These days, we are familiar with gatekeepers … gatekeepers at our local shops making sure people are sticking to the social distancing boundaries, counting the numbers going in and out, and watching that order is maintained! I think it is fair to say that today’s gatekeepers are not the most popular but have an important job to ensure everyone is safe. It was even more so with Temple gatekeepers. In short, Temple gatekeepers were in charge of who went in and who went out. They ensured order and reverence for God’s house, as we saw earlier in 1 Chronicles 9:26–29.
In this passage however, we are given the names of the gatekeepers, and some of them were given special acknowledgement. Verse 8 stands out: ‘All these were the sons and their brethren, able men with strength for the work: sixty-two of Obed-Edom.’ We know more of Obed-Edom from 2 Sam 6:1-11, when King David desired to bring the ark of the Lord into Jerusalem. However, the ark of God was set on a cart pulled by oxen. So, when one of the oxen stumbled, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark to steady it. Because this was not the proper way for the ark to be handled, Uzzah died. As a result, ‘David was afraid of the Lord that day’ and ‘would not move the ark of the Lord to the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark remained in the house of Obed-Edom three months. And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom.’ It was in God’s order for the ark of God to remain with Obed-Edom because he was a Levite and a gatekeeper. One of his duties included watching over the ark in the sacred tent and so the Lord blessed Obed-Edom greatly.
We can easily see the parallel for our own lives. Our conscience, the fear of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit are “gatekeepers” for our hearts. “Through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided” (Proverbs 16:6). The Spirit desires our sanctification, giving us the power to repel sin. When temptation comes knocking at our gate, the Holy Spirit nudges our Scripture-informed conscience: “That’s dangerous. Don’t go there.” The divine Gatekeeper acts on our behalf to keep invaders from destroying us. When we choose to do things in God’s order, we will also be greatly blessed.
Proverbs 4:23 says ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’
Lord Jesus, please give me the fear of the Lord and the Holy Spirit to help me guard my heart from evil. Amen.