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May 9 Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 25-27
“Able Men for the Service”
1 Chronicles 26:8
Those men called and gifted of God for the service of his church and kingdom are gifted of God the Holy Spirit for the work to which he calls them. These are not natural gifts of intellectual ability, oratorical ability, or leadership ability, but spiritual gifts incorporating all the God-given abilities of their nature. No man is called of God to preach the gospel who is not equipped by God with such gifts.
Let every saved man desire the work of the ministry, desiring from God a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. That is noble and right. But let no man thrust himself into the work. Gospel preachers are called, gifted, and sent of God. If God creates a bird to fly, he gives it wings; and if God calls a man to preach, he gives him the gifts necessary to perform the work. These men and their gifts are illustrated for us in the men David appointed to be singers, porters, and treasurers “to minister in the house of the Lord” in these three chapters of 1st Chronicles.
Songs of praise to our God were a very large and important part of temple worship in the Old Testament. The singing was not for entertainment, but for worship, to direct the minds of the worshippers Godward. David appointed 288 Levites for this service, “for song in the house of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 25:6).
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” — “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” — They sang with musical accompaniment, with trumpets and cymbals representing joyful expressions of the heart, expressions of triumph and thanksgiving. So we are taught to sing with grace in the heart, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” These Levites prophesied (worshipped) “with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals.” So let us worship God in his house and in our homes with songs of praise to him. Think today of him whose praise these ancient singers celebrated, and sing your song of redemption to his praise.
Porters in the temple were the doorkeepers of God’s house. The word “porter” carries with it the idea of one responsible for janitorial work. But notice that the porters held an office of high honor and great importance in the house of God. Their office was an office to be desired. But only those who were specifically fitted by God for the work were chosen for this great work. They are described in 1st Chronicles 26 as “able men for strength for the service…strong men… wise counsellors…and mighty men of valor.” The porters were responsible to open and shut the doors of the temple, to keep out those people and things that would defile God’s house, cause disruption in the house, and/or take anything from the house of the Lord.
The spiritual porters of Christ’s church have a very solemn trust to keep the doors of God’s house. By their God-given wisdom and strength, they are to give out “all the counsel of God” in Holy Scripture, feeding God’s family with “knowledge and understanding.” As laboring janitors, they are to keep the house of God clean with the pure doctrine of Christ. By the preaching of the gospel, the Lord Jesus uses these porters to separate the wheat from the chaff, and shall at last present his church to himself a glorious church, having neither spot of sin nor wrinkle of infirmity.
The treasurers were responsible for the treasures stored in the house of God, all the gold, silver, and brass, especially that contained in the furnishings of the temple by which God’s Israel worshipped him in that age of symbolism and type. The treasurers of God’s house today guard that which is far more valuable.
Child of God, do not neglect to pray for those men set in the house of God as pastors in his church. These men are the ascension gifts of Christ to your soul. We have the treasure of the gospel committed to our trust and are responsible to bring it out to you in all our preaching, writing, and conversation for the enriching of your soul day by day.
Entrusted with the charge of his holy Word, his ordinances, and all his precious truth, the gospel preacher performs the highest, noblest, most honorable, and most demanding work in the world. From the inexhaustible Storehouse of Holy Scripture, he must bring forth continually to the people of God the unsearchable riches of Christ. What a terrible, inexcusable abuse of their office do they make, who preach themselves, instead of Christ Jesus the Lord!
The instructions given in these chapters concerning these porters and treasurers show us something of the devotion and vigilance with which gospel preachers, faithful pastors, must give themselves to the work of the ministry. Blessed Lord Jesus, give the preacher who writes these words and give to all your servants in this world the wisdom and grace needed to perform their work with a single eye to your glory, to promote the cause of your church in this world for the salvation of your elect and the comfort, edification, and everlasting benefit of your people. Amen.