How it Started …
What is a Shofar ?
Demonstrate the ram’s horn
Demonstrate the kudu horn
(contemporary – explain it’s origin)
1948 Israel was re-recognized as a nation
(within 2 years, Yemenite Jews brought their Yemenite shofars with them, back to israel)
(48,000 Yemenite Jews are airlifted en masse to Israel in 1950 in an operation known as Operation Magic Carpet. After years of severe discrimination by the European born Jews in charge of religious and secular Israeli institutions, they eventually gained enough political power in Israel so that their traditions and community standards were accepted, and as with their shofar, even became popular with Jews worldwide who saw it as the new thing.)
Four calls have survived:
t’kiyah = watchmen is on duty, all is well
shevarim = something is happening, gather or pay attention
t’ruah = under attack
t’kiyah godolah = celebration
What they have become:
- T’kiyah – one long stable blast (with one or two notes)
- The laws of Jewish halacha regarding the sounding of the shofar demand that all of the shofar notes sounded shall have a T’kiyah to precede and succeed them. The Tekiah, with its long straight sound, is the bookends of all life. It comes first and it goes last.
- Indicates stability in life. It also indicates discipline and consistency.
- Shevarim – 3 medium blasts, two tones each.
- The Shevarim represents the times of trouble
- Shever means fracture, something that is cracked and broken. It is in the darkness of the Shevarim, that we can find the glimpse of hope and see the light that diffuses in. We come to full understanding of that which calls for a change.
- T’ruah – 9 short, staccato blasts.
- warfare, victory, or celebration – contextually
- is a call for action or accomplishment. It signals that passivity is unacceptable if our potential is to be realized (it also reminds us that progress is often accomplished in small steps)
- T’kiyah Gedolah – an extra long single blast. This is the jubilee note extended as long as one can do so … and it represents the great last trumpet sound when the Lord returns as king when we who are saved receive new bodies and we are all healed. Also used to call upon God.
- gather all our resolutions and go back to the start. This is the purpose of the Tekiah Gedolah. Its long stable continuous sound helps us go back to square one with a feeling of awe (greater stability than when we started)
What has developed over time regarding shofar usage in non-Jewish context seems to outline as follows:
The ram’s horn is becoming the shofar of use to signal repentance among the listeners.
The yemenite kudu horn is becoming the shofar of choice to proclaim victory and to invite listeners to join in worship.
When I go out to in public to sound a shofar in a park or such gathering place (as God tells me to do so), I bring both horns (and blow them appropriately as the Spirit leads me).
(extra information that is usually not in the presentation)
This is a step by step exercise in pure obedience to my Daddy. He tells me to go so I go, not knowing what I will be walking into out there. (He knows what sound people need to hear, I don’t).
- call to assemble (Num 10:2-3)
- give direction (Num 10:6)
- call to battle (Num 10:9, Josh 6:5)
- call to worship (Num 10:10, Ps 98:4-6)
- blown in His presence (2 Sam 6:15, 1 Chron 16:4,6)
- coronation of kings (1 King 1:39)
- call to consecration (Joel 1:14, 2:15-16)
- announce God’s judgement (Joel 2:1, Rev 8:10)
- herald the coming of the Lord (Rev 11:15, 1 Thess 4:16-18, 1 Cor 15:52)
I believe God prepares the hearers heart to respond to the call of the shofar and to hear the specific call they need (rather like the speaking of tongues in Acts where each heard the speakers in their own language despite what was being spoken audibly)
I had no idea what was going to happen when I obeyed this call. Nor did I really know what I would say when asked, “What I was doing or why?”.
Then I remembered in Gen 2:7
The first and only recording of God blowing into anything at all. God blew the breath of life into only one part of His creation… the man !!
Man was God’s instrument of choice to make His sound.
God then told me what to say:
(we now resume the presentation)
The physical metaphor of the Shofar.
- A shofar is a horn that was part of a living animal.
- The animal dies in order to remove the horn at the base.
- heat is used to start the separation (boil the horn for anywhere from 2-5 hrs)
- Now the unwanted (inhibiting) inside material can be removed, bone pulled out, cartilage and tissue scraped out, from the inside of the horn. (inhibiting because the original material will prevent my using it for my purposes)
- A remnant of tissue can remain and can give periodic odor of the corruption.
- heat is usually applied to the end closest to the mouthpiece to straighten the end (easier to drill and therefore sound)
- The tip is cut off to faciliate the creation of a mouthpiece at the narrow end. (direct access to the functional end.
- now the tip is drilled and hollowed out so there is an airspace at the end (to build up pressure)
- Minor imperfections in the shape and material of the horn add harmonics to the sound coming out creating a very rich overall tone that varies from horn to horn.
- Simply blowing air into the horn does nothing. I must make a “tight raspberry sound” with my lips tighty sealed against the mouthpiece. The air inside the horn then vibrates in resonance to the vibration I create and amplifies it.
