Can You Hear It?

August 14, 2012 - 5:00 am

“When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble?” — Amos 3:6

The trumpet, or the shofar in Hebrew, is a call to arouse us from our spiritual slumber. It is a nudge to awaken and repent. But what if the shofar is sounded and the people remain unmoved?

This is the question posed by the prophet Amos:  “When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble?” In other words, how can it be that the shofar is sounded and no one trembles? Like the saying, “if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it still make a sound,” we ask, if the shofar is sounded and no one trembles, does it still make a sound?

A blacksmith’s assistant from a village once visited a large city. There he visited the local smithy. He noticed that the workers used bellows to fan the flames in the forge. Back in the village, they fanned their fire manually. The bellows were much more efficient and far less exhausting than manual fanning. The assistant excitedly purchased a bellows and returned with enthusiasm to his master’s shop.

Immediately, he set out to demonstrate the magic that he had uncovered. He set up the bellows and began to pump vigorously. But, alas, no matter how quickly he pumped, no flame appeared. “I can’t understand it,” he said. “In the city, I saw with my own eyes how a huge flame was produced by the bellows.”

“Did you first light a small fire?” the master asked.

“No,” the assistant replied. “I just pumped the bellows.”

“You fool!” the blacksmith said. “The bellows can only increase the size of the flame when you begin it with a spark. When you have no spark of fire, all the pumping of the bellows is of no use at all.”

Like the bellows, the shofar can only arouse us if there is a spark lit inside of us. If there is no spark, if we are spiritually deadened, then all of the shofar-blowing in the world will not get us to tremble.

The shofar represents the many messages that God sends to us all of the time. The tragedy of 9/11 was a shofar call. The tsunami was a shofar call. All of the upheaval in the Middle East – it’s all a great shofar call. Do we not tremble? Do we not repent?

The answer to our original question is yes; whether or not we hear the shofar, it does indeed make a sound. God is desperately trying to wake us up.

Now the question is:  Do we hear Him?


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