Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Minor [major] hero - 1 Chron 9:20

When doling out the jobs in the tabernacle, gatekeeper was probably not one of the jobs that people would have been clamoring for ... better than some, but hardly in the 'thick of the action'. Yet any job that we are given should be done for His glory, and with an eye to making the most of every opportunity He gives us.

Here in 1 Chronicles 9 we are reminded of Phinehas, who was in charge of the gatekeepers. Why is he remembered so many hundreds of years afterwards? Well, we find out more in Numbers 25, but before we go there lets just pause and look at what 1 Chronicles 9 says about him. Here we read: "... and the Lord was with him". What a wonderful commendation. Of course, the Lord was with all of the Israelites in the desert, because His presence was physically seen above the tabernacle both in day and night. And, in a much deeper way, the Lord is also always with those who are His - by the indwelling of the Spirit in the believer. However, there was something about the way Phinehas walked with God which particularly identified that the Lord was with him.

If we look in Numbers 25, we read that: "While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods." The very presence of God was seen physically with them in the signs of the pillars of cloud and fire; the miracles of God's deliverance from evil were still within living memory; the command of God in Ex 24:12-16 not to listen to the invitations of the surrounding nations - the people had all these benefits, and yet still turned from God. But Phinehas stood out. He saw the hypocrisy of the people weeping before God on the one hand whilst still inviting people of the surrounding nations into their home, and acted decisively to deal with the sin. Because he knew his God, and the Lord was known to him, he did not turn aside to sin, but was zealous for God's name.

I love 1 Chron 9:20, because it does not bring us back to the particular act that Phinehas did, but to the motivation that led to the act: "the Lord was with Him". People who truly know God must, surely, live and act in the light of His purity, glory and for His honour. No matter how humble or great the position God has given us, if we are living our life with the knowledge of His presence, always in His sight, and always for His glory, we can be greatly used for His honour. Not only did Phinehas act for God's glory, but his actions also saved the Israelite nation, because his actions stopped a plague put upon them in judgment.

Do we desire to be greatly used for God? Then we must be those who live our lives with God.

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