1 Chronicles 9:17-34
As we read through today’s assigned chapters, it may have been tempting to allow your eyes to go into skim mode and gloss over the surface of all those names. Admit it, you probably did it.
As tedious as these lists may be, it does offer us an opportunity to see a basic Bible study principle stand out. One tool for getting at the core meaning and purpose for a passage of scripture or a book in the Bible is to observe things that are emphasized in some way. In today’s chapters many, many generations of people and occupations of people and historical events are passed over with a simple name in a list, but then, right in the middle of the lists there are several verses dedicated to a fairly intricate description of one particular type of person; the gate keeper.
Who were they? What did they do? Why do they get so much ink in this genealogy?
Here again, we see one of the core truths of scripture, and one of our key verses being demonstrated. The Temple was the heart of worship for Israel. It was the physical space that represented the covenantal relationship that the nation had with God. When the Temple worship was healthy, the nation was healthy. When the Temple worship was unhealthy, the nation was in danger. When Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jerusalem, he burned the Temple to the ground. Now, after being allowed to return to Jerusalem, and under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Ezra, the Temple had been rebuilt. With the proper worship of God restored, what was the first thing they did? They established an order of priests to guard the Temple gates, to guard the heart of Israel. They were stationed to the north, south, east, and west. They never left the gates unguarded.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”If someone were to write a chronicle of your spiritual journey, how much ink would the gatekeepers get in your story? Do you have a guard posted 24/7 around the temple of your heart that will not allow temptation and false teaching to infiltrate the holy place and dilute your relationship with God? Do you pay them well and give them a place of honor? Or, are your guards underpaid and asleep on their watch?
While this is a purely allegorical interpretation of this passage in 1 Chronicles, I don’t think it is too far of a stretch. Let’s never let our guard down. May you have a well-guarded, God-honoring day.