1 Chronicles 29:1-19 (Part 2) – He’s Baaaack!: What Obed-edom Can Teach Us

Posted: June 3, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 26:1-19 (Part 2 of 2)

Duties of the Gatekeepers

He’s baaaaack! Here he is again! Obed-edom. What a servant of the Lord. He is mentioned in 1 Chronicles multiple times and each time it is about him and his family serving the Lord. As Joshua 24:15 famously states, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Obed-edom took that to heart. He is not a superstar of the Bible like David and Moses and other Old Testament heroes, but, man, he is a story of quiet faithfulness to the Lord. Sometimes, we want notoriety for having done the smallest things for the Lord. However, Obed-edom simply went about his day to day business faithfully serving the Lord. He was richly rewarded but it was not because Obed-edom expected some financial windfall from obedience to the Lord. He simply gave the Lord his all. He gave his service to the Lord his top priority. We can learn a lot from Obed-edom.

That’s the thing that I thought of this morning was those people who do things for their church because it is their way of saying thank you, Lord, for what you have done for me and, thank you, church for what the relationships at this church have done for me. That idea of serving quietly without expecting notoriety or fame or a pat on the back for it for your church is what came to mind as I read about the gatekeepers at the Temple. Let’s read 1 Chronicles 26:1-19 now:

Chapter 26

1 From the Korahites, there was Meshelemiah son of Kore, of the family of Abiasaph.[a] 2 The sons of Meshelemiah were Zechariah (the oldest), Jediael (the second), Zebadiah (the third), Jathniel (the fourth), 3 Elam (the fifth), Jehohanan (the sixth), and Eliehoenai (the seventh).

4 The sons of Obed-edom, also gatekeepers, were Shemaiah (the oldest), Jehozabad (the second), Joah (the third), Sacar (the fourth), Nethanel (the fifth), 5 Ammiel (the sixth), Issachar (the seventh), and Peullethai (the eighth). God had richly blessed Obed-edom.

6 Obed-edom’s son Shemaiah had sons with great ability who earned positions of great authority in the clan. 7 Their names were Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad. Their relatives, Elihu and Semakiah, were also very capable men.

8 All of these descendants of Obed-edom, including their sons and grandsons—sixty-two of them in all—were very capable men, well qualified for their work.

9 Meshelemiah’s eighteen sons and relatives were also very capable men.

10 Hosah, of the Merari clan, appointed Shimri as the leader among his sons, though he was not the oldest. 11 His other sons included Hilkiah (the second), Tebaliah (the third), and Zechariah (the fourth). Hosah’s sons and relatives, who served as gatekeepers, numbered thirteen in all.

12 These divisions of the gatekeepers were named for their family leaders, and like the other Levites, they served at the house of the Lord. 13 They were assigned by families for guard duty at the various gates, without regard to age or training, for it was all decided by means of sacred lots.

14 The responsibility for the east gate went to Meshelemiah[b] and his group. The north gate was assigned to his son Zechariah, a man of unusual wisdom. 15 The south gate went to Obed-edom, and his sons were put in charge of the storehouse. 16 Shuppim and Hosah were assigned the west gate and the gateway leading up to the Temple.[c] Guard duties were divided evenly. 17 Six Levites were assigned each day to the east gate, four to the north gate, four to the south gate, and two pairs at the storehouse. 18 Six were assigned each day to the west gate, four to the gateway leading up to the Temple, and two to the courtyard.[d]

19 These were the divisions of the gatekeepers from the clans of Korah and Merari.

In this passage, we see that it says in 1 Chronicles 26:5, in part, that “God had richly blessed Obed-edom” Here, in that verse, it is said of him after it has mentioned the many children of Obed-edom are mentioned by name. As is typical in the Bible and of the culture at the time, the ability to have children for women was highly prized and for a man to have an abundance of children was considered a sign of God’s favor upon him. Another thing to consider about Obed-edom is here in that he and his clan were assigned to the south gate of the Temple and they were assigned responsibility for the storehouse.

There are several symbolic things going on in this assignment that you might not catch unless you stop to think about it. All of these things show us that Obed-edom was truly a man who loved God and wanted to serve Him in any way possible. First, the fact that Obed-edom and his clan were assigned to the south gate is more significant than you might think. The south gate was the king’s gate. It was his passage to the Temple from the king’s palace. Therefore, to be assigned to this gate through the sacred lots was evidence of God’s favor upon Obed-edom. He knew King David very well. We first see David and Obed-edom encounter each other after the incident with touching the ark that resulted in Uzziah’s death. Because that incident ended any desire for a good while for King David to bring the ark to Jerusalem, he asked Obed-edom to keep the ark at his home. Apparently, Obed-edom and his family rightly and with great respect and honor took care of God’s ark, he was richly blessed because of his devotion during that time period. Because God knew of the richness of Obed’s devotion, He caused it to happen that Obed’s clan was assigned the place of honor of the temple gates. To serve the king in this way would have been considered a very high honor indeed. Faithfulness to the Lord leads to blessing. We often think that God will bless us with a winning lottery ticket or some other financial windfall but really the blessing is that through obedience and faithfulness to the Lord, we are changed in a person that wants and desires to serve the Lord – and that changed mindset is the blessing.

Second, the fact that Obed and his clan are put in charge of the storehouse is a reflection of the meticulous and faithful way that they took care of the ark when it was at the family homestead. The storehouse personnel needed to be manned by a clan that was meticulous and that had integrity. Otherwise the supplies and materials for the Temple could have easily gotten out of control fast. As a former auditor, I can tell you about business units of the companies that I have worked for where the inventory of raw materials, work-in-process and finished goods can get out of control really fast. It can cause the financial statements to be skewed or out and out misrepresented. Then, when it comes time for a physical inventory, there can be huge writeoffs or writeups when there is not proper control over inventory. When people can’t explain the variances of a physical inventory, then, there is a lack of proper internal control over inventory. This has been true since the first time somebody had to store supplies in an ancient civilization and would have been no less true at God’s Temple in Jerusalem. The fact that Obed and his clan had always taken their work for the Lord so seriously over the years is why they are given responsibility over the storehouse. Are we people who take our volunteer positions at the church seriously or do you or I give it our second best, our leftovers? Do we like having the title as a leader at church but do nothing but the minimum for that needed function at the church, if that? Do we assign people for positions at church because we just need a warm body to fill a position? Do we have a passionless church where we all give the church third or fourth priority in our lives. We will do for our church as long as it does not interfere with work, my leisure time, my kids’ sports activities, and so on.

Obed-edom has appeared like three times in the book of 1 Chronicles so far. He is always mentioned as having been richly blessed. He was richly blessed because it is so evident in these three references that he put top priority on his relationship with the Lord. It came before all other priorities in his life. God got his best, always. Does God get your best? Do you serve your church with a passionate heart? Do give your volunteer position at the church everything you have? Do make it a priority over vacations, over leisure activities, over children’s sports activities, over all things? Let us have churches full of Obed-edoms and just imagine what Christianity worldwide would look like! Let us have our local church be a church of Obed-edoms. Just imagine then the impact on your community that this would look like!

Amen and Amen.

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