Another worship instrument that ties us to our Hebrew roots is the shofar or ram’s horn. The origin of the shofar comes from the story of Abraham and Isaac on the Mount. This event is called the Akedah by the Jewish people. In Genesis 22, God told Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, up on Mount Moriah to sacrifice him. As they are walking along, Isaac noticed that there is no animal to sacrifice. He asked his father – “..where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (verse 7). Abraham looked in the distance and told him that, “My son, God will provide for Himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (verse 8). Later, as Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son, the Lord spoke to him and asked him to stop. God wanted to know that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son. He did not require the death of his son. In verse 13, Abraham found a ram to offer as the sacrifice, not a lamb. This seems like a contradiction!
Abraham said God would provide a lamb, but at the top of the mount he found a ram! What did Abraham really see? In verse 4, the Bible tells us that Abraham looked in the distance. When he looked in the distance, he saw Christ, who was the Lamb sent by God. Jesus even told us that Abraham saw Him (John 8:56).
According to Jewish tradition, the left horn from the ram that Abraham sacrificed was blown on Mount Sinai in Exodus 19. They believe that the Messiah will blow the right horn at His return! In fact, the Lord said in Zechariah 9:14 that He would blow the shofar at His return! Most of the time in the Bible when you read the word trumpet, it is the Hebrew word shofar. It is found 72 times in the Old Testament alone! The shofar was used for many purposes in the Bible. It was used to call the people up to God in Exodus 19. It was used in times of war to sound the alarm. In fact, the victories by Joshua and Gideon involved the blowing of the shofar (Josh. 6:3-5, Judges 6:33-35). It was used in times of repentance (Joel 2:12-17) and at the celebration of the Feast Days (Psalm 81:3).
There are four types of calls with the shofar: the tekiah, shevarim, teruah, and tekiah hagodolah. The tekiah represents the coronation of the King. The shevarim was used in times of repentance and sounds like brokenness or repentance. Teruah was often used in times of war or alarm. The Tekiah Hagodolah is the greatest trump – it is the blast we are looking to hear when the Messiah returns!
When we blow the shofar, we are bringing to God’s remembrance that we are children of Abraham. We are proclaiming that we desire to walk in the faith of Abraham. Because God provided a ram as the provision for the sacrifice, the shofar is calling forth God’s provision into our lives in a time of need. His provision can manifest in many different ways and at different times. This is the mystery of the shofar!