Torch and Trumpet
How Word and Worship Wins the Battle
Judges 7:20-21 NKJV
Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers — they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing — and they cried, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!”
Imagine you are a soldier in Gideon’s Army.
You are as nervous as you were frightened when you were one of 22 thousand. You were excited and frightened when you made the cut to 10 thousand. Now you are one of 300 and you are not sure how to feel about the impending battle with the Midianites. You have lived in caves, fearing the Midianites. You have seen your hard-won crops stolen by these mongrels. You have had enough. You joined the others to call on God and He has sent you a deliverer. You know that General Gideon has a plan. Either that or he is crazy, leading an “army” that is hardly more than a raiding party. But there is something different about Gideon—it is the Spirit of the Lord resting on him. You remember how he tore down the idols of Baal by night and tested the will of God twice with a sheep’s hide. Yes! This man has a plan!
Now for the armament; how will we fight this battle: 300 against an occupying army? What will be the chosen, divinely inspired weapons? What? Trumpets and torches? We need chariots of iron and heavy shields and well-honed swords gleaming in the sun and javelins long and straight… It will be trumpets and torches.
Surely we will band together in a tight phalanx; 300 soldiers shoulder to shoulder, marching in lockstep toward the enemy…
No. That’s not it. We will break up into three groups of 100 each with torches in our left hand, burning but concealed by an earthen jar and those toy trumpets in our right hand. (How are you going to hold your spear, sword, and shield?) You will surround the enemy army on three sides. When the signal is given you will break the jar and sound the trumpet…
OK. Well this better work…
It worked and God delivered General Gideon and the Israelites from the hands of the Midianites. It was the beginning of a campaign of victories with some nations capitulating without a fight because of what God and 300 soldiers with torches and trumpets did. And there was peace for 40 years.
The Church Is the Army of God
Every time we gather to worship God, we are like Gideon’s army—outnumbered by the world but not outgunned. Each of us has a trumpet to play and a torch to burn. Think of them as those two elements of worship Jesus told the Woman at the Well about: Spirit and Truth. With these two weapons, we are the True Worshipers the Father is seeking still today.
Whatever method you use to plan and lead worship, make sure that the worship you plan and lead is full of truth—a torch burning bright for all to see. And make certain that you enable as many people as possible to break their personal jar so that all our torches can merge into a light that cannot be ignored. God has a plan for every service–find it! His plan will burn like a torch and sound like a trumpet.
Whatever liturgy you utilize it must engage the People of God in such a way that as many as are willing can join in—each soldier playing his own trumpet. Remember the 120 trumpeters at dedication of the Temple King Solomon built. When they became “as one, to make one sound” in worship and praise, the Glory of the Lord filled the house of God. God has a theme for every song set–find it! Build your songs around it. This is the “truth” the Spirit wants for this service. The flame of the torch burns in it and it is the tune the trumpets must play.
Imagine the Scene…
- With the broken pieces of our “jars of clay” littering the floor,
- the dancing flames of these many torches, and
- the unified sound of so many trumpets, the presence of the Lord comes into the house.
When He comes in
- the enemy has to flee.
- Strongholds crumble.
- Chains fall away from shackled wrists.
- Addiction loses its deadly grip on souls and bodies.
- Sinners repent.
- Saints get sanctified.
- Sick folk are healed and
- demons scramble to vacate their human hosts.
There is so much at stake in every service.
One pastor I worked for crystalized the need with this statement: “Souls are in the balance.” I had signs made with that sentence and placed over ever door the choir passed through on the way to the platform for five services every Sunday. This was our purpose. When the new building was finally built, those signs went up over the doors in the new music suite.
There Is Work for All to Do
Pastors must be students of worship and they must be worshipers. Every pastor has a torch to burn and a jar to break. Every pastor has a trumpet to play in “the midst of the congregation.” He/she cannot be an observer. He/she must be present and playing his/her trumpet for all to see and hear.
Worship leaders and team members must be students of the Word. Each has a torch that is only fueled by daily application of the Oil of the Spirit. They cannot be practitioners of music only but of the Word, knowing and ever learning the ways of the Spirit of God.
All of us are in this army. Through the week in daily worship, we must stoke the torch in our hearts. When the service time comes and signal is given, we must break our jar of clay—humble ourselves before the Lord—to let our light shine for all to see. We must put our trumpet to our lips and sound the fanfare of our praise. This we must do for souls are in the balance.
When we do, look out for the devil. He will have to flee!
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
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