Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
“You only have I known
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your iniquities.
Is a trumpet blown in a city,
and the people are not afraid?
Does disaster come to a city,
unless the Lord has done it?” Amos 3:1-2, 6 ESV
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Make two silver trumpets. Of hammered work you shall make them, and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for breaking camp. . . . And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. Numbers 10:1-2, 9 ESV
In the United States many years ago, if there was a disaster and the people in a city or area needed to be warned, the city or town officials would order the bells to ring. If all the bells in a town were ringing, people from miles around would hear them and know there was a problem. Later on, bells were replaced by sirens. During World War II sirens became very common all around the country. People would listen for sirens to know if there was any danger from an attack. Sirens continued to be used after the war because people in the United States were worried about nuclear bombs, and these alarms were ready to sound if there was a need to try to escape danger. Sirens also can be used to warn people about a weather disaster such as a tornado or a tsunami. Nowadays sirens aren’t used so much because many people have cell phones and other electronic devices to get important information quickly.
In Bible times, trumpets were used as signals and warnings for people. Blowing the trumpets often meant that a city or an area was under attack. If people heard the trumpets blowing, they would feel afraid, knowing that there was danger and violence coming. Amos used the picture of trumpets to talk about the disaster that God was bringing to his people Israel because of their sins. He talked about how God had loved his people and brought them out of Egypt, but they had turned against him and stopped following his ways. God was going to punish his people for their sins, and they had reason to feel the same fear that people felt when trumpets were blowing because a city was under attack.
Trumpets are a picture of warning and disaster and punishment for sins. God’s word, the Bible, is like a trumpet for us. In the Bible we read and hear about God’s laws and the punishment for breaking his laws. We know that we also deserve disaster because of our sins. But God loves us, and he gives us a way to escape the disaster our sins would have brought to us. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us and take away our sins. Because of Jesus, God forgives our sins every day and keeps us safe from the disaster of his punishment. Someday, this world will end, and one final trumpet will sound. We don’t have to be afraid of this trumpet, because for everyone who believes in Jesus this trumpet will be the beginning of life forever with God in his heavenly kingdom.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to keep us safe from the disaster of our sins. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.