Bible reading for May 3.
"And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, 'Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.'" (Numbers 10:35)
SILVER TRUMPETS. Two silver trumpets were made for calling the Israelites (or, sometimes just the leaders) together for worship, or to prepare to break camp and move, or to sound an alarm (a call to arms). This speaks of the unity of God's people, gathered before the Lord and under his protection (1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16; Rev 8:2). As well, faithful preaching and teaching is like a clarion call to the church and world (1 Cor 14:8). Biblical truth is distinctive, and should be sounded clearly, leading to worship, spiritual change, and confrontation with falsehood. Gresham Machen warned against losing clarity: "A deadly vagueness gradually affects the church's witness."
ARISE, O LORD! We serve a God who acts. Our God is not merely an unmoved Mover, or the ground of being. He is not an impersonal force or cosmic law of cause and consequence. He is personal. All creation exists, and continues to exist, because he knowingly and actively wills it to be so. He also speaks and reveals himself to his creation. Moreover, he acts in history, in ways both seen and unseen. He is guiding history to its climax, and his people to their rest. He never slumbers or sleeps. At times, after great patience towards mankind, he acts powerfully in judgment. We serve a God who acts. He summons us to follow. He will gather his people and rescue them from evil. So, we too can pray, "Arise, O Lord!" (Ps 3:7; 7:6; 12:5; 68:1-2)
"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psalm 46:10)
THE LORD REIGNS. In Psalm 46 we see that raging waters, probably an invading army, threaten to engulf Jerusalem like a flood. But God is a fortress, and inside the city, his city, he brings gladness to his people like a gentle stream. They will not be overcome by the raging flood. They need not fear. Help will come in the morning (that is, soon). "Be still and know that I am God" may be addressed to God's people (in the sense of "cease striving; stop panicking") or possibly, to the enemies at the gate (in the sense of "give it up, abandon your attack"). Either way, in this psalm the Lord asserts that he is sovereign over world affairs and he is the One who will bring warfare to an end. And Psalm 47 speaks of God ruling as King over all the nations. The God of the Bible is not a regional deity or a mascot of one nation, he is Lord over all the earth. And as we saw in the post above, he is active in history and judgment: "God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet" (47:5).
Image above: Blowing the Trumpet at the Feast of the New Moon, illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible, from Wikimedia Commons.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.