Today: [1 Chronicles Twenty-Six] Gatekeepers in the House of God. In this chapter we see David establish an army of 4000 gatekeepers in 24 courses to control access to the temple and to preserve it’s sanctity. These gatekeepers kept a physical temple – you and I collectively and individually are the true temple of which Solomon’s building was only a dim shadow. If the ancient temple needed gatekeepers we likewise need what the represent. We cannot allow ourselves to live lives exposed randomly to the unfiltered influences of the world around us. The gatekeepers speak to us of the need to establish accountability in our lives regarding the influences that shape our thinking and our testimony.
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[1Ch 26:1-32 KJV] 1 Concerning the divisions of the porters: Of the Korhites [was] Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph. 2 And the sons of Meshelemiah [were], Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, 3 Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Elioenai the seventh. 4 Moreover the sons of Obededom [were], Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth, 5 Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him. 6 Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born, that ruled throughout the house of their father: for they [were] mighty men of valour. 7 The sons of Shemaiah; Othni, and Rephael, and Obed, Elzabad, whose brethren [were] strong men, Elihu, and Semachiah. 8 All these of the sons of Obededom: they and their sons and their brethren, able men for strength for the service, [were] threescore and two of Obededom. 9 And Meshelemiah had sons and brethren, strong men, eighteen. 10 Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons; Simri the chief, (for [though] he was not the firstborn, yet his father made him the chief;)
In this chapter we find the registry of those who served as porters (or gatekeepers) of the house of the Lord. They were responsible for everything from security to janitorial work. David refered to these workers in Psalm 84:10:
[Psa 84:10 KJV] 10 For a day in thy courts [is] better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
And again in Psalm 24:
[Psa 24:7 KJV] 7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because from a spiritual standpoint they neglected these duties:
[Mat 23:13 KJV] 13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Lastly we see that in the spiritual temple of God which we are as the church Jesus Himself is the door that we keep:
[Jhn 10:7 KJV] 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
So these duties that the men listed were responsible for may seem mundane to us but they have an application in our understanding of the spiritual house or temple of the Lord which we are.
11 Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth: all the sons and brethren of Hosah [were] thirteen. 12 Among these [were] the divisions of the porters, [even] among the chief men, [having] wards one against another, to minister in the house of the LORD. 13 And they cast lots, as well the small as the great, according to the house of their fathers, for every gate. 14 And the lot eastward fell to Shelemiah. Then for Zechariah his son, a wise counsellor, they cast lots; and his lot came out northward. 15 To Obededom southward; and to his sons the house of Asuppim. 16 To Shuppim and Hosah [the lot came forth] westward, with the gate Shallecheth, by the causeway of the going up, ward against ward. 17 Eastward [were] six Levites, northward four a day, southward four a day, and toward Asuppim two [and] two. 18 At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, [and] two at Parbar. 19 These [are] the divisions of the porters among the sons of Kore, and among the sons of Merari. 20 And of the Levites, Ahijah [was] over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things.
The duty of these doorkeepers was very important for the penalty of entering the temple inappropriately was death. The work was obviosly physical in nature and required that the workers be able bodied. Verse eight describes the sons of Obed-Edom as able men with strength for the work. There is a line here between natural work and spiritual work that seems blurred. Let us remember that the delineation between spiritual vocation and secular vocation is an invention from the middle ages. What is known as the clergy/laity dichotomy is not codified in the scriptures. To the mind of God it is just as sacred to prepare a meal as it is to teach from the scriptures. Ephesians 4:11-12 tell us that all believers are engaged in the work of the ministry not just those with a calling as pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.
Once again if you do the math you will see 4000 men employed in 24 scheduled courses to do this work. So there were 4000 singers in 24 courses and 4000 gatekeepers or porters to do their specific work. This was all by arrangement of David being led we can believe by God to set these things in order just as Moses was led by God to set the tabernacle in the wilderness in order. What Moses was in the construction and order of the tabernacle in the wilderness David was the to the planning and order of what would become known as the Temple of Solomon. Moses did this work as a prophet. David was king but in this work he also moved in the ministry of a prophet much as Samuel did before him. David moved in his lifetime as prophet, preist and king and as such is a type of Jesus Himself.
21 [As concerning] the sons of Laadan; the sons of the Gershonite Laadan, chief fathers, [even] of Laadan the Gershonite, [were] Jehieli. 22 The sons of Jehieli; Zetham, and Joel his brother, [which were] over the treasures of the house of the LORD. 23 Of the Amramites, [and] the Izharites, the Hebronites, [and] the Uzzielites: 24 And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, [was] ruler of the treasures. 25 And his brethren by Eliezer; Rehabiah his son, and Jeshaiah his son, and Joram his son, and Zichri his son, and Shelomith his son. 26 Which Shelomith and his brethren [were] over all the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated. 27 Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the LORD. 28 And all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, had dedicated; [and] whosoever had dedicated [any thing, it was] under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren. 29 Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons [were] for the outward business over Israel, for officers and judges. 30 [And] of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brethren, men of valour, a thousand and seven hundred, [were] officers among them of Israel on this side Jordan westward in all the business of the LORD, and in the service of the king. 31 Among the Hebronites [was] Jerijah the chief, [even] among the Hebronites, according to the generations of his fathers. In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought for, and there were found among them mighty men of valour at Jazer of Gilead. 32 And his brethren, men of valour, [were] two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.
Once again we see that lots were cast for these various duties among the small and the great. There was no preference shown to the wealthy or the elite. God’s choice was seen as arbitrary and authoritative in the cast of what we would consider to be a random lot. Those in David’s time did not see chance and happenstance as we do. In our society we believe in the randomness of chance in life. The people in David’s day believed the man could cast the lot but God ultimately decided every outcome Prov. 16:23. In Christian culture this method is rejected yet at the same time remember that the apostles chose a replacement for Judas in the person of Mathias by casting of lots.
It is important to note as well that not only are we collectively the temple of God as the church but we are individually the temple of God. The gatekeepers determined what and who entered into the temple on a regular basis. Our body, soul and spirit are also a temple and there are things going in and out of our lives all the time. Jesus thought on these terms when speaking of the things that can defile us in Mark ch. 7.
The gatekeepers job was to see that nothing profane defiled the temple. The apostle Paul spoke of these things as applying to our persons as the temple of God:
[Mar 7:15 KJV] 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
[1Co 3:17 KJV] 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.
In modern society we have an insatiable appetite for information. Whether is comes in the form of a news cast or surfing the web or watching a fictional movie we live in an information age and information is constantly going in and out of our lives. Quentin Tarantino is a famous movie director known for ultra violent and perverse story telling yet he absolutely rejects the idea of any connection between his depictions and the rise of violence in our culture. This reflects the disconnect in modern thinking between what we ingest in terms of information and entertainment and the actually outworking of those influences in our daily lives. Yet the grip of the cult of celebrity is undeniable in our culture. The gospel that once was preached primarily in the marketplaces of the ancient world is now largely being challenged in the media markets of the internet, television, radio, etc. The church has made inroads here but unfortunately in so doing the message has been muddled by the blending of contaminating secular influences making it hard to discern the actual difference between charisma and the anointing.
You are the temple of God. We are collectively a temple. We don’t fulfill our mandate when we follow cultural trends in pursuit of validity or authenticity. Our authenticity is in the differences and not the similarities between kingdom culture and secular culture. The scripture tells us to come out from among “them” and be separate. That separation exists because we choose to establish “gatekeepers” of the avenues of ingress into our lives that shape and form us into either the image of God or the image of the world.
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