1 Chronicles 9 takes us away from the long genealogical lists and now into the work that some of the people of Israel were charged with. We are reminded that “Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their breach of faith”. Sometimes people wonder if God really is paying attention and cares about how we live. Our faith and walk with Him matter. We will pay a price if we do not keep our faith walk in line. God is watching and wants us to be in right relationship with Him. It is not optional.
This chapter talks about the “mighty men for the work of the service of the house of God”. People from a number of tribes are returning to Jerusalem from their various places of captivity and now working together to restore the city. We are given the lists of “gatekeepers….keepers of the entrance…..chief officers”. This is the who’s who of people that were assigned specific tasks around the tent of meeting. And there were a lot of them required – it was a 24/7 job and there were lots of details to be cared for.
Scripture tells us there were 1760 mighty men serving in the house of God, 212 of them were “chosen as gatekeepers”. Those folks were places in “their office of trust” following the model that was earlier created by David and Samuel. These people lived and breathed their work. They were mostly living right there in Jerusalem, but some had to dwell in villages outside and travel to their post because the city was not yet ready to handle all the people. They were “on duty day and night” and had a significant role to fulfill in the life of the city.
What did they do beyond guarding the gate? There were other tasks that were part of their responsibilities:
- “in charge of the gates….as guards
- entrusted to be over the chambers and the treasures of the house of God
- duty of watching
- charge of opening it every morning
- charge of the utensils of service
- appointed over the furniture
- over all the holy utensils
- over the fine flour, the wine, the oil, the incense, and the spices
- prepared the mixing of the spices
- making the flat cakes
- charge of the showbread
The list is long and varied, and each group was assigned specific tasks, but they were taking care of vital roles in enabling worship to happen safely in the city of Jerusalem. Each knew their charge and spent their time doing their job day and night. It was their passion and job to make sure that God was continually praised and that those who came to worship would be assisted whenever they came.