The Keeper Of The Cellar Saturday, December 16, 2017
THE KEEPER OF THE CELLAR OF OIL
BY James L. Thornton
King David is old and the kingdom was settled into his hands as King of all Israel. The time had come to hand out the rewards to those who had been with him through all the struggles the last several years. Every man stood in line as name after name was called for the important positions.
Four chapters in 1 Chronicles tell us those that were chosen and the positions given them. We have chosen four verses to give some idea of the positions that were available.
1 Chronicles 27:25. And over the king's treasures was Az-ma-veth the son of A-di-el: and over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Je-hon-a-than the son of Uz-zi-ah:
26. And over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground was Ez-ri the son of Che-lub:
27. And over the vineyards was Shim-e-i the Ra-math-ite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zab-di the Shiph-mite:
28. And over the olive trees and the sycamore trees that were in the low plains was Ba-al-ha-nan the Ged-e-rite: and over the cellars of oil was Jo-ash:
No doubt David knew most of these men personally because they had dwelt together, and fought along side each other, for several years. He had been protected and watched over by many of these who were waiting to hear their name called. Others had come highly recommended for certain positions.
Day after day they waited and listened to hear what would be the job assigned them. We have chosen only one man in this study to speak of, his name is Jo-ash. (v. 28b)
Several chapters in 1 Chronicles tells of the setting in order of David’s Kingdom. Solomon is being groomed to take over as King at the death of David. The temple is on the drawing-board of David’s mind.
The organization of the Kingdom of Israel had been long in coming. When Saul took over as King the nation had many enemies and most of his time had been occupied with fighting the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Moabites, the Am’-a-lek-ites, the Edomites. Saul then squandered the strength of his kingdom in hunting and chasing after David and his small group of men.
After the death of Saul several years passed before the Kingdom was fully established into the hands of David as King. During this period David and his followers had fought many battles and won many victories—David and his men was a killing machine. They had gone home day after day bloody and battle scarred. But now the wars are over.
In our reading in 1 Chronicles 27:25-28 many years had past in which their enemies had been vanquished. The scripture (1 Chronicles 18, 19, 20) tells us that David, “Subdued the Philistines.” This is the first time in Biblical history the Philistines had been subdued. They smote Moab, and now Moab is no longer an enemy, the Syrians had been conquered, the Edomites had been subdued and became David’s servants, “and David reigned over all Israel.” (1 Chronicles 18:13-14)
DAVID HAS CONQUERED THE WORLD AROUND HIM:
David is old and his fighting days are over. He is no longer a robust warrior, a slayer of giants. Now David wanted to honor God by building him a house, but God said, “You shalt not build my house because you have shed too much blood upon the earth in my sight.” (1 Chronicles 22:8-9)
But God promised to give David a son who will be a “man of peace,” a “man of rest.” You have gotten up every morning and put your armor on and gone out to fight and kill, but your son will be at peace. “He shall build my house.”
Israel was a war torn country, they had no real government, no economy, and no jobs for old soldiers who had no wars to fight. There was no longer a need for warriors. David’s old rag-tag army of mis-fits had proven to be a force to be reckoned with. David had been a war-lord and these men had proven themselves totally loyal to David and all they knew was war.
What would these men do when they all came home from the wars? They had waited all their lives for this day when they would learn war no more. No more coming home blood-splattered, with cuts and bruises—but would hang their swords, and shields, and armor, up as a mementoes of by-gone battles. (Song of Solomon 4:4)
Men with battle scars and battle stories to tell their children and grandchildren. They were ready to settle down and raise a family, build themselves a house and have a settled future.
In our text 1 Chronicles 27:25-28, finally that day had arrived for Israel and in our text; payday had arrived for these loyal men of David’s army. It is a time of being rewarded for their service. Men are stepping into their place in the kingdom—the awards banquet is pending.
For each it was a time of wonderment, a time of excitement. What will be my place? What will I be? What will I do now that I don’t have to learn war no more? Old soldiers get restless; they need something to occupy them.
Jo-ash begins to wonder what will it be?
Anticipation preceded sleepless nights—speculation runs high.
I’ve waited and dreamed about this day—when the war is over and I become one of the kings men.
How will I rank among my peers?
How much authority will I be given?
Will I be over thousands? Ten thousands?
Will I be over hundreds?
Wives and children anticipate changes in lifestyle—we’re moving up.
Things are going to change when daddy gets his new job—no more hand-me- downs—no more trips to the Goodwill or Salvation Army.
New clothes, a new chariot, maybe a swimming-pool in the back yard.
We’ve been dedicated and consecrated, now we are in line for a blessing from God and he always gives good measure.
Jo-ash the former soldier tells his wife “honey I picked up a list of jobs that are going to be open, I’m just trying to figure out what I would like to do.”
“There are so many high paying jobs open,
And I’ve got the skills to do most any of them.”
Jo-ash begins to wonder,
Will I serve in the palace with the king, sort of an adviser to him?
Will I serve in the temple?
A keeper of the gate, will I open the city gates each morning?
A keeper of the walls, will I patrol the walls of the city?
A keeper of the vineyards, will I be over the King’s vineyards?
A keeper of the flocks, will I be over the flocks and herds?
