The Berean Expositor
Volume 25 - Page 167 of 190
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Symbols of Service.
The Keeper.
pp. 141 - 144
"None of us", said the apostle, "liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself"
(Rom. 14: 7). The context shews that the believer has a twofold responsibility: first to
the Lord, and secondly to his brother. It is all too easy to say: "It is corban", to shirk our
responsibility to our brethren under the plea that all is unto the Lord. It is also easy to
put the service of our fellows on a plane higher than service to the Lord. We need the
well-balanced presentation of the Word, that links together holiness and natural affection
(II Tim. 3: 2, 3) as parts of one whole. The sad story of Cain is a record of double
failure. We immediately call to mind his reply, "Am I my brother's keeper?" And we
must also remember that he had already grievously failed in rendering to the Lord His
An important symbol of service is that of the "keeper", or "watchman" as the word is
also translated.
Adam is described as a "keeper" in Gen. 2: 15: "And the Lord God took the man,
and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." We must avoid confusing
the two words here. "To dress it" refers to the ordinary work of the garden; the same
Hebrew word occurs in Gen. 2: 5: "There was no man to till the ground." "To keep it",
on the other hand, refers to the need for watchfulness as though the attack of an enemy
were a possibility. How Adam failed to "keep" the charge entrusted to him, we all know
to our grief. That the "keeping" had a direct connection with the tree of knowledge and
the tree of life, Gen. 2: 16, 17 and 3: 24 bear witness:--
"So He drove out the man;  and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden
Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of
life" (Gen. 3: 24).
At the end of the O.T. in the Book of Malachi we find the words:--
"The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth:
for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts" (Mal. 2: 7).
The Levitical priesthood, while primarily a sacrificing priesthood, was also the
"keeper" of the law, the "keeper", not only in the sense of one who obeys and observes
its precepts, but of one who watches over, guards and preserves inviolate the trust
committed. This is a phase of ministry that is solemnly referred to by the apostle Paul in
his last epistles:--
"That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost, which
dwelleth in us" (II Tim. 1: 14).
"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain
babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called" (I Tim. 6: 20).