Many churches have greeters at the entrance to make visitors and regular attenders feel welcome. They try to make sure that everyone who comes through the church’s doors is met with a smile and a handshake.
The focus in our reading today is on the divisions of the gatekeepers. Their presence was more than cosmetic. They ensured that the temple and its precincts were secure. This chapter also lists other Levites who were placed “in charge of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries for the dedicated things” (v. 20).
“The point of the passage is that David organized a well-guarded Temple with twenty-four guard-posts manned day and night,” commentator John Sailhamer explains. “That need for security at the Temple is understandable, not only in light of the Temple building itself, but also in light of the treasures stored in its treasury (26:27–28).”
The New Testament describes the church as a temple (1 Cor. 3:16–17; cf. Eph. 2:22). But its treasures are not made of gold and silver; rather, they are a matter of God’s grace. As each individual member carries out his or her ministry, we act “as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). Stewardship is the work of a servant. Like those who stood at the temple gate or tended to the treasury, it is not in itself glorious work. No doubt it was tedious at times.
Psalm 84:10 may have the gatekeepers in mind: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” This one waits patiently outside the temple, hoping to be near God. The psalmist reminds us of the privilege of God’s presence.