July 31 – Coward to Conqueror – The Sound of Taps

Read Judges 6:33-35

“All is well, Safely rest, God is Nigh.”

The sound of Taps played and echoed by dual trumpets stirs a solemn and reverent emotion in us. Patriotism swells in our hearts as we hear the fading trumpets at the close of a Memorial Day or Veteran Day assembly. The day my fifth grade daughter announced that the trumpet was her instrument of choice, my heart leaped. As a child, I always longed to play the trumpet. I imagine most of my infatuation with the instrument was that it had only three valves and so appeared to be much easier than the woodwinds that had an abundance of keys scattered from the mouthpiece to the bell. Nonetheless, I never had the opportunity to explore the brass section and was destined to play the clarinet. As my daughter progressed from squawks to notes, I dreamed of the day that she would be chosen as the Taps player. For me, that was my ultimate goal. I could think of no higher honor than to hear her play Taps in honor of her veteran and a former band director grandpa who paid for her private trumpet lessons. My heart swelled with pride and I held back the tears as her trumpet reverberated through the school gymnasium at the Veteran Day assembly two years after the death of her grandpa. I knew he would be so proud and I wondered if he could hear the sound from Heaven; after all, the trumpet is a heavenly instrument.

Trumpets are mentioned throughout scripture, from early Old testament days to the vision John had in Revelation. Numbers 10:8 &9 tell us one of the trumpet’s purposes. “The priestly sons of Aaron, moreover, shall blow the trumpets; and this shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations. And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and be saved from your enemies.” Probably the clearest picture of this is the record of Joshua at the battle of Jericho. “So the people shouted, and the priests blew the trumpets; and it came about, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:20)  

The trumpet was used as a signal for a call to war. Not only that, but the sound of the trumpet was a reminder that God was the one who would save and deliver from the enemy. Gideon would have known and understood the purpose of the trumpet blow. This is what I find fascinating. Gideon blew the trumpet and assembled thousands of warriors ready to fight from the surrounding Israelite tribes. The warriors had said their goodbyes to their families and geared themselves physically and mentally for battle at the sound of the trumpet. They were called to follow Gideon ( Judges 6:35) which I’m sure created some doubt in their minds, considering Gideon’s track record. Now they await their battle strategy from their commander. At this point, I want to jump into chapter 7 and see why he’s considered a hero of faith. But wait. As the enemy is encamped close by and thousands of men wait for the word to advance, Gideon is attacked with the unseen enemy of doubt. For two days he puts the battle on hold as he wrestles with doubts that God will do what He already promised. (Judges 6:36)

I’ve also wrestled countless times with doubt. We all do. I’m no different than Gideon when, although I know God’s promise of deliverance, I still wonder if God is able and even if He is able, will He come through on His promise to me? God’s Word is filled with promises we just have to claim as our own. Perhaps we should take heart the words of Moses in Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

“For if God is for us, who is against us?… But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. for I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31, 37-39)

We may not hear the blow of the trumpet but we can rest assured that all is well, we can safely rest, because God is nigh- and He keeps His promises.

Charline Engle

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