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8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?  

This is one of the golden nuggets of God's word that offers practical insight into good communication skills.   

However, the face value purpose of this verse was to correct the misuse of tongues in their services.   The church was speaking in tongues, which in itself was just fine, but not in a service setting.  In a church service, if people do not understand what you are saying, no one gets help.  This is why Paul said in verses 18-19 of this chapter, he spoke in tongues more than all of them.  Yet, in the church, he would not speak in tongues because no one would understand.  This was part of Paul’s discourse on the public versus private use of tongues.   

And yet, there is another lesson here.  When a trumpet would make a certain sound, the troops would get ready for battle.   Without radios, the ancient world used trumpets for battlefield communications.  But if the trumpet was not clear, no one would know what to do.   

The same principle applies in our communication today.  If we are not clear, people are uncertain.  We make it an important point to clarify our staff values and expectations whenever we hire a new staff member.  We want them to clearly understand our culture and how we operate.  Although this sounds simple, many people have difficulty communicating expectations.  Maybe due to fear that someone won't like the information shared.  Or fear that someone will reject them, but I have often seen problems arise because people were not clear. They blew an uncertain trumpet.   



It takes courage to communicate clearly. If there is a problem, it's best to know upfront, not way down the road when time, money, and effort have been invested.   

Our Executive Pastor, Phillip Moore, has a great phrase he uses, especially in difficult conversations.  He will ask someone, "what did you hear me say?"  This simple phrase has often uncovered miscommunications or perceptions that needed to be clarified.  Phillip typically employs this phrase at the end of the conversation, so everyone has the chance to leave the meeting with clarity.   

People will not always like what we have to say, but I would rather blow a clear trumpet.  When done in love, it's a marvelous communication strategy.