We had a break-in a year ago. Well, not really a break-in. More like a stumble-in. Bob and I were watching TV on the couch one evening when we heard a noise in the kitchen. Some poor soul just ran right in after…, well, it’s a long story. All was taken care of, police, ambulance, and thank the Lord for good neighbors.
I say it wasn’t a break-in since we hadn’t locked our back door. (Duh.) Even though we both grew up in a big city, we tend to take for granted the relative safety of our wonderful small Midwestern town. So, really, our fault. Lesson learned, but like Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story…
I’ve been plowing about in the Old Testament books of Chronicles. Unfortunately, they have acquired a reputation that puts them decidedly among what some call the “white pages” of the Bible, i.e., the edges of the pages are white because they are seldom touched. The past few years I’ve been trying to discipline my reading with one of the available “one-year” Bibles that includes daily readings from four sections including Psalms, Proverbs, the rest of the Old Testament, and the New Testament. Sorry that I haven’t done this before, and would highly recommend it to anyone, as it gives a substantial context and congruency to the Bible as a whole (plus it keeps all your pages the same color…)
So Chronicles, of which there are two books. I’m fascinated by the organization of duties among the personnel known as the “gatekeepers”. Even a brief introduction to the duties of Old Testament worship makes it apparent that it was a very messy procedure. “Sunday best” (or, “church clothes” as we called it when I was a child) probably included blood-stained aprons, which one can only imagine what their wives went through trying to keep them clean, long before the days of Maytag,…
The gatekeepers seem to be second-tier functionaries, below the actual priests serving at the alter. Such a job description could potentially give rise to status-jealousy. But no; in reading about the gatekeepers it becomes apparent that their positions were not only organized, but variously assigned with a great deal of responsibility. Here are a few examples:
- They were “in charge of the treasures of the house of the Lord” (of which there were a LOT)
- They were officers and judges among the people.
- They were assigned in all four directions, north, south, east, and west. (No place was left unattended.)
- They were in charge of opening the temple gate every morning, and probably closing it at the correct time at night.
- They helped with the music.
Fast forward to the New Testament (in which we now live, in a real sense). We are now “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19) and we are “priests to our God” (1 Peter 2:9). Would it not be imperative that we also have gatekeepers for this temple? I posit that this is not only so, but comes in a few different ways:
- This one of the critical reasons why it’s repeated time and again that we need each other. Check out how many times the terms “one another” or similar terms are used in the New Testament. It was called “koinonia”.
- Dr. H. Cloud in his amazing book “Changes that Heal”, emphasizes this point also by calling it “boundaries”, and that I am mainly responsible for the perimeter that I set up, not so much as barrier, but as a boundary, with a gate (there’s that word again) for which I have God-given control, as well as accountability, of all entrances (relationships, time commitments, etc.) and exits (words, emotional response, resources such as time and money).
Like our little incident last summer, I am learning to watch my “gates” a little more closely.
(for a closer look at the gatekeepers, check out: https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/)