On Hebrew Tradition, The Shofar

The Watchmans Shofar

 

This article by Keeney Dickenson speaks so profoundly to the church today; a church that has “tolerated that woman Jezebel”. Hosea’s cry to the adulterous church of his day was to “Blow the shofar in Zion” and return to God. This same cry echo’s from my heart today.

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Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand… For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it? “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him… Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly… (Joel 2:1, 11-15 NKJV).

In the biblical world, the image of the watchman was very familiar. He was a man strategically placed on the wall of the city with two objectives: (1) to be perceptive, and (2) to be protective of the city. It was imperative that the watchman remain awake, alert, and attentive. He was to keep his eye on the enemy, and his lips on the shofar. It would be tragic for the watchman’s slumber to result in shattered walls and a city under siege.

The Old Testament refers to spiritual watchmen, strategically placed among the people of God to watch, and to warn them of approaching spiritual danger and assault: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me” (Ezekiel 3:17 NKJV).

The spiritual watchman was to be an intercessor (Isaiah 62:6-7) and a messenger (Ezekiel 33:7). In prayer, he was to hear the divine warning, and in preaching, he was to herald that divine warning to God’s people. In order to fulfill his responsibilities the watchman had to live in the constant awareness of the need for divine assistance and intervention on behalf of His people: “… Unless the LORD  guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1NKJV).

Today, the walls are crumbling while the watchmen are slumbering! “His watchmen are blind, they are ignorant; they are dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yes, they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory” (Isaiah 56:10-11 NKJV). These verses tragically describe the ministerial landscape of the church today. The very ones whom God has called to protect His people are patronizing the enemy by welcoming the world to shape the church. The church is suffering at the hands of men who are better acquainted with the ways of the world than with the ways of God. However, God and His Word are unchanging (Mal. 3:6; Is. 40:8). The severe warnings of our holy God remain in place:

 

“Woe to the rebellious children,” says the LORD, “who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and trust in the shadow of Egypt shall be your humiliation… Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!” (Isaiah 30:1-3; 31:1 NKJV).

It is my prayer that this resource will be a reverberating echo of the sound of the trumpet of heaven. May it awaken the watchmen and assist them in sounding the alarm and calling God’s people back to Him! Brethren “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it…” (Colossians 4:2 NKJV). Blow the trumpet in Zion!

By Keeney Dickenson

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