How Shofar Sounds Hit Us in the Kishkes
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Sunday, September 16, 2012

How Shofar Sounds Hit Us in the Kishkes

Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah, September 16, 2012

 
Does the shofar sounds hit any of you in the kishkes? Maybe I should explain: kishkes is a Yiddish word meaning guts.
So, how many find that the shofar sounds hit you the kishkes?
Yes, the shofar is a mighty instrument, resonating in our bodies, in our souls (emotions and thoughts), and in our spirits. V’eemru? (And let us say?)
Yet I’d like to suggest that the different sounds of the shofars actually hit us in distinguishable ways.
Indeed, they probably hit each of us in different ways at different times.
Looking more clearly at these different ways can help us appreciate what God might be trying to say to us through the sounds of the shofar on Yom Teruah. 
So I’d like to reflect on each of the four sounds of the shofar that are blown on this day.
I have provided a summary of these four sounds in the bulletin.
 
First, is t’keeah: a blast of pure sound, is a call to attention, and assemble. (Demonstrate)
How does the t’keeah hit you? Can anyone describe it in a few words? (Pamela says it gives her a thrill!)
Numbers 10:3–4, “When they are sounded in long blasts (teek’yu, from t’keeah), the entire community is to gather before you at the entrance to the tent of meeting. But if only one is being sounded (yitkayu, from t’keeah), only the leaders, the heads of Israel’s clans, are to gather before you.”
So here the t’keeah blast was a call to assemble—either the whole congregation or only the leaders.
And in Numbers 10:7, it says “When convening the assembly, however, you shall blow a long blast without sounding an alarm.”
Jeremiah 4:5 says, “Declare in Judah, proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:  Blow (teek’yu) the shofar throughout the land. Cry out loudly and say: Assemble yourselves, and let’s flee to the fortified cities.”
So the prophet makes a t’keeah blast in order to announce a message, to assemble in fortified cities.
This instruction follows the pattern given in Numbers 10, a call to attention, to assemble.
Isaiah 18:3 says, “All you inhabitants of the world and you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, look! When a shofar sounds, listen!”
Here, a t’keeah calls all the inhabitants of the world to attention, waiting to hear a message from God.
When you hear the t’keeah, are you preparing to hear a message from the God of Israel?
Joel 2:15, “Blow a shofar in Zion, consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,”
Here, a t’keeah calls Israel to fast and assemble, because of the danger of a calamity coming.
In Judges 7:20, it describes a signal for a battle. “When 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 cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”
The t’keeah was the signal for the three separate companies to make their move on the Midianite camp.
It coordinated Gideon’s small army; it also startled the much larger, but sleepier Midinate army.
Since they weren’t prepared to hear the t’keeah, the Midianites were baffled and thrown into confusion.
There’s a lesson there: if you are prepared to hear a t’keeah, it will call you to attention and into order.
If you are not prepared to hear the t’keeah, it will just startle you and throw you into confusion.
In Joshua 6:4ff. seven priests make blew a t’keeah with the shofars. That got everyone’s attention!
We’ll say a bit more about Joshua’s seventh shofar a bit later….
1 Kings 1:34 ties this sound to a king’s coronation: “Let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there as king over Israel, and blow the shofar and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’”
So here the t’keeah blast gathered the people of Jerusalem in celebrate the crowning of a new king.
To the friends of the new king, it was a sound of proclamation and celebration; to his adversaries, it was a sound of warning which cause them to fear and to flee. 
It all depended on whether they were ready to hear this sound and what it meant.
On Yom Teruah, we are looking forward to the coronation of the great king, our God and Messiah.
So when you hear a t’keeah, in your emotions you may feel a startled or disturbed or excited or thrilled.
But in your spirit you should be preparing to hear a message from HaShem, not just as one person, but as a congregation of the people of God, coming into order, ready to win a victory or crown a king. And in your will, you should be ready to do His will, such as to go into battle, to win a victory.
To people who belong to God’s camp, because they are humble and attentive to God,
            it is a call to assemble (on earth or in heaven) to hear, and to accomplish God’s will.
To people who are proud and inattentive to God, it is a sound of confusion, flight and condemnation.
If you’re not sure which camp you’re in, then the t’keeah calls you to search your heart, forsake your wrong ways, and seek forgiveness through repentance (teshuvah).
Let’s sound that t’keeah again. (How is affecting you now?)
 
