I’ve been spending a lot of time in the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. To say it is an action packed book would be an understatement! The last few weeks have been particularly challenging for me. Two weeks ago as the builders faced what seemed like an insurmountable task and a very forcible enemy, they shook in their boots…but they continued working! Nehemiah’s word to them was “Don’t be afraid! Remember the great and awesome God of Heaven!” Then last week as the enemy threatened to come and kill them in the night, they strapped swords to their sides and continued working! Nehemiah’s word to them was “God will fight for you!” I often find myself rationalizing my way out of obedience because of fear OR arguing with God about His method or timing in battle. These two challenges resonated deeply with me.
I would like to call your attention to a little piece of this narrative today that really stands out to me. The Trumpeter. Nehemiah tells his builders to listen for the sound of the trumpet and rally to it whenever they hear it.
As the leader, Nehemiah kept a Trumpeter by his side at all times. The wall around Jerusalem was huge! Archaeology tells us it was nine feet thick! To take on a task this size meant the builders would be scattered all over the place. It would be very easy for the enemy to sneak up on a small group, attack and leave before the rest even knew something happened. Enter the trumpeter. This guy was a watcher. He would have his eyes peeled for any sign of enemy activity and sound the alarm at a moment’s notice.
His timing and judgment had to be impeccable. He truly was one of the most valuable players on Nehemiah’s team.
Just like the builders we need someone who is ready to blow the whistle anytime the enemy is seen on the move. This may seem like a job for the waterboy but I assure you it is important! I’ve served with faithful trumpeters before. They are invaluable. I’ve served alongside a few who thought they were whistle blowers but all they really wanted was attention and to stir up drama. They were too quick and too often with their blasts. Their goal was to tell a story that either didn’t belong to them or was too
soon to be told. They would draw undue attention—Cry Wolf—and the eventual response of the people was to tune them out. True trumpeters are men and women who are constantly on the lookout for the enemy. They have spiritual eyes and ears and never let their guard down. They are people who rarely speak out but when they do everybody listens. These are the people who can tell you the time and date something is fixing to go down…and it does. They are the ones turning the midnight oil with the Lord for the sake of someone else. Is there anyone out there willing to put in the time and dedication to blow the trumpet for the Church?
If we can find dedicated trumpeters we only have one more obstacle to face. The rest of us. Let me explain. We hear the trumpet, we know we are armed and ready to stand against the enemy. The enemy presents himself, God says “This is how I want you to operate” and we say “No, I’d rather do it
this way.” …and we lose the battle. I was convicted about that this week. The Lord said to me “I will take your weariness away when you come to me like I told you to.” I rationalize and reason and argue about when I want to do what…and I miss the opportunity for the Lord to fight for me. I end up facing the enemy alone and losing. Does that connect with you?
How many times have we readied ourselves for the battle only to find out we are not prepared to resist the enemy? We have not been equipped to fight. We have been given all the tools necessary to stand against the enemy. We are no match for Satan just as he is no match for God. Every time we go out to fight alone we will lose. But if we can ever learn to stop fighting, doing our best to implement every strategy we can think of, and trust God to fight for us, we might begin to see some victories.
Every hand is required if we are to build the Church in Southwest AR that will reach the present and future generations of Jesus seekers. Some of those will be trumpeters, those who are ready to warn of actual attack. Many others will be builders, those who work and rally when they hear the trumpet blast. Where will you stand in this lineup? Let’s get to work!