And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
There is a manifest connection between the cloud and the trumpets. At Sinai there was "a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud" (Exodus 19:16). This seems to have been a miraculous sound, but Jehovah now orders Moses to have two silver trumpets made for permanent use. Thus trumpets as well as cloud were remembrancers of Sinai. God uses sound along with light to signify his will to his people; he appeals not only to their eyes, but also to their ears. Though the cloud was there they were not ever watching it. The longer it rested, the less conscious of its presence they became. Therefore God added the sound of the trumpets, a sudden, startling sound, to stop each one in his work, or raise him out of his sleep.
I. GOD TAKES SUFFICIENT MEANS TO CONVEY TO MEN ALL THAT IT IS NEEDFUL FOR THEM TO KNOW. Exactly where they would next pass, and how long stay there, and how long be in the wilderness, the Israelites knew not; but when the hour came for them to move, it was of the first importance that none should be in ignorance or doubt. So with regard to the practical matters of the gospel; we may take it as perfectly certain that difficulties with regard to salvation and Christian duty are in us, not in God. Men have eyes, yet see not; ears, yet hear not. They clamour for more light, more evidence, more signs. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead." And now they have also Christ and the apostles to listen to. All the great appeals and proclamations of the gospel have the trumpet sound in them; only men are so drenched and stupefied with the opiates of sin that the sound is as if it were not.
II. GOD COULD USE THE ONE AGENT TO INDICATE MANY REQUIREMENTS. There were always the same two trumpets, but sounded in different ways for different purposes. There was one sound for the princes, and another for the people. The trumpet called them to the march, and in later days, when the marching was over, it called them to the battle. It had to do with great religious occasions, and times of special gladness, e.g., the jubilee year (Leviticus 25:9). So there is one Spirit and diversity of operations. There is the Spirit calling the attention of men by signs and wonders; there is the same Spirit breathing through the men who wrote book after book of the Scriptures. And now these Scriptures lie like a silent silver trumpet, till the same Spirit, breathing through them, makes them to teach, console, promise, warn, according to the need of the individual who listens. The trumpet of God gives no uncertain sound (1 Corinthians 14:8). Paul trusted it with the most complete confidence in his missionary work (Acts 16:6-10). There is a trumpet sound telling us not only to do something for God, but exactly what to do. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
III. THE TRUMPET WAS FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS. It was not a daily sound. It indicated fresh departures, and was associated with great celebrations. Between the soundings there were intervals for the quiet practice of everyday duties. It is good thus to have the ordinary and the extraordinary mingled in our life. It is an ill thing both for individuals and communities to be settled too long in the same circumstances. Too much change is bad, but too much rest is worse. Times of quiet, plodding toil scarcely noticed, faithfulness in little things day after day - then the trumpet sounds and there is change and strife. But though the trumpet is there for special occasions, God has voices for every day to all who have the listening ear. (2 Chronicles 5:12-14; Isaiah 18:3; Isaiah 27:13; Isaiah 58:1; Jeremiah 4:5; Jeremiah 6:1; Jeremiah 42:14; Jeremiah 51:27; Ezekiel 33:1-6; Hosea 8:1; Joel 2:1; Amos 3:6; Zephaniah 1:16; Zechariah 9:14; Revelation 1:10.) - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,