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The Gatekeeper

Gatekeepers are one of the important groups of people in Old Testament times. In the book of Ezra and Nehemiah we can see this statement coming again and again - priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants. Gatekeepers are separated for the sake of the Law of God

Nehemiah 10:28
"The rest of the people--priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand--

There were 4000 gatekeepers when Solomon became the king over Israel

1 Chronicles 23:1-5
1 When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.
2 He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel, as well as the priests and Levites.
3 The Levites thirty years old or more were counted, and the total number of men was thirty-eight thousand.
4 David said, "Of these, twenty-four thousand are to supervise the work of the temple of the LORD and six thousand are to be officials and judges.
5 Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the LORD with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose."

When the temple and the wall was rebuilt during Ezra and Nehemiah's time, there were more than a hundred gatekeepers

Ezra 2:42
The gatekeepers of the temple: the descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai 139

Nehemiah 7:45
The gatekeepers: the descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai 138

Nehemiah 11:19
The gatekeepers: Akkub, Talmon and their associates, who kept watch at the gates--172 men.

Lets read 1 Chronicles 9:20-27.

1 Chronicles 9:20-27
20 In earlier times Phinehas son of Eleazar was in charge of the gatekeepers, and the Lord was with him.
21 Zechariah son of Meshelemiah was the gatekeeper at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
22 Altogether, those chosen to be gatekeepers at the thresholds numbered 212. They were registered by genealogy in their villages. The gatekeepers had been assigned to their positions of trust by David and Samuel the seer.
23 They and their descendants were in charge of guarding the gates of the house of the Lord--the house called the Tent.
24 The gatekeepers were on the four sides: east, west, north and south.
25 Their brothers in their villages had to come from time to time and share their duties for seven-day periods.
26 But the four principal gatekeepers, who were Levites, were entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasuries in the house of God.
27 They would spend the night stationed around the house of God, because they had to guard it; and they had charge of the key for opening it each morning.

1. Hold The Key.

Imagine if you had been chosen personally by David and Samuel. They saw you, they knew you and they trusted you. You were part of the fellowship of Phineas. And you have given the key to the treasury, store room. You will be very careful of where you are keeping the key. You may be wearing the key on your shoulder. The very fact that you held that key was a testimony to your spirituality and integrity.

We are the gatekeeper to unlock the treasures of God. It's through our words, our actions, our lives that people in the world will be able to access God's treasures. Have you ever lost your keys? Imagine you are ready to leave for church on Sunday . . . tank is filled, tires are new, engine is tuned but you can't go anywhere without the key.

How are we holding the keys to the knowledge?

Luke 11:52
"Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering."

The Pharisees took away the key, and hurt the faith of those who wanted to enter. They locked themselves out, but also blocked the way to thousands of genuine seekers.

People who want to be saved, may not be saved through us, if we fall short of God's standard in our lives. We hold the keys for millions and millions of souls to access the treasures of God. God has given us the keys for the salvation of the billion in India. How responsible are we with the keys?

2. Guard The Treasure.

One of the main responsibility of a gatekeeper is guarding the treasury - which can include armor, gold, silver and other precious metals. The gatekeepers spent every night guarding the temple, and they opened it each morning. They performed God's service and the service of purification

Nehemiah 12:44,45
44 At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites.
45 They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did also the singers and gatekeepers, according to the commands of David and his son Solomon.

Today we can see God has given us responsibility to guard His treasures. Are we setting aside time to be a gatekeeper in God's Kingdom on a daily basis? Are we ready to guard what has already been entrusted to us?

2 Timothy 1:14
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you--guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Another way to guard is to make sure we are not giving ears to opposing ideas and godless chatter.

1 Timothy 6:20,21
20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,
21 which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.

3. Receive The Blessings

Let us see from the scriptures some blessings for the gatekeepers.

a. They stayed along with ministering priests

Nehemiah 10:39
The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and oil to the storerooms where the articles for the sanctuary are kept and where the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the singers stay. "We will not neglect the house of our God."

Will we be ready to stay along with those who minister?

b. Daily portions were given to them.

Nehemiah 12:47
So in the days of Zerubbabel and of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions for the singers and gatekeepers. They also set aside the portion for the other Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants of Aaron.

Do we believe that God will bless our daily portions if we are gatekeepers to His kingdom.

c. Gatekeepers are not bound to pay taxes

Ezra 7:24
You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.

Do we believe that there will be special consideration if we are gatekeepers?

Today in the kingdom of God, we are priests, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants. We must all be involved in performing God's service.