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Again, let me state that those who read too quickly or without attention to the genealogies and lists of names that are found in the Bible miss some very interesting material! Also, they discount the importance of such scripture. Remember that God inspired these scriptures the same as all others. And the same God is keeping account of each person's every thought, word, and deed today. May we not be so casual about what is being written about us by our Sovereign God!
This chapter begins with the mention of the porters. These were most likely door keepers and guards. Remember that in Psalm 84:10 David said he would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of wickedness because a day in God's courts is better than a thousand. These men so named from the tribe of Levi got to spend their days in the courts of God. What a wonderful responsibility they had standing first in the curtained gates of the tabernacle then at the beautiful doors of Solomon's Temple.
The beginning of the chapter details the family of Meshelemiah from the line of Asaph, one of the musicians inspired by God to write several of the psalms. Then it tells us of the blessings of Obed-edom, the man in whose home the Ark of the Covenant rested until David properly moved it to Jerusalem. (See I Chronicles chapter 13 for more information.) In I Chronicles 13:14 we read that God blessed the house - or family - of Obed-edom due to his respect for the Ark of the Covenant. Here we see one of the ways that God blessed him. In verses 4-5 of today's chapter we read the names of Obed-edom's eight sons with the notation "for God blessed him." Oh, to live in such a time when children were counted as blessings of the LORD!
We are also told that Obed-edom had grandsons who were mighty men of valour. These 62 men were able men for strength for the service of the tabernacle. (See verse 8.) Evidently strong Levite men were necessary for the responsibility of being porters. No wonder David respected them so highly and wanted to be like them!
Further down we read about the Levites that were over the tabernacle/temple treasury. Moses' descendant through his son, Gershom, was one of the treasurers. His name was Shebuel. (See verse 24.) The men named in this section (verses 20-28) kept the treasury. Shelomith and his brethren (see verses 26-28) had the particular responsibility of keeping all of the treasures that were dedicated by David to God for the purpose of building the Temple. Samuel, Saul, Abner, and Joab had also dedicated personal treasures and the spoils of war to this treasury.
Does God issue any commands?
God did not speak in this passage but we see how some of His prior commands were being fulfilled. For instance, He had told the Israelites to conquer the idolatrous Canaanites. They had not been perfect in carrying out this command but when they had conquered some of God's enemies they dedicated some of the spoils of war to the coffers for the purpose of building God a house. Also, God had commanded David not to build Him a house but said that Solomon could. Here we read of the preparations in David's storehouse for just such an undertaking. Another thing commanded of God was the service of the individual Levite families. Some of the fulfillment of their appointed duties is listed in this chapter.
Does God make any promises?
God did not speak, but the keeping of promises is evident in this chapter. For one thing, His blessing of Obed-edom is highlighted here. In the middle of a very dark event, one that cost Uzza his life, another man was abundantly blessed because of his respect for the Ark of the Covenant and the God that it represented! For another, the proliferation of the tribe of Levi was a testimony to the faithfulness of God who set them apart for His service. He always had enough men for the duties and many of them were counted as men of valour.
Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
- Although the Ark itself is not mentioned in this chapter by comparing scripture with scripture we find that the reason Obed-edom was abundantly blessed by God was because he properly cared for and respected the Ark. The Ark of the Covenant represented Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the propitiation for our sins, whose blood was placed upon the mercy seat.
- One of the other Levites who was blessed was Meshelemiah, or Shelemiah, whose responsibility it was to guard the East Gate. It is probably through this gate that Jesus entered at his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem prior to cleansing the Temple. In his visions Ezekiel saw the glory of the LORD departing and returning through this gate at the time of the Babylonian captivity and of the future restoration. In Ezekiel 44:1-3 is the prophecy that the gate would be closed until the return of the Messiah. It is now closed but one day it will be opened again by Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star.
Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
- The doorkeepers of the gates on the east are listed. This would include the East Gate that Jesus entered a few days prior to His crucifixion. Ezekiel prophesied that this gate would be shut after the Messiah used it and would not be open again until the Prince returns and uses it again for another Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. This day is coming!
- This passage details the service duties of the Levites from the days of David forward to the time of the Babylonian captivity. A reading of Revelation tells us that those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb are made kings and priests. (See Rev. 1:6.) This surely means that we will each be given important ceremonial duties in the Kingdom of our God!