WE ALL believe that Jehovah is directing and sustaining his people spiritually during these “last days.” (2 Tim. 3:1) Understandably, it is up to each one of us to respond. We can compare our situation with that of the Israelites in the wilderness. They were to respond to trumpet calls.
Jehovah had Moses make two trumpets of hammered silver “to summon the assembly and to break up the camps.” (Num. 10:2) The priests were to blow the trumpets in different ways to indicate what was required of the people. (Num. 10:3-8) Today, God’s people receive directions in several ways. Consider three of these ways that remind us of the ancient trumpet calls. God’s people today are invited to large gatherings, appointed overseers receive training, and theocratic arrangements for all the congregations are updated or adjusted.
THE CALL TO LARGE GATHERINGS
When Jehovah wanted “the whole assembly” to gather at the entrance on the east side of the tabernacle, the priests blew both trumpets. (Num. 10:3) All the tribes, which were camped around the tabernacle in four divisions, heard that distinct call. Those camped close to the entrance could likely respond within minutes. Others were farther away and might have needed more time and extra effort to arrive. Whatever the case, Jehovah wanted all to assemble and benefit.
Today, we are not assembling at a tabernacle, but we are alerted to gatherings of God’s people. These include regional conventions and other special events, where we receive vital information and direction. In lands all around the globe, Jehovah’s people enjoy the same program. Thus, those who respond to the invitation to attend enjoy being assembled as a happy group. Some have to travel farther than others. Nevertheless, those who respond to the invitation agree that it is well worth the effort.
What about those in isolated groups far away from any of the large gatherings? Thanks to modern technology, many such ones are able to benefit from the same program and even to feel a part of the large gatherings. For example, during one visit of a headquarters representative, the branch in Benin transmitted a program to Arlit, Niger, a mining town in the Sahara Desert. Twenty-one brothers, sisters, and interested ones gathered. Though they were in a distant location, they felt united with the large assembly of 44,131. One brother wrote: “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the transmission of this event. It showed us again how much you have us in your hearts.”
CALLS TO APPOINTED OVERSEERS
When the Israelite priests blew just one trumpet, “only the chieftains, the heads of the thousands,” were to appear at the tent of meeting. (Num. 10:4) They could there receive information and training from Moses. That would help them to care for their responsibilities in their tribes. If you were one of those chieftains, would you not have done all you could to be present and to benefit?
Today, the congregation elders are not “chieftains”; nor do they lord it over the flock of God in their care. (1 Pet. 5:1-3) But they certainly do their best in shepherding the flock. Thus, they readily respond when invited for additional training, such as at the Kingdom Ministry School. During these sessions, the elders learn how to be more effective in caring for congregation matters. This results in a higher level of spirituality for all. Even if you have not attended one of those schools, you are likely receiving benefits from those who did attend.
CALLS TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS
The Israelite priests on occasion sounded a fluctuating type of trumpet blast. This announced that Jehovah wanted the whole camp to move. (Num. 10:5, 6) Moving the camp was a marvelous display of organization, but it also represented a major undertaking for everyone. Some may at times have had mixed feelings about it. Why?
Perhaps some felt that the calls to move were coming too often and too unexpectedly. “Sometimes the cloud would remain only from evening until morning.” At other times “it was two days, a month, or longer” between moves. (Num. 9:21, 22) And how many times did the camp actually move? Numbers chapter 33 mentions some 40 places where the Israelites camped.
At times, some may have found a location where there was shade. That could have been quite agreeable in the “great and fearsome wilderness.” (Deut. 1:19) Hence, there could have been the temptation to think that a move would be a change for the worse.
Once the tribes started to leave, some may have found it difficult to wait their turn. All heard the fluctuating trumpet blast, but not all could depart at the same moment. That fluctuating trumpet blast signaled that the tribes camped to the east, namely Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, should depart. (Num. 2:3-7; 10:5, 6) After they departed, the priests sounded the fluctuating trumpet blast a second time to signal the three-tribe division camped to the south. The priests continued in this fashion until the whole camp had departed.
Maybe you have experienced mixed feelings regarding some organizational adjustment. You may have felt rather overwhelmed when there were a number of unexpected changes. Or perhaps you felt comfortable with certain arrangements and wished that these had not been adjusted. For whatever reason, you may have sensed your patience being tested, and it took time to adapt. Nonetheless, if we endeavor to respond as we realize we should, we will likely see that God is blessing us.
In Moses’ day, Jehovah guided millions of men, women, and children through the wilderness. Without his care and direction, they would not have survived. Today, we survive spiritually with Jehovah’s guidance. In fact, we thrive! Therefore, may all of us be determined to respond as faithful Israelites did to the distinct calls of the trumpets!