And the gatekeepers were Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their brethren. Shallum was the chief. Until then they had been gatekeepers for the camps of the children of Levi at the King’s Gate on the east. Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, from his father’s house, the Korahites, were in charge of the work of the service, gatekeepers of the tabernacle. Their fathers had been keepers of the entrance to the camp of the Lord. And Phinehas the son of Eleazar had been the officer over them in time past; the Lord was with him. Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was keeper of the door of the tabernacle of meeting. All those chosen as gatekeepers were two hundred and twelve. They were recorded by their genealogy, in their villages. David and Samuel the seer had appointed them to their trusted office. So they and their children were in charge of the gates of the house of the Lord, the house of the tabernacle, by assignment. The gatekeepers were assigned to the four directions: the east, west, north, and south. And their brethren in their villages had to come with them from time to time for seven days. For in this trusted office were four chief gatekeepers; they were Levites. And they had charge over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. And they lodged all around the house of God because they had the responsibility, and they were in charge of opening it every morning. Now some of them were in charge of the serving vessels, for they brought them in and took them out by count. Some of them were appointed over the furnishings and over all the implements of the sanctuary, and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the incense and the spices. And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices. Mattithiah of the Levites, the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the trusted office over the things that were baked in the pans. And some of their brethren of the sons of the Kohathites were in charge of preparing the showbread for every Sabbath. These are the singers, heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites, who lodged in the chambers, and were free from other duties; for they were employed in that work day and night. (1 Chronicles 9:17-33)
Serving In A Trusted Office
The logistics of the Law of Moses was an incredible achievement to carry out. Beginning at Sinai with the construction of the Tabernacle and all of the requirements implemented by the Lord continuing through the building of the Temple by Solomon, there were major and minor parts of the services that had to be carried out daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Only certain people were allowed to care for the Tabernacle as it journeyed throughout the wilderness. Responsibility and care of the Tabernacle was given to the tribe of Levi. The family of Kohath oversaw the assembling and disassembling of the Tent of Meeting. When the people came into the land of promise, the Tabernacle was set up in Shiloh and the tribe of Levi ministered daily for the worship prescribed by God. Many years later when the Temple was finished under the leadership of Solomon, responsibility moved to caring for the furnishings and work of the House of God. This would require legions of servants in various places doing their work as proficient as possible. Among these servants were the gatekeepers.
Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their brethren had a very important job to do. Their names may be hard to pronounce but the Holy Spirit impresses upon the pages of holy writ the work of being a gatekeeper was a trusted office. It was more than opening and closing the gates for the two hundred and twelve men that served in this place. There was a lot of responsibility in the position of being a gatekeeper. The work to be carried out was to maintain the integrity of God’s word. It may not have been the glorious work of being a High Priest or even serving as a priest within the walls of the Temple but there was little doubt the Lord had given special instructions to those who kept the gates and He expected those servants to do the best they could do. They served in an office of trust overseeing the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. The scripture says they had the responsibility and they were in charge of opening the house of God every morning. Someone had to do that job and God assigned them to this task. It was an office of trust.
The New Testament church finds a lot of gatekeepers in its midst. Not everyone could be an apostle. Elders were selected among the early Christians serving with distinction as shepherds of the flock watching out for the souls of the people of God. Deacons and preachers served in their capacities and stories of Peter, Paul, Silas, Barnabas and Timothy fill the pages of the book of Acts. But there were a lot of people doing the important work of opening their homes for the saints to meet in, feeding the hungry, sharing their garments and tunics made from loving hands, teaching and encouraging the downtrodden. Being a gatekeeper under the Law was an office of trust. There are many things to be done in the church and the Lord sees each one as a work of trust. He implemented the positions of the Law of Moses to show a pattern of how important the work of serving Him would be reflected in the kingdom of His Son. The church is in need of all those who will take up the mantle of faith to do whatever the Lord needs in whatever capacity they can be used.
Not everyone can be in the place of an elder or preacher. Some of the most important work of the Lord is done away from the church building. Visiting the sick is being a gatekeeper. Writing notes and making phone calls keeps the gates open. Having families in the home to increase fellowship genders spiritual growth within the local congregation. Setting up Bible studies with friends and neighbors is being a gatekeeper. The Lord told Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their brethren they had a trusted office to keep. His word reminds us all that we have a part to play in the work of the Lord. Each one of us has been entrusted to carry out a part of the work that forms the whole of the local congregation spreading the news of Jesus Christ. Everything we do is important as the effective working by which every member does what they can do – because we all have a trusted office. This will bring growth of the body for the edification of itself in love. The Lord is depending on you and me. Let’s do the best we can do.