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2. The Divisions of the Gatekeepers
After we have had the singers and their service in prophecy before us in 1 Chronicles 25, our eyes are now turned to the gatekeepers. In the New Testament we can recognize them in the overseers, they are the ones who supervise. Like desiring earnestly the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1-Leviticus :), the aspiring of the office of overseer is encouraged (1 Timothy 3:1). The gatekeeper has the “task to minister in the house of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 26:12); the overseer has the task to supervise “how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15).
The leaders of the four thousand gatekeepers in total are mentioned (1 Chronicles 26:1-1 Kings :; 1 Chronicles 23:5). The gatekeepers are at the four large gate buildings. Their big task is to see who is allowed to enter the temple and who is not. Those who are not allowed to enter they must keep outside, while all those who are allowed in must be allowed to enter.
We can apply this to receiving believers at the Lord’s Table to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Two dangers must be avoided. One danger is that of generosity, whereby anyone who wishes to do so can be received to the Supper without investigating. If an unknown person comes who claims to be a believer, this should be investigated. There must be witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1). It is also important to establish that such a person does not live in sin (1 Corinthians 5:13), that he has no wrong doctrine about the Lord Jesus and His work (Galatians 5:9; 2 John 1:10) and that he does not belong to a group of Christians where public evil is not disciplined (2 Timothy 2:19; 2 John 1:11).
The other danger is a narrowness that refuses all those who do not belong to the same group of churches. Then believers are refused on other grounds than those just mentioned. The refusal of believers because of all kinds of not fundamental differences in opinion is sectarianism.
Although not everyone is a gatekeeper, all believers have the task of ensuring that the scriptural conditions for receiving or refusal are maintained. Being a gatekeeper is not an easy task.
The Galatians were not good gatekeepers. They have allowed false apostles to enter with their false teachings about the law (Galatians 2:4). Like a true gatekeeper, Paul writes his letter to them, saying that he does not submit to such false brethren for one hour (Galatians 2:5).
The investigation of who or what should be admitted to the temple can also be applied to our bodies. For our body is also called “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19). What do we allow to enter through eye and ear and thoughts and what do we absorb into our hearts? From the “gates” of the heart flow “the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). That is why we must also watch over the entrances and exits of our hearts with the greatest care, and be gatekeepers for ourselves. We must condemn and remove what is not good, and allow what shapes us and makes our lives more to the glory of God.
Here we find Obed-edom (1 Chronicles 26:4-Ruth :; 1 Chronicles 26:15). He honored and watched over the ark (1 Chronicles 13:13-2 Chronicles :). Here God honors and blesses him indeed (1 Chronicles 26:5) by giving him eight sons and entrusting him and his sons with the care of a gate and the storehouse. Besides supervising the south gate, he also takes care of the food of the priests. In it we see a picture of teaching in the church (cf. Matthew 24:45-2 Corinthians :). That is a big responsibility. His grandsons (sons of his son Shemaiah) are “mighty men of valor” (1 Chronicles 26:6) and “valiant men” (1 Chronicles 26:7).
Of one of the sons of Hosah, Shimri, is mentioned something special: “Although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first” (1 Chronicles 26:10). Possible causes for this may be that he has special qualities, given to him by God, with an accompanying spiritual attitude, or because his oldest brother does not care about the things of God.
Although nothing of the temple exists yet, David can arrange everything because God has already revealed His plan for the temple to him (1 Chronicles 28:11-:). According to this plan David arranges everything. The keepers of the gates to be built are already appointed by lot, that is to say by the LORD Himself (1 Chronicles 26:13). As a result, this designation is made without regard to the person.
3. The Keepers of the Treasures
The treasures of the dedicated gifts come from the spoil won in the battles and from possible voluntary gifts (1 Chronicles 26:26-Hosea :). The spoil of war are collected in rooms of the temple building and treasurers have to watch over them.
The treasures represent what we have found of God’s truth regarding the church in Scripture with the help of believers who in the past have investigated God’s Word. These are treasures that believers have collected over the centuries for the benefit of the building of the church, God’s house now. Interpreters of God’s Word in previous centuries have also used these treasures.
We owe most of our knowledge of Scripture to what has been gathered from Scripture by believers over two thousand years. Faithful believers have always been allowed to build on what previous generations have discovered in the gold mine of God’s Word, and these treasures have always been supplemented and expanded, and that still happens. The treasurers take note of the treasures that have been discovered and add to them. They are treasures conquered in great battle and gathered in the hearts of believers. Every victory in faith is a contribution to the temple’s treasures.
Some treasures have remained in the temple as a brilliant reminder of victory, others have been used to repair damage. Thus Paul presents Christ to the church in Colossae as the One “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3) in order to eliminate the damage caused by the influence of philosophical thinking to which the Colossians have opened themselves.
Shebuel, a descendant of Moses, is king over the treasures (1 Chronicles 26:24). Shebuel means ‘prisoner of God’. This reminds of Paul, who calls himself “the prisoner of Christ Jesus “ (Ephesians 3:1) and a preacher of “the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Treasures have also been entrusted to us. The great treasure is the Word of God. Its riches are inexhaustible.
Do we really see the Bible this way and guard it against attacks that are made on it out of unbelief or against disempowerment? Paul commands the young Timothy: “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to [you]” (2 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 6:20).
4. The Officers and the Judges
The Levites that we have been paying attention to before this section have the house of God as their workplace. This is applicable to the meetings of the believers, where they perform their task par excellence. The fourth task, the officers and judges, is different. They do not live in Jerusalem, but work in all of Israel, even at the other side of the Jordan. The judges enlighten the king in his task.
Believers are also used to resolve lawsuits among believers. These are disputes between believers about ordinary things that can happen in everyday life (1 Corinthians 6:4-Deuteronomy :). In the church people are given to serve the believers. There is hardly a dispute imaginable that cannot be resolved by believers. This does not require a high intelligence, but a spiritual mind.
The spirit of the world penetrates the churches and increases the number of disagreements in all kinds of churches. The mistrust in a church can be so high that what one group says is totally incomprehensible to the other group. Then it may be advisable to call upon the help of wise brothers from another local church. They must be able to listen calmly to both parties.
It concerns “all the work of the LORD and the service of the king” (1 Chronicles 26:30) and “all the affairs of God and of the king” (1 Chronicles 26:32). The latter we can understand as the affairs of the Lord Jesus. All things among the believers directly touch God and Christ. Their honor is at stake. Only when that is considered, this difficult work can be done and continued.
Both on the west side (1 Chronicles 26:30) and on the east side (1 Chronicles 26:32) of the Jordan it is first about God and then about the king. The things of God are the religious things like bringing the prescribed sacrifices and removing idolatry. The king’s affairs relate to political affairs, justice and the preservation of peace.
1 Chronicles 26:31 refers to ‘the fortieth year of David’s reign’, that is to say, we are in the last year of his reign. We see here that David remains committed to and for the service of the LORD until the last moment.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Chronicles 26". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany