1 Chronicles 26 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence
In order to make preparations for his son Solomon to build and establish the temple of God, David not only gathered all the materials, builders and artisans for its construction but also the men who would be needed to serve in the temple for its daily maintenance and preservation. So in addition to the priests and the Levites responsible for preparing the sacrifices and leading God’s people in prayer, David appointed four thousand men to serve on rotation as gatekeepers in the house of the Lord. Some of the duties of the gatekeepers included opening and closing the four gates of the temple each morning and evening, watching over the storehouses and the treasuries within the temple, examining those seeking entrance into the temple to ensure that no unclean person crossed the threshold as well as collecting monies to support the upkeep of the building itself. When on call, these gatekeepers would sleep in the temple precincts over night to watch over the building and its accoutrements to guard against both theft and contamination.
Of course, at some point, someone might ask, “Why would God’s house need protecting in the first place?” The temple of God is His sanctuary, a place set aside from the unholy elements of this world, and if it isn’t protected in this way, then God cannot dwell in the midst of Israel in peace. The safeguards were put in place not to protect the Lord but to protect the Lord’s people from His holy wrath for daring to approach Him in an unholy manner or else to touch things devoted unto God with unholy hands. Remember, even the Garden of Eden was guarded by the cherubim after Adam and Eve had rebelled against God, not to protect the tree of life, but to protect them from God’s righteous indignation. There was only one way back into the presence of God through the shedding of blood of a substitutionary sacrifice. Without the proper sacrifice and without the proper calling and approach before God, anyone seeking entrance would be bringing an immediate curse upon their heads.
We learned from 1 Chronicles chapter nine that Phinehas was sort of the father of the gatekeepers setting the example for the rest of them in his zeal for the Lord. When he first saw an Israelite man bringing a Midianite woman into his tent in the midst of the camp of Israel he took a spear and thrust it through the both of them to end God’s wrath against Israel for contaminating God’s camp through their sin. Prior to this bold action taken by Phinehas, the Lord had killed twenty-four thousand Israelites in the camp for bringing these unclean peoples into the presence of God.
Later on, in one of the first attacks upon the leadership of Moses, a man named Korah had suggested that any of the Levites ought to be able to go an offer incense before the Lord, not just Moses or even Aaron and his sons. As a result of his pride and impure approach, he was burned alive before the Lord. His sons seeing God’s righteous judgment upon their father later would become gatekeepers themselves and Psalm 84 is a testimony to their faithful service and humility to serve as gatekeepers in the house of God rather than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. One other name of significance in this list is that of Obed-Edom who watched over the Ark of the Covenant protecting it in his own house after the death of Uzzah for daring to touch the ark to keep it from falling off the ox cart. When David was too afraid to bring the ark into the city of Jerusalem, Obed-Edom served as its guard protecting it from impurity. It was men such as these that were appointed to honor the name of the Lord by keeping the things of the Lord holy in God’s camp.
With the coming of Christ in the flesh, it is a great testimony to the wonder-working power of his blood and the power of his grace that impure sinners were able to touch the temple of his body merely by faith and repentance. Anyone who would not come in such a manner would be recipients of Christ’s curse and woe, like the unrepentant Pharisees and Sadducees. But for all those who received his Word with faith and love, they were immediately granted access to God the father through him and were assured that they were forgiven of theirs sins.
Then with the coming of the Holy Spirit in fullness and in power to indwell all of God’s people, we are now commanded to watch over our own bodies being on guard against sin and idolatry not in order to be saved but in order to maintain communion and fellowship with the Lord. In this sense, we all are called to be gatekeepers of our own hearts to protect them from impurity, so that we would not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit in any way. For his desire is to dwell in us freely and fully that we might display the glory of the Lord in these jars of clay before a watching world. We are the temple of God on earth, and the Lord places his holy name upon us to provide a faithful testimony to the nations to draw all men unto Himself. Is that not a good reason to keep watch.