Second, is the T’ruah: a sound of staccato blasts. (Demonstrate)
How many of you hear the sound of an alarm? Or the sound of a charge into battle?
It’s similar to the call of the bugle charge…. 
Numbers 10:5, “But when you blow an alarm, the camps that are pitched on the east side shall set out.”
The t’ruah was the sound of an alarm, which meant, move out!
Numbers 10:7 distinguishes between the meaning of a t’keeah and the t’ruah signals:
“When convening the assembly, however, you shall blow a long blast without sounding an alarm.”
Got it? A t’keeah called the people together for an assembly; a t’ruah meant they should move out.
Or to attack an enemy. Numbers 10:9, “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.”
So the t’ruah was the sound to attack—by faith going before God who gives the victory. V’eemru?
These two sounds could go together, for example in Joel 2:1, “Blow (teek’yu) a shofar in Zion, and sound an alarm (t’reeyu) on My holy mountain!”
The t’keeyah did what? (Called the people to attention to assemble in Zion.) 
And the t’ruah did what? (Sent an army against the wicked, unrepentant enemies of God.)
So like the t’ruah, the effect it has on you depends on whether you are ready to hear it or not. V’eemru? So are you ready? Or are you passive?
 
On Rosh Hashanah, we need to wake up and be honest about our lives before God. The Teruah sound is like an alarm clock, arousing us from our spiritual slumber. 
If we are willing to awake, the shofar brings clarity, alertness, and focus.
Or we can hit the snooze button….
 
Once, the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidic Judaism, asked a certain Rabbi Zev if he would blow the Shofar.  Zev was very honored, and studied with the Baal Shem Tov for the whole month of Elul, writing down the mystical meanings of each blast of the Shofar, so that he could have the right kavanah or intention when he played and help open up the gates of heaven so that the community’s prayers will reach God.  
 
Rabbi Zev knew that he tended to get flustered in the moment. So he wrote all of the meanings down on a cheat sheet, and stuffed it in his pocket,  When it came time to blow the Shofar, he reached into his pocket, but the paper was nowhere to be found, and he couldn’t remember a single thing.  
So, as the Baal Shem Tov called out – Tekiah, Rabbi Zev began to cry, and blow the Shofar amidst his own weeping.  
After services, while everyone else was enjoying Kiddush, Rabbi Zev sat in the corner, crying that he had let everyone down and not carried their prayers up to heaven.  The Baal Shem Tov looked at Rabbi Zev and said, “The palace of the King has in it many apartments and many rooms.  Each one has a gate, and each gate has a key.  But there is one master key that opens all the gates, and that is the ax.  
“So it is with the Shofar  There are many gates to heaven, and each one has a different key, which are the different kavanot or intentions that I taught you.  But in God’s house there is one master key too, that can open all of the gates.  And that master key is the broken heart.  When a person prays with a broken heart, it is sure to reach God.”
 
The third sound is shevarim three broken, trembling sounds. (Demonstrate.)
How many of you hear a wailing sound, or a groan or a sigh?
The Hebrew word shevarim means broken or broken in pieces. It’s the sound of one crying or groaning.
Some say that the shevarim sound is the groaning of mother giving birth, or an intercessor crying out to God, or a Jew or any human crying out to God from the heart.
Isaiah 26:17 describes this wail, “As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pains, so we were before You, LORD.”
To sinners Jeremiah 19:1 gives a warning, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Just so will I break (ash’bar) this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired.”
Yet to the humble who allow themselves to be broken before God, Isaiah 42:3 offers hope of healing:
“A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.”
This verse refers to Messiah the suffering servant, who supports those who are vulnerable before God.
Psalms 147:3 promises, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” The brokenhearted or sh’viroo lev”  are those who are know they need God and his comfort. 
Some Rabbis say the sound evokes God’s broken heart over sins.
I think of Yeshua grieving over Jerusalem, whose leaders rejected his mercy and healing. Matthew 23:37, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”
When you hear the cry of the shevarim, can you hear the cry of Messiah for His people?
 
