READ NUMBERS 10. I-IO; PSALM 8l. 3
Every Christian would, we are sure, like to live a happy Christian life. In using this term, we mean that life which is proper to a Christian, as Paul wrote, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”, Gal. 2. 20. Hebrews 11 shows us the energies and activities of this life of faith, moving in relation to a vast expanse of glory. Such a life has its environment, associations and fellowship in relation to the glory of God, outside the order of everything in this world.
The first reason for happiness is the knowledge of sins forgiven; “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered”, Rom. 4. 7. Such persons alone have the right to be happy. Their past is cleared; their sins are atoned for by the blood of Christ, so that now they can look into the face of God without a cloud. Most can remember that happy day when we first trusted in Christ! This happiness is to be maintained all through life’s journey, yet in the practical experiences of everyday life, with its responsibilities, cares, trials and sorrows, we often find in the history of our souls that the initial joy becomes dimmed. Is this not caused by forgetting that we belong to the One who has saved us?
The writer has heard Christians say, “My body is my own; I can do as I wish with it; I can do what I like and go where I like”, and of certain things, “This is my property”. But the book of Numbers will help to dispel such an attitude. The book of Numbers and the two Epistles to the Corinthians have a very important part to play in adjusting our conduct and ways in relation to God’s testimony, both individually and collectively. Many Christians know what it is to be numbered for heaven, but today there are comparatively few who know what it is to be numbered for military service in connection with the testimony of God under wilderness conditions, as set forth in the carrying and guarding of the ark and all the vessels of the sanctuary over the desert soil.
Chapters 10 and 19 have a very important place in relation to true happiness, both individually and as walking together collectively in fellowship one with the other. Chapter 10 deals with the practical recognition of the claims of the love of Christ as seen in redemption, while chapter 19 shows how uncleanness is dealt with, so that we may be found walking in the light as He is in the light, having fellowship one with the other. We are thus to keep the vessels in our homes covered, when in these days radio and television bring the world and theatre into homes, robbing the saints of spirit-uality. Even some so-called Christian literature may be damaging to the soul.
The blowing of the silver trumpets had a very large place in the lives of the children of Israel, and this has an application to God’s people today. Moses was told to make two trumpets of silver. Two is the number symbolic of adequate witness: "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established”, 2 Cor. 13. 1. Silver is a well-known type of the love of Christ as seen in redemption - the redemp-tion money was of silver, Lev. 27.6. “Of a whole piece”, Num. 10. 2, would suggest that there is only one redemption. Hence these two silver trumpets would bear testimony to the claims of the love of Christ as seen in redemption. We hear these two silver trumpets in the New Testament: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”, 1 Cor. 6. 19-20. The love of Christ as seen in redemption has a claim on our body and our spirit; we cannot therefore say that our bodies are our own – they belong to the Lord and are to be used for His glory.
These notes of silver are heard again as Peter says, “For-asmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,… but with the precious blood of Christ”, 1 Pet. 1. 18-19. Paul also sounds the notes of these trumpets in connection with the motive power of all true devotion, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto him which died for them, and rose again”, 2 Cor. 5. 14-15.
Thus we see that those who are redeemed belong wholly to God, and are to be absolutely at God’s disposal. This great truth is emphasized in Numbers 9, where all the movements and encampments of the children of Israel were governed by the cloud and by the commandment of the Lord. Notwith-standing the prevailing looseness and the desire of many to do as they please, God reserves the right to control our movements and methods today, as He did in Israel’s day, for God is a God of order, and happy are they who acknowledge His rights and obey His word.
These silver trumpets stand in close relation to the taber-nacle of the congregation, representing the fellowship unto which we are called. Think of the blessed dignity of this -the fellowship of God’s Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Think too of the solemnity of this, since it is the fellowship of His death. If we remain true to this fellowship, every action and associ-ation will be consistent with the dignity of God’s Son, and nothing will be allowed that is inconsistent with His death., and everything of man will be excluded.
These silver trumpets were blown by the priests who were near to God, and who observed the movements of the cloud. Today, all God’s people are priests, and if in priestly trim and communion with God, they will be intimate with His mind, and will be able to sound the proper note, 1 Cor. 14. 7-8.
The trumpets were blown on God’s behalf for the people to hear in relation to assembling together and journeying, and also on behalf of the people for God to hear in time of war. The place of assembling was at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, where God had promised to meet with them and to speak to them, Exod. 29. 42-43; the tabernacle would be sanctified by His glory. The trumpets were to be blown on seven occasions. The number seven stands for completeness, and these seven occasions represent movements which call for spiritual exercises and discernment. These occasions cover the complete life of a believer, and will be considered in the following article.