There are chapters in the Bible that you read for insight, and there are chapters in the Bible that you skim because they are long lists– of genealogies, census, building supplies, employee hierarchies…
1 Chron 26 lists gatekeepers and their duties. 1 Chron 27 describes the Israeli military structure in times of peace and the officials appointed in David’s kingdom.
What do we do when we come across passages of Scripture like this?
One thing you can do is look for comments that break from the pattern. For example, we have these:
- 26:10 Hosah, of hte Merari clan, appointed Shimri as the leader among his sons, though he was not the oldest.
- Interesting. Usually the oldest was put in charge, but here we have a father choosing a different son. No explanation is given. It reminds me of the times God chose someone other than the first born to lead (David is a prime example)
- 26:14 The north gate was assigned to his son Zechariah, a man of unusual wisdom.
- Quite the compliment, I would think, to have your name associated with unusual wisdom throughout history.
- 26:31 A parenthetical: In the 40th year of David’s reign, a search was made in the records, and capable men from the clan of Hebron were found at Jazer in the land of Gilead.
- Apparently, the men of Hebron were located on the opposite side of the Jordan River. The Bible doesn’t state why they were there, just that they were searched for, located, and appointed.
Another thing you can do is to look at the bigger picture.
- The 40th year of David’s reign was his last. We see his many preparations for the future. All the things he was doing were to safeguard Israel and to prepare for the fulfillment of God’s promises. David’s organization and preparation were testaments to his faith in God.
- We learn a lot about how David organized.
- Tribes were assigned to a specific duty (like gatekeeping), and then a portion of that tribe was assigned to a specific gate. Or at the storehouses, a specific commodity–wine, or olive oil, or donkeys.
- The people weren’t cross-trained. If you were assigned to oversee the donkeys, that was your area of expertise. A rather simplified version of life, don’t you think? If you knew what you were going to be when you grew up (overseer of olive oil), and the hours and duties of the assignment were set for you, that would allow you freedom to do what you liked with the rest of your time.
My two takeaways from these chapters:
- To believe in the promises of God and prepare accordingly. Do you believe Jesus will be returning? Each day brings us one day closer to his return. Are you living accordingly? What would that look like?
- Get organized. Simplify. Be good at that one thing. What is the one thing that God has entrusted to you? For me, it is my family. I need to make them my priority, and schedule my days/times accordingly.