May 29 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Guard was alongside of guard [around the temple of the Lord]: There were six Levites a day on the east, four a day on the north, four a day on the south and two at a time at the storehouse. As for the court to the west, there were four at the road and two at the court itself.” ~1 Chronicles 26:16-18

Today’s reading gives us a sense of the beauty and orderliness of David’s kingdom. The royal army divisions are recounted, along with the king’s cabinet. However, the temple, still a semi-permanent structure at this time, once again features prominently in the royal administration.

The Chronicler describes the gatekeepers in full regalia who stand guard at the north, south, west, and east entrances of the temple complex 365 days a year. More guards line the roads leading to the gates. Within the temple complex, important areas like the inner court and the storehouses are also well staffed with sentinels. Visually, this crew is like the guards at Buckingham Palace, except on a much grander scale.

Inside the temple, the Levites (ministers) collect and administer the temple treasury, and you might say they serve as guardians of the offerings. This is a “national church” with massive tithes and offerings being brought regularly for their care. From this treasury, they pay the ministers, care for the poor, and maintain (and beautify) the place of worship. They are also the temple curators and thus responsible for preserving everything from tapestries to furniture.

The temple must have been a sumptuous feast for the eyes. However, I think it would be wrong to infer that worship must always be this lavish. Historically, the church has met in great cathedrals with pomp and circumstance as well as in simple places like upper rooms, rented storefronts, and “underground” house churches. Even the shade of an African date palm can be church. However, God is not opposed to His worshippers spending their resources for the lavish display of His beauty! In the gospel of John, Jesus actually commends a woman for “wasting” an expensive jar of ointment on Him. She washes His feet as an expression of praise to God (John 12:3).

Indeed, we worship a God who is worthy of our praise. He is a God of compassion, who weeps with us in our loss and pain (John 11:35). He is a God who has promised to restore all things. He has promised us life now and forever. Whether we meet in a cathedral, or a modern Midwestern building, or a hovel in the hills of East Africa, let us “waste” our time and treasure shouting to everyone who sees and hears that our God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Imagine, just imagine, how lavish worship will be when He returns!

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.