Let’s look at the “human parallel” of this metaphor.
- We are filled with flesh (the way we perceive life’s purpose, our reasons for existing and how and why we do things)
- We have to die to old ideas before God can use us
- God uses trials to clean and empty us of our old flesh to make a way for His new way to work within us and through us.
- He does not nourish us or use us from the old connections of the flesh but blows from the smaller, new way, the new connection that He has created in us.
- There is a periodic odor in us to remind us of the old thoughts (flesh) that once dictated our life.
- occasional trials continue to straighten us in our path.
- God needs direct access to our heart
- we have to allow Him to create space in our heart to work from the inside out.
- We have our individual personality differences and imperfections making God’s sound through us just as unique as the natural sound of a shofar.
- (& 9-10) The blower of the shofar must maintain a tight seal between his lips and the mouthpiece of the shofar. This is intimate prolonged contact. God must have a close relationship with us for us to clearly amplify His sound. (He seals us with His Spirit Eph 1:13)
With that being said, I move into their person relationship with Jesus
I ask them:
Do you have a relationship with the God who made you and loves you ?
then ask them the famous “what if you died” question.
Take them through a few laws if their heart is self-righteous.
then I take them to the cross.
I did not have any of this in my head when I went out the first time (but 1 Pet 3:15 came to mind when they began to ask why I was blowing a shofar)
but God showed me a simple truth in that first outing:
“Trust me and I can and will use you”
He did and does … (give examples)
It does not have to make sense for us to obey Him.
How many of us want that “peace that surpasses understand, yet try to figure out how to get it?
(it doesn’t work that way and it’s not meant to be worked out that way)
It is meant, designed to simply require trust.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
There are believers I run into as well
Some are sold out and on fire
Some are somewhere between lukewarm and that “glowing ember that you can just see the orange at a night time pit-fire”
They’re like a shofar that wants to not be blown and just look shiny on the outside for people to look at
“I got polished on the outside”
“He cleaned out my junk years ago”
I remind them that the shofar is a fairly expensive instrument to purchase and that no shofar blower pays this amount of money to simply have a cool decoration to show off (we purchase the shofar because we intend to use it for our own purposes … to blow into it and make our own sound through it)
Then ask them: “Is that what God purchased you for (to look shiny on the outside and nothing else)?”
It’s the sound of the owner that makes this unique (not its own physical structure or appearance) it’s something coming from outside itself, being blown into it that makes this so powerful !!
The shofar must allow itself to be cleaned, held up, and sounded loudly
The shofar must trust the master
The believer must trust the master
what am I driving at here ?
Trust requires placing control of something we want into the hands of someone else.
(possession, power, money, safety or comfort, loved one)
What are you trusting God with ?
put in different words,
What comfort zone are you stepping out of to be closer to God?
What comfort zone are you stepping out of to bring others closer to God?
if your answer is “i come to church on Sundays” God wants more 🙂
Look at the Savior, deeply for this moment …
(as He experienced)
blood spilled out
He who knew no sin became sin
hung sin on the cross, in his body
to be an insurance policy for us to get into heaven ?
Jesus does not like lukewarmers (Rev 3:15-16)
(Story of the fire chief facing a blowup)
(story of USSR stopping German advance in WWII)
Fire consumes, it leaves nothing behind of use for the enemy.
Jesus wants total surrender, total submission, clean conscience, spotless bride
(Shemah = love the lord with “ALL”…)
(Matt 6:24 “no man can serve two masters)
We have thought processes that don’t align with God’s truth
(2 Cor 10:3-5)
free us from not just from the wages of sin, but from the very bondage of sin
so that we may be the temple of dwelling for the very spirit that raised christ from the dead.
that we may be the children of God (rather than the children of wrath)
saying “Im only human” is actually fighting God’s work, purpose, and calling.
Look at Peter’s conversation with Jesus about going the cross …
(Matt 16:33, Luke 4:8)
Thinking as a mere human is demonic according to Jesus
Biblically speaking, believers are superhuman but we need to choose to live as such
How we see, how we perceive and understand, Jesus will make all the difference in how we respond to him (talk about holy lights and golden plates over saints heads in pictures and drawings)
Think clearly about the price paid to free us
was all that done so we could meet here on sunday’s, sing a few songs and hear a sermon ?
going to church was never intended to be the expression of our christianity
(going to church is intended to strengthen our expression of christianity out there)
Col 3:17. (All in the name of Jesus)
We live like there are two lives or sets of activities…
Out there stuff (secular)
That’s wrong, that’s demonic
It’s all to be lived for Him All of it
souls are dying and going to hell every hour, every day
souls that Jesus died for their sins
souls that the Father loves
souls that need to be reached by the simplest acts of trust and obedience
do you need to be refreshed in your heart with:
love for your Savior
love for the lost
Do you want to be used, out there, to help people meet their heavenly Father ?