the worship leader: doorkeeper

I recently listened to a talk given by Louie Giglio at the National Worship Leader Conference (NWLC) 2010. Unfortunately, it’s not available online anymore — at least, I can’t find it.

He talked about how, as worship leaders or speakers or really, anyone on stage in front of an audience, can focus on 1 of 4 things:

The first is the content. For a worship leader, this is your set – the songs, and everything about them: chords, flow, transitions, etc. For a speaker, this is your message. Is it going well? Am I getting my point across? Are the songs being used to minister effectively and to inspire people to worship?

The second is the people. Your congregation. Your audience. Are they into it? Are they enjoying it? Are they getting anything out of it? Are they bored?

The third is ourselves. Yeah, you. Do I look okay? Do I sound okay? Can they tell I forgot to brush my hair this morning?

And fourthly, of course, is God. The One we worship.

In helping us understand what it means to focus on God and to point everyone to Him, he talked about a bunch of guys named Berekiah, Elkanah, Jehiah and Obed-Edom. No idea who they were? You’re not alone. They were doorkeepers for the ark of the covenant (1 Chronicles 15:23-24).

Who is a doorkeeper? A doorkeeper is one who stands at the door and opens it for others to enter. That doesn’t sound like the most important or glamorous job, does it? I mean, really? We talk about God having a destiny and a great plan for us, and now you’re telling me I’m meant to hold a door open so other people can go in ahead of me?

1 Chronicles 13 tells the story of David instructing the Israelites to bring the ark of God back to Jerusalem. The ark was a very sacred thing – it is where the tablets with the Ten Commandments were kept, among other things. Only the priests were allowed to ever see it, and it could not be carelessly touched. On their way back, the oxen carrying the ark slipped, so Uzzah reached out his hand to steady it. Upon touching it, which was forbidden, he died. (I know there are lots of questions about why he died and what kind of God God is if he got angry because Uzzah broke a rule in trying to prevent the ark from falling, but I’m not here to answer that. To be honest, I don’t know enough about it all to answer it. Personally, I trust that the God I believe in is a God of love, and I trust His judgement completely. But more on that another time, perhaps.)

At this point, David gets scared and doesn’t dare to proceed anymore. He can’t handle the ark, so he leaves it with Obed-Edom. The ark stays at his house for 3 months, until the next attempt to bring it to Jerusalem, in 1 Chronicles 15.

Now, think about this for awhile. David, the great leader, is afraid to be responsible and be in possession of the ark, so he dumps it with this Obed-Edom dude. Imagine if that were you. Your leader is afraid of looking after something so instead he gives it to you. If your leader is so afraid, what more you? What are you supposed to do with it? Fortunately, Obed-Edom does a good job with it. Which brings us to the next big move of the ark: You’ve looked after this sacred ark for 3 months, during which you could have easily been struck dead like Uzzah was if you were too careless around it, and now it’s time for this historic event – for the ark to be moved to Jerusalem.

Perhaps you expect that, as a reward, you get to be in the inner circle of people guarding the ark as it is moved. Okay, maybe the 2nd circle. Or the third. You know, something respectable, something important… After all, you did look after this thing for 3 whole months when big ol’ David chickened out. But you know what Obed-Edom’s job was?

“Obed-Edom and Jehiah were also to be doorkeepers for the ark.” 1 Chronicles 15:24

A what? A doorkeeper? I don’t even get to follow the ark from a distance as it’s moved? C’mon, are you serious? Who remembers the doorkeeper? No one respects the doorkeeper! People complain if you don’t hold it open big enough or if you stand in their way while opening the door. David, you’ve gotta be kidding me.

Of course, Obed-Edom doesn’t say anything of that sort. Instead, he faithfully performs his duty as doorkeeper because, you know what? It’s an important job.

The doorkeeper is the one who holds open the door. The door? What door? Where does the door lead to? To the ark. To the presence of God. To the inner courts where people can come face to face with the Holy God.

We are called, having tasted and seen that the Lord is good, to direct others to God. A doorkeeper is one who has been inside, but chooses to stand outside. It’s an important job, doorkeeper. When we focus on God, nothing else matters to us but that we get others to look at Him too. Come and see Jesus! Come in through these doors – He’s just inside.

Are you saying, “Look, it’s Jesus…”?


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