he new Jerusalem was established.
The temple rebuilt, the walls completed.
Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah
had completed the tasks which God
had placed upon their hearts to do.
The work completed by Israelites alone,
denying the offers of help by outliers
who only had plans to interfere
and cause confusion.
The construction costs and supplies
provided by kings and kingdoms
who were not remotely of the same
lineage of these people
But God who owns it all, saw it fit
to move their hand, to write the orders,
to supply all that was needed.
Now these renewed citizens
of this rebuilt Jerusalem would need
to learn the original ways of the Holy City.
How to live, serve and breathe
in very presence of a Holy God who
made His dwelling in this Temple.
But holiness must be preserved.
So God called once more upon
the Levites, a chosen tribe of Jacob
to staff and protect this House of God.
All these, who were chosen as
gatekeepers at the thresholds, were...
established in their office of trust.
The gatekeepers were on the four sides,
east, west, north, and south...
the four chief gatekeepers,
who were Levites, were entrusted
to be over the chambers and
the treasures of the house of God.
And they lodged around the house of God,
for on them lay the duty of watching, and
they had charge of opening it every morning.
1 Chronicles 9:22, 24, 26-27 NKJV
Like guards who stand watch,
these gatekeepers needed to protect
this special place, this residence of God,
from being defiled,
from being diminished,
from being destroyed again.
For the first time it happened,
was not simply when Babylonian troops
came in and tore apart the physical building.
The House of God had been ruined
long before one stone was even scarred
by the ravages of any foreign foe.
Truth be told, the harm that was done,
causing the very presence of God
to leave Jerusalem, to withdraw Himself
from their midst and allow the city destroyed,
came from within... and not without.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
And the hearts of men and women
within the city of Jerusalem,
within the land of Judah and Israel
had turned to worship other things.
They no longer placed God first and foremost
in their heart, mind and soul.
They no longer worshiped Him and chose Him
to be the center of their life.
They had slowly become more like
the culture that surrounded, rather than
being faithful to the God that delivered them
from slavery and bondage in Egypt.
And it was not just the common people,
but leaders, elders, priests and kings.
For when gray seeps into a culture,
it's a fog that is often hard to contain.
So understandably, the original gatekeepers
would have had difficulty guarding a Temple
when the people and priests were not
carrying in anything that looked like
it might defile the House of God.
But in fact, they were smugglers...
for the darkness the brought was within
rather than without.
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
But God certainly saw it.
And because God was unable
to look upon it, the House of God
So how do these new gatekeepers
keep from this happening again?
For certainly they too, will be unable
to see what is smuggled past them
within the heart.
But is it truly their job?
Or rather ours...
to establish trust
to guard all four sides,
to value the treasures of God.
For we should be on duty,
on guard of our own heart,
in charge of opening it every morning
to God before we allow
the culture around
to engulf us in the gray
that creeps in like a fog
that is often hard to contain.
We are the gatekeepers
of our own heart, mind and spirit.
We need to set a watch
and decide who sits on the throne
and fills the presence of the house within.
For until we do,
we will be subject to
Word of God
train me today...
To be aware at the gate of my heart,
ready to watch from all four sides.
To open my heart to You first each morning
and guard against the gray.
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