Yom Teruah – God’s Alarm Clock

Alarm clocks are extremely useful. They wake us up from our slumber, which isn’t so great, but they also do it on time — that’s the great part. I actually place my alarm clock across the room every night so I’m forced to get out of bed to turn it off each morning.

Similarly to physical sleep, we can find ourselves in a spiritual slumber. Have you ever felt yourself becoming drowsy or fully asleep to the things of the spirit — like your relationship with the LORD or your attention to keeping sin from creeping into your life? I think we’re all prone to fall into that place and God knows it. That’s why the LORD gave the people of Israel a spiritual alarm clock.

The LORD gave the people of Israel a spiritual alarm clock. It’s called Yom Teruah.

Let’s look at what Yom Teruah is, and how it functions a spiritual alarm clock.

Yom Teruah is the fifth of the [1]seven moedim (מועדים), or festivals, of the Old Testament. It’s commonly translated as the “Day of Trumpets,” though a more culturally accurate translation would be the “Day of Shofars.” A shofar is simply the horn of a ram. It’s usually twisted in shape and will range anywhere from around eight inches up to three feet long. Its hollow structure allows it to be blown through, much like a trumpet, to make a sound.

Yom Teruah is the first of the three Fall festivals and it sets the tone for the other two Fall festivals, all three landing within a span of 30 days. This short season is commonly referred to as the High Holiday season amongst the people of Israel. Why? Because the season is distinctly focused on holiness and reconciliation.

Leviticus 23:24 says, “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blasts of trumpets (shofar), a holy convocation.”

In this festival, the main focus is the blowing of the shofar (or the shouts of the people if a shofar isn’t available). There are four different blasts that are typically done with the shofar and the number of blasts blown on Yom Teruah are often times one hundred.

God commanded this festival so that it might serve as a spiritual alarm clock for His people. The shofar’s blast is meant to awaken the spirit from dullness and haze which so easily encompasses it. The calloused, routine, and day-to-day life is placed on hold and a “solemn assembly” is commanded in order recognize and embrace the season at hand. For the people of Israel, it marks 10 days before the holiest day of the calendar year — Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

During this season introspection is important. The people of Israel begin looking inwardly at their hearts. They spend hours searching for anything that might be drawing them away from God and examining any sins that have crept in unnoticed. It’s an incredible season of teshuvah, or repentance. They make amends with friends, family members, neighbors, and anyone else who they might need to forgive or ask forgiveness of.

During this special season consider using the spiritual alarm clock which God has established. Unless you have a shofar lying around somewhere, find a place where you can shout aloud and cry out to God, awakening yourself from any spiritual slumber you might have fallen into recently. Look inwardly and pray the words King David did before the LORD in Psalm 139:23-24.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

[1]seven moedim — There are actually EIGHT moedim — seven festivals and then the weekly sabbath. They can be highlighted in Leviticus 23.

This article originally appeared on FIRM and reposted with permission.

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Dustin Herron is a men's ministry coordinator at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX, and has a Master’s in Christian Leadership from Moody Bible Institute. He attended a Messianic congregation in southeastern Kentucky while growing up, and through this experience, the LORD cultivated a passion for Israel and for God’s Word in Dustin. He greatly enjoys spending time with his wife, Andrea, and reading in his hammock whenever cooler Texas weather permits.