Joel 2:1
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all who dwell in the land tremble, for the Day of the LORD is coming; in fact, it is at hand--
Sermons
A Ministry Morally AwakeningJ. S. Exell, M. A.Joel 2:1
Alarm in God's HouseEbenezer Temple.Joel 2:1
Sound an Alarm!J.R. Thomson Joel 2:1
The Trumpet of ZionJ. White Niblock, D. D.Joel 2:1
Warning MinistriesT. Mortimer, B. D.Joel 2:1
Warning TrumpetsJoseph Parker, D. D.Joel 2:1
The Ministry of AlarmD. Thomas Joel 2:1-11
The trumpet-call was used among the Israelites both in their religious solemnities and in the conduct of war. The direction here given is that a summons should be addressed to the nation, calling upon all classes to give heed to the presence of the Lord, and to learn the lessons taught by his awful judgments. We are thus taught that the silver sound of the gospel trumpet is not the only note that reaches our human race; there is also the loud call, the startling alarm, which is especially intended for sinful and inattentive man.

I. SIN AND FALSE SECURITY ARE OFTEN ASSOCIATED. The tempter not only leads men into sin; he persuades them that sin will have no evil consequences. The voice of conscience is silenced; the solemn assurance of Scripture is disregarded or disbelieved. Men sin without foreboding and without fear.

II. HENCE THE NEED OF A SOLEMN AND FAITHFUL NOTE OF ALARM AND WARNING. Ezekiel was taught that one especial function of the prophet is to give the people warning. The watchman who sees the approach of danger is bound to blow the trumpet, that they may not be surprised and taken unawares. Those who are entrusted with a message from God to their fellow-men are directed, whether men hear or forbear, to deal faithfully with souls.

III. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF GIVING HEED TO THE ALARM RESTS WITH THOSE WHO ARE WARNED. The warning may be disregarded, the penalty may be incurred, the judgment may be experienced. Or, on the other hand, the alarm may not be sounded in vain. Repentance may prove its reality by sincere resolutions and prayers, and a new heart may produce a new life. Then not only does the prophet deliver his soul; the sinner finds acceptance and salvation. - T.







Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain.
In the first eleven verses of this chapter we have a continuation of the address of the prophet to the priests of Judah. It was the duty of the priests to blow the trumpet for the assembling of the congregation, for the removing of the camp, and when they went forth to war; here the trumpet is blown to announce danger, and the consequent need of attention to certain moral requirements.

I. THAT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THE CHURCH IS IN ESPECIAL NEED OF A MINISTRY MORALLY AWAKENING. "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain." Zion was the meeting-place of the people of God, and may be taken as a type of the Church of God; here the trumpet was used only for sounds of alarm and fear. There was need that those who dwelt in the holy mountain should be aroused to a sense of the impending danger; we should have thought that they would have been sensitive to the judgment of God without such an awakening cry.

1. The Church needs an awakening ministry when it is not solicitous for the moral rectitude of the nation in which it is placed. It would appear as if Zion were ignorant of, or as if it were indifferent to, the apostasy all around it.

2. The Church needs an awakening ministry when it is not alive to the peril of souls it should endeavour to instruct.

3. The Church needs an awakening ministry when it reposes undue confidence in external organisations.

II. THAT AT SUCH TIMES THE MINISTRY MORALLY AWAKENING MUST BE CHARGED WITH THE SOLEMN TRUTHS OF ADVANCING JUDGMENT. "For the day of the Lord cometh, and is nigh at hand." Thus the ministry of the trumpet announced a terrible day of approaching judgment. The congregations of the present day are averse to these trumpet ministries, they prefer more gentle strains of truth, and prefer to be lulled to slumber rather than to be awakened to stern activity. The Church has need of its sons of thunder as well as of its sons of consolation. It announced these judgments as

(1)Certain,

(2)Near,

(3)Terrible.

III. THAT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUCH TRUTHS SHOULD HAVE A SOLEMN EFFECT UPON THOSE TO WHOM THEY ARE ADDRESSED. "Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble."

1. It should awaken solemn apprehension. The people would know that the sounding of the trumpet in Zion would foretoken evil to them, and would be deeply apprehensive of the nature and extent of the judgment to follow.

2. It should awaken deep repentance. The terrors of the Lord should persuade men to deep repentance, and should become a forcible argument for a renewed life.

3. It should awaken devout gratitude. While men mourn the advancing calamities they should indeed be devoutly grateful that their advent is so clearly made known, and that they do not come unexpected upon them.Lessons —

