By Alex Florez
In today’s reading, we read some obscure Hebrew names. Most of us tend to gloss over, perhaps even skip, the names when we encounter this kind of passage in the Bible. However, we should bear in mind that these names represent real people who lived real lives. Maybe I’ll never meet a guy named Eliehoenai, but once upon a time, long ago, someone did. He had a dad and a mom, and, as we know from Scripture, he had a job. He was a gatekeeper.
The men who occupied this role were charged with a number of responsibilities critical to the proper functioning of God’s dwelling place, the temple. One of their duties was to ensure that access was granted to the right people at the necessary times. These individuals were important; even if we have trouble with their names, they mattered.
The sacred duty of safeguarding God’s holy dwelling place was paramount. “These divisions of the gatekeepers, under their leading men, had duties for ministering in the LORD’s temple, just as their relatives did” (1Chronicles 26:12). This mention of “relatives” speaks to a long-standing tradition of individuals who were born to carry out this work. With God’s law guiding their every move and decision, the gatekeepers were trained and equipped to ensure that the holy presence was protected from interlopers and ritual contamination.
Now, I’m all for the idea of protecting the integrity of the temple and, indeed, God’s holiness, but I count myself supremely blessed to live in a reality where the veil has been torn. And wayward sinners like me now have direct access to the presence of God. I simply can’t imagine being told by a mere man— no matter his family pedigree or knowledge of the Mosaic law—that the Lord was unavailable to me. What the gatekeepers would have certainly decided after surveying my list of “priors” (not to mention that it was squarely against the rules for anyone to simply stroll on in) was that I was entirely unfit to enter.
Praise God that what Jesus accomplished is to completely reorient the question of whether or not a person like me should be granted an audience with the Lord. Rather than my shortcomings and mistakes barring me from His presence, it is precisely the depth of my need that qualifies me to receive the atoning blood of Jesus, which, in itself, is the only means by which a man could ever enter the gate and approach the throne of God.
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One thought on "The Levitical Gatekeepers"
How often are we our own gatekeepers, telling ourselves that we are not worthy of the presence of the Lord? Man! We aren’t! But Christ, being rich in mercy, made a way for us sinners to draw near to Him.
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