The watchman, lookout, caretaker of plenty.
He sits among the people amidst the messiness of comings and goings. With a great sense of purpose, he watches. With vigilance, he surveys the bustling masses as they move back and forth in and out of the city. He judiciously studies them. He keenly observes their details, their subtleties.
Because his role is two-fold.
To let in. To keep in that which needs protecting, what is cherished, advantageous, beneficial for the people.
And to let out. To keep out that which needs rejecting, what is harmful, toxic, detrimental to the people’s wellbeing and success.
His position is not prestigious, not glamorous or celebrated. Yet this public servant holds power. Insurmountable power. Life or death hinges at the gatekeeper’s hand.
Perhaps that is why the psalmist imagined God as a gatekeeper.
Could it be that’s why the gates of the city are God’s favorite place to be? And why God loves to sit at the symbolic gates of our hearts, to dwell in our own soul’s doorway, to remain at that spiritual entrance point where we need His protection and discernment most?
Listen to the lines of the psalmist in Psalm 87:2.
“The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob” (NIV).
More than the throne, more than the marketplace, more than the synagogue or tabernacle. At the “gates of Zion,” at the gates of your heart and mine, is where our Father prefers to be.
It’s where He can sit as Immanuel, “God with us.” It’s where He can safeguard us when we are vulnerable and weak. It’s where He can guide us, where He can help us make right choices. And there, at the gate, is where His voice can be heard most.
If we’re willing to listen, that is.
If we’re willing to let that soothing sound of His Word become familiar, trustworthy, dependable. If we’re willing to lean in when He calls, when He whispers to each one of us by name (see John 10:3-5).
To tune our ears to His voice, you see, is to let the Gatekeeper do His job.
Because this world offers dangers we cannot see. It threatens with supernatural enemies that try to steal our security, our confidence, our very sense of peace. We must remain aware. The Gatekeeper alone knows what is lurking out there in the dark. He alone sits at that threshold of influence and knows how best to protect our susceptible souls.
So today, if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart. If Jesus is standing at the door knocking, don’t disregard His reach (Revelation 3:20).
The Gatekeeper holds the keys to the kingdom of Heaven.
And only He has power over death’s own gates, over hell and the grave (Matthew 16:19; Revelation 1:18).
What does it mean to you to have God as the Gatekeeper for your heart? In what ways has He protected you? How can you lean more into His leading to guide you in moments of decision?