1. That the Church requires to be aroused to a sense of its duty.

2. That the pulpit must give utterance to solemn and awakening truths.

3. That an earnest Church may avert a national judgment.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The trumpet is lifted up this time in warning. Sometimes it is lifted up in festival. The trumpet will do one of two things, the performer must tell it what to do. So with every ministry, and every instrumentality of life and nature; it is the intelligent, responsive, directing man that must say what is to be done with the silver lute of spring, or the golden instrument of summer, or the cornucopia of autumn, or the great wind of winter that makes the earth cold and bleak. The trumpet will foretell a coming battle, or it will call to an infinite feast; the man behind it must use it according to the occasion. It is even so with the Bible. There is no trumpet like the Bible for warning, alarm, excitement, a great blare at midnight shaking the whole air with tones of alarm; nor is there any instrument like the Bible for sweetness, gentleness, tenderness, an instrument that talks music to the heart, and that assures human fear that the time of apprehension has passed away. Warning has always been given by the Almighty before His judgments have taken effect. Yet there has always been some measure of suddenness about Divine judgments. The reason is that we cannot sufficiently prepare for them. We may know they are coming, we may tell even to a day when the judgment thunder will lift up its voice; yet when it does sound its appeal it startles and shocks and paralyses the world. Yet, though the warning has always been given, it has always been despised. How few people heed the voice of warning! They call that voice sensational. Were the old preachers to return with their old hell they would have but scant welcome to-day. They were men of the iron mouth; they were no Chrysostoms, golden-throated and golden-lipped; they were men who, knowing the terrors of the law, withheld them not from the knowledge of the people, but thundered right mightily even beside the altar of the Cross. Now all this is in many instances ruled out as theologically behind the time, as from a literary point of view vulgar and odious, and as from a spiritual point of view detestable, and not likely to work in man mightily in the direction of persuasion. We become familiar with warning. No man really believes in the day of judgment. But the warnings given us by men are often partial, and are not unfrequently falsely directed There is not a preacher in the world who could not make a great reputation by thundering against heterodoxy. The world loves such vacant thunder; the Church is willing to subscribe liberally to any man who will denounce the heterodoxy of other people. What we do want is, not to thunder warningly against mistaken speculation, but thunders sevenfold in loudness, to be delivered against the current iniquities of the day. Warning is needed, but let it be of the right kind; warning is a needful element in every ministry, but deliver it at the right door.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY BLOWING THE GOSPEL TRUMPET? Trumpets were and are used in martial music, and in festive song. Commissioned by the Lord, and in dependence on God the Spirit, the ministers of Jesus Christ come forth before their people, to offer them, in God's name, and on His own terms, pardon and peace, life and salvation, through Christ; or, if they reject these, to denounce to them, in His name, the sentence of death and destruction. This is "blowing the trumpet." Not content with this, ministers solemnly warn the self-righteous and the unrighteous, the professor and the hypocrite, and those who are "at ease in Zion," of their approaching danger. This is "sounding an alarm." But what reception have you given to this Gospel?

II. TO WHOM, AND WHERE, IS THIS TRUMPET COMMANDED TO BE BLOWN, AND THIS ALARM TO BE SOUNDED? Had he been sent to Nineveh, or to the profane part of his own people, we should not feel surprised, but he was sent to the princes and nobles, priests and Levites, aged and honourable; even to his neighbours and personal friends. He was to show to "Jacob his transgressions, and to Israel his sins." What was the duty of Joel is the duty of every minister of the Gospel now; and the difficulties are very nearly the same. A minister must be faithful to his oath, his conscience, his people, and his God. One reason for blowing the trumpet needs consideration. It is this. "The day of the Lord cometh, it is nigh at hand."

(J. White Niblock, D. D.)

The two sentences mean the same thing. To blow the trumpet is to sound an alarm. And the scene is the mount of God's holiness — the holy mountain where this alarm is to be sounded.

I. WHAT ARE THE ENEMIES AGAINST WHORL AN ALARM MUST BE SOUNDED?

1. Ignorance.

2. Superstition.

3. Self-righteousness.

4. Conformity to the world.

5. Hypocrisy.

II. REASONS WHY THIS OPPORTUNITY IS TAKEN FOR SOUNDING AN ALARM. (The clergyman was pleading on behalf of Sunday and national schools.) The children of the poor need education. The children of this generation will be the fathers and mothers of the next.

III. OFFER SOME ENCOURAGEMENT. If you are disposed to listen to the alarm sounded, and endeavour to mind your ways. The first encouraging sign will be that you will learn to know your own state. Second encouraging sign, that you confess your sins. The next sign, your fairly setting to work, from this very hour, to see what can possibly be done for the everlasting good of these children. A most pleasing sign would be this, a looking up to God to do that for these little ones, which you have it not in your power to do for them.

(T. Mortimer, B. D.)

I. A SACRED SCENE. The trumpet is to sound the alarm in Zion — in God's holy mountain — among His people who professed His name. He was to tell them of the awful judgments the Almighty would bring upon the land.

II. OUR PLACES OF WORSHIP MAY BE DESIGNATED HOLY MOUNTAINS.

1. Because there a holy God is worshipped. We cannot feel too much veneration and respect for the house of God. The places where we draw near to God are sacred spots. Holiness becometh His house.

2. Because there holy gifts are imparted. We meet together to receive blessings from God. There He sits, waiting to bestow on us all needful grace, to dispense His favours and to display His power. Holiness is that which we require in order to our enjoyment of God.

3. Because there holy anticipations are realised. We leave for a time the world and its concerns, and endeavour to attend on God without distraction, and feel ourselves surrounded with the Deity.

III. A SOLEMN CHARGE. Blowing of trumpets an ancient custom in Israel (Numbers 10:3-10). There was a peculiar way of blowing the trumpet when it sounded an alarm. Ministers are to sound the trumpet of invitation, and the trumpet of encouragement. But there are periods when we are to sound an alarm, and show God's threatened judgments. Concerning four things you need warning.

1. Formality in the exercises of religion. A dead and dull spirit has crept into our churches.

2. Conformity to the world. Here is our special danger in the present day. As Christians, we are delivered from this present evil world. Ought we then to love it, to imbibe its spirit, and follow its maxims? How difficult the line of demarcation between the Church and the world!

3. Deadness to the power of prayer. Prayer is necessary to our prosperity in the Divine life; the more we are in it the more we shall thrive. But is there not a deficiency in the manner and spirit of this exercise, both alone and in the social meeting? God has answered prayer in every age.

4. Inactivity in the cause of Christ. Prayer without exertion is presumption. There is a want of united effort. Union is strength, and there is more of this wanted. A united people is likely to be a prosperous, thriving people — a comfort to the minister, an honour to religion, and a blessing to the world.

(Ebenezer Temple.)

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