I’ve recently been drawn into imagining the mystery of David’s Tabernacle. You can read several descriptions in 2nd Samual 6 and 1 Chronicles 16. You can also learn a lot by reading David’s heart for the Presence of God in the Psalms. It’s a fascinating study…
Wander back several thousand years with me. Wander back to the years King David of Israel established his kingdom in the prized, pomegranate laden land of ancient Palestine. Wander back to the one and only time the Presence of God was touched through the veins of extravagant worship before the coming of the Anointed One…
For hundreds of years, the Presence was talked about only in vague history lessons. It took a Lover-King who found this Presence in lonely sheepfolds named David to introduce the most beautiful image of Heaven ever to be seen on Earth. He made a tent and set it on a hill. He then took the Ark of the Covenant and placed it in the center. This wild Lover-King then employed hundreds of Levites to worship and praise the Presence day and night. Wander back with me and listen to the story of a simple unnamed gatekeeper…
I’m a gatekeeper. I open the gate that leads to the Tent with a smile. Come in, come in.
I brace my feet against ground and pull the gate open just a little wider. The sound of praise wafts through the air. Sometimes I notice the trumpets, sometimes I can’t stop thinking about the harps. But mostly, I am mesmerized by the voices. Loud, soft, beautiful, imperfect! The sound of lovers, somestimes chanting “Glory!”, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying.
I’m just the gatekeeper.
I’m sitting at the gate with tears in the corners of my eyes. I’m watching the faces of the lover-kings.
Some come with smiles seemingly carved on their faces. Their children run on ahead, shouting. Come ON Judah! Don’t you want to see the flame?! They wriggle their wrists out of there parents grasp and race past me. I hear a slightly hushed whisper: Judah, it’s blue today!
Some come with great gifts. Baskets of grain and wine. Cages of doves. Silent lambs. They are lovers. They love to give.
Many come with questions. Oh, I can see the questions. They seem to think their life is a question. Maybe it is to some. But I know the answer they will walk out with. Once in a while I’ll hear the questions. Will I be allowed in? Will Yahweh let me just come to say thank you? I want to praise, can I praise Him without those fancy clothes?
Usually I see the questions hidden in the down cast ground-stares.
Will the priests ask me to leave when I start shaking uncontrollably? Will they let me play my drum? My hands are stained, how many times will I have to wash? I want to bring an offering but all I have is my voice. Is it enough? Am I enou …
Sometimes I step in between these questions and the gate. I have to answer some of the those ridiculous forehead wrinkles. They look up, scared of being turned away. I smile and offer my hand. You are enough, my friend. I don’t know who you are or what you think you don’t have. But you are welcome. Come into the Tent!
Then I open the gate with great flair. I wink at the trumpeters and they sound the royal entry call. People turn to look, expecting to see the King. They smile when they see another ragged figure walking towards them.
I’ve told you my joy at seeing all of these beautiful people enter the gates. But oh. It’s nothing like the joy of seeing them walk out. Most of them walk lighter. Slower. They stop to greet me. Their eyes shine like fresh oil. Most of them are still trying to catch their breath. They sling their arms over the shoulders of their new found friends. Hearty laughter often gushes from their hoarse throats. They always tell me, you have to go in, you have to go in! You have to! How can you stand here at the gate all day?
I chuckle and nod. Some secrets I keep to myself. I always go in when the crowds have left. The moon and stars, they know. The setting sun always winks at me. They can see the growing anticipation in my restless feet.
I’m a gatekeeper. Anyone could qualify for my job. How they picked me is a wonderful mystery.
The gate I keep leads to the tent that King David set up on the mountain just outside of Jerusalem, most beloved city. This is the tent of worship, of intercession, of inquiry. The tent of meeting for the Love-sick people of God.
I close the gate and walk towards the Tent. I keep my eyes down with great difficulty. I know the path well. Even if I was blind I could walk it. But I’m not.
Finally I find my spot, tucked in the corner. I blend in with the shadows and the dark animal skinned tent sides. The symphony of strings and trumpets fades to a low murmur. I slowly lift my eyes.
I’ve been waiting all day for this moment.
The Flame. Oh the beauty, the glory! Deep reds and bright whites and soft yellows flow from the altar upward! My eyes begin to sting and I blink hard. The flame continues to dance to the sound of the musicians.
The warmth floods my blood. The King is here. I can see him. I fall on my face and breathe deeply. Words like whispers caress my ears. Raw love-energy flows over my body.
I’m just a gatekeeper. But I would rather spend my life holding open the door of heaven than living in the palaces of kings. The Flame is just that beautiful.
-written by a lover-king, one who is also madly drawn to gazing on the Eternal Flame