At the moment the shofar is blown, we cry out to God from the depths of our soul. This is the moment ― when our souls stand before the Almighty without any barriers ― that you can truly let go.
The shevarim beckons each of us to make teshuvah (repentance) from the heart!
 
The final sound is T’keeah G’dolah—the great tekiah, a long blast.
This was the sound of the seven shofars which seven kohanim had carried around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and then around the cities seven times on the seventh day.
And in Joshua 6:16, “At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.”
The blast was a tekiah g’dolah that didn’t stop until the wall trembled and collapsed.
The shout of the people was a teruah. Their voices made the wild sound of the teruah alarm together with the tekiah g’dolah of the seven shofars! 
You can try it when we do our next tekiah g’dolah.  It might thrill your kishkes.
Shout for the walls are coming down! 
Just bear in mind that it needs to come from your spiritual kishkes, too, a place of total faith in Messiah.
Shout for the walls are coming down! The walls of the strongholds within—bring them down, too!
 
Of course, tekiah g’dolah of the seventh shofar recurs in Revelation, at the end of last days.
So now we look at eschatology, the study of last things; the study of the ultimate destiny of humankind.
I don’t teach often about the end of the world.  Here’s a story about someone else who did.
On a road through a desert in Arizona, a preacher named Nathaniel Evans walked every day, preaching to people who roared past in their cars.  "Repent, the End of the World is Nigh!" was his constant theme. One day, as he was walking, he came to a big le[h]ver in the middle of nowhere, by the side of the road. 'Pull this to end the world' said the sign.  Now Nathaniel saw this as the perfect spot for him to preach, and soon many automobiles were parked nearby, the people all swayed by his powerful elocution. All was well, until there were so many people, and so many cars, that the road was nearly blocked. 
Then a big 18-wheel rig came down the highway, and couldn't stop in time. The driver had a choice: 
run over Nathaniel, or run over the Lever.  As the driver explained to the Highway Patrol later, 
he actually had no choice. Pointing to the red smear on the road that used to be Nathaniel Evans, 
he said "Better Nate than Lever."
So, preaching about the end of the world is an occupational hazard….
Nevertheless, why is Rosh Hashanah an appropriate time to reflect on eschatology? 
Because the themes of Rosh Hashanah are the coming of the King and Judge of all humanity.
Our God and Messiah will come, as King and Judge, with the blast of a great, final shofar!
Eschatology matters because it reveals his plan of salvation for the whole world.
After the seventh angel blows a tekiah gedolah in Revelation 11:15, loud voices in heaven will proclaim, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever!"    This is what Yom Teruah is all about.  V’eemru?
It’s about Messiah coming for his bride, the remnant of Israel and the nations, who are ready.
It’s about Messiah sending out his angels with a great shofar to gather together his chosen people. 
Are we ready for the tekiah gedolah?  Are his chosen people ready to be gathered together as echad?
It’s about the Messiah appearing in the heavens (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), “with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God's shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will rise first; then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air!” 
It’s about the resurrection of the righteous to receive the inheritance of their glorious body, along with the righteous who live by faith and are caught up with them into the clouds.
Come Yeshua, come! How about a Teruah for that Tekiah Gedolah!
 
To people who belong to God’s camp,it is a call to assemble (on earth or in heaven) to do God’s will.
To people who are proud and inattentive to God, it is a sound of confusion, flight and condemnation.
If you’re not sure which camp you’re in, then the t’keeah calls you to search your heart, forsake your wrong ways, and seek forgiveness through repentance (teshuvah).
Before hearing that shofar again, is there anybody here who needs to pray for clarity in the hearing of your heart? (the worship team may come forward.)