 2:12
Holy Spirit, I want to stay attuned to God’s voice and learn to discern the meaning of whatever He communicates. I don’t want to mistake my agenda for what God is telling me. Help me to remember that I will know that I know. And to be patient for and trust the assurance that comes from You. And help my spirit, mind, and body accept what is discerned knowing that God has Kingdom interests at heart, which include my best interests. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.