TODAY’S READING: 1 Chronicles 8–10
The genealogies in Chronicles begin with Adam, focus on the priests, and end with Saul. The chronicler did not spend a lot of time on the negative aspects of Saul, his family, or even David’s sins, preferring a more positive (if detailed) narrative that centers on the temple and priestly duties. In the final genealogy (1 Chr. 9:35–44) which ends with Saul’s death, Saul’s son Ishbosheth is listed as Esh-Baal and his grandson Mephibosheth is listed as Merib-Baal. The names have the same root, and it appears the writer of the book of Samuel exchanged the Canaanite word for God, “baal,” with the Hebrew word for shame, “bosheth.” How sad that the legacy of Saul became a shameful one. Because he did not faithfully pursue God’s passion in dealing with the Amalekites, he was deemed unfaithful and so God killed him (10:13–14). Judah fared no better and was, in turn, carried away to Babylon (9:1) for its respective unfaithfulness. God is pretty serious about His covenant relationship with His people. He will be our God, He will live among us, we will be His holy missionary people, and He will bless us so we bless all nations, or else He kills us and sends us to Babylon. This is the harsh Old Testament rendering, yet God has lost none of His fiery passion for His own glory among all peoples in our day.
Speaking of fiery passion, the Levites were to tend the fires of sacrifice and all the worship of the temple. These were then intended to keep God’s people holy, sanctified to His missionary purposes in all the earth. First Chronicles 9:17–27 details the interesting role of the Levitical gatekeepers.
Gatekeepers played very significant roles in a temple centered society with crude locks and keys. In one role the gatekeepers functioned essentially as secret service agents, controlling the inner city security of Jerusalem…some gatekeepers had substantial political power themselves. By guarding doorways a gatekeeper could play the role of political chief of staff, controlling access to the king…. A significant role for the gatekeepers was their control of the temple offerings and payroll…a responsibility that included distributing allotments by divisions…persons of great integrity were needed to ensure the proper financial care of the temple and its personnel.
No wonder the text describes the gatekeepers as able men whom the Lord was with, and who held a trusted office (vv. 13, 20, 22, 26). It’s not that different today. God has able men and women globally with the integrity He can trust with wealth. Money so easily corrupts, and there are few God can trust to give much to, few He knows who will give much away, giving it both wisely and strategically. In the ongoing pursuit of the global worship of Jesus by every tongue and tribe, there are many roles to play, and all of them need funding. Even the priests who did nothing but sing night and day (v. 33) needed food and clothing. In practical terms, someone must oversee the treasury of God’s house and ensure it is directed towards the last, least, and lost. God’s missionary will is empowered when God’s missionary businesspeople are favored and trusted with God’s missionary wealth. Faithful gatekeepers seek out people groups like the Beja and get behind missionaries called to take the gospel to the unreached. These “missionary chief of staff” givers are central to the Great Commission and the spread of God’s glory among every people. Bless them, Lord. Bless them (like Abraham) to be a blessing to all the peoples of earth.
 For the story of Ishbosheth, see 2 Samuel 2:8–11, and for the story of Mephibosheth, see 2 Samuel 6:9–13.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 968.