Will I be asked to be the over-seer of the King’s treasure house?
Will I be the one to go in and wake the King every morning?
What will be my place in the Kingdom?
How will I serve my king?
How will I rank?
Will I be asked to be one of the judges of the affairs of men?
(You can find a list of these jobs in 1 Chronicles 24, 25, 26, 27)
Whatever it is the King has for me it will be a promotion. We’ll be moving into the Castle, and we won’t need all this old furniture. We’ll have a new life up-town.
Jo-ash arrives early to see what his new job will be.
He joins hundreds more old soldiers also waiting their assignment.
The day begins in excitement as each name is called out and the man steps forward to hear his appointment announced.
Jo-ash stands and waits to hear his name called.
As the day wears on, job after job is filled.
The jobs grow fewer and Jo-ash has not heard his name called.
At the winding down of the day and only a few jobs are left.
Finally, at last, the crier comes out and with a loud clear voice calls out, “Jo-ash.”
Jo-ash’s heart begins to pound, his blood races through his veins.
His knees begin to shake.
Jo-ash rises to his feet and comes forth to hear his assignment.
“Finally I will know my destiny,
My purpose on earth,
My future has arrived,
My reward is at hand.”
Then it comes out,
“JOASH KEEPER OF THE CELLAR OF OIL!”
Jo-ash is astonished, there must be some mistake!
“Is that where I am really going?
I didn’t see that job listed.”
The crier reassures him that is what his King has assigned him to do.
“That’s David’s will for your life.”
Jo-ash’s heart almost stops beating,
He feels faint,
His countenance falls.
He dreads going home to face his wife,
And telling her we’re headed for the cellar.
All his high hopes of being in a position of importance, of high esteem, of high honor, is dashed to pieces.
With a sad countenance he starts his journey home, his feet dragging in the dusty path.
It’s nearly dark when he nears his house, and his wife and children run out to meet him—so excited, so happy, because daddy has a new job. Each, excitedly ask what position he got. Where are we moving to?
Jo-ash drops he head and says,
“Honey I hate to tell you this but we are moving to the cellar.
We want need new furniture, or a new car, no swing set, no swimming pool; in fact we will have no back-yard.
The King has made me the keeper of the cellar where the oil is.”
THE NAME JO-ASH:
It is interesting to note what the name Jo-ash means,
“Jehovah has given.”
“Jehovah has bestowed.”
“Jehovah has given me the cellar.”
“Jehovah has bestowed upon me the cellar of oil.”
“Jehovah has given me to be the keeper of the oil.”
“Jehovah has asked me to move into the cellar and watch over his oil.”
The cellar is the subterranean vault, the underground chamber that runs under the city. The cellar is dark and lonely and damp, and cold, with no outside air moving through it. The light of day never penetrates into the cellar. There will be few visitors in the cellar. Hardly any one ever goes to the cellar. News that reaches the cellar is old news, yesterday’s news, or last week’s news. There is no mail service in the cellar.
The cellar is the lowest rank you can get. When a team is in the cellar it means they can’t get any lower. They are at the bottom of the list. It means they are the worst team of all. When you get in the cellar you have gone as low as you can go. You can’t get any lower than being in the cellar.
It’s dark and lonely in the cellar, where the light of day never penetrates. It’s always midnight in the cellar. There are miles of underground chambers where one always had to carry a light—a wax candle or a lamp filled with oil.
Upon the streets of Jerusalem it’s business as usual—men and women going about, buying and selling, talking and laughing, children playing games, everyone enjoying their new status in life.
The keeper of the gate is letting the caravans in and out of town.
The keeper of the wall is walking to and fro upon the wall, calling out to those below.
A-hi-jah, the keeper of the treasure, is counting the bags of gold and silver in his care.
Ez-ri, the keeper of the fields, is looking at the crops of grain.
Ad-lai, the keeper of the flocks and herds, is making sure the sheep are sheared and the cows are milked.
Jonathan, and others of the Kings counselors, are all meeting in his chamber.
The Judges are hearing, and ruling on the cases before them.
Jo-ab, the secretary of defense, is giving orders to his troops.
All the high profile men are on the job.
But down in the cellar, where seldom ever comes a visitor, in the silence, where you can hear a pin drop, dwells the shadowy figure of Jo-ash, as he nurtures and guards and preserves Jerusalem’s storehouse of oil.
Row upon row of stone jars and urns filled with the most precious commodity in Jerusalem, oil. Thousands upon thousands of olive trees have been gleaned and the fruit crushed and distilled and purified until it is almost clear, then brought to Jo-ash for storage in the cellar.
Jo-ash must make sure the wax seals do not have a crack in them.
All mold and mildew must be kept cleaned from each vessel.
The temperature must always be monitored, always kept cool.
It’s the most precious treasury in all of Israel.
Olive oil is very sensitive to its surroundings.
It must always be kept cool.
No light must shine on the oil, for light causes the oil to get dark.
If somebody doesn’t watch over it,
If somebody doesn’t take care of it,
It will go bad, rancid, rank, putrid, and stink.
What has been worked out in the cellar will eventually manifest itself in the temple.
What is being taken care of in the cellar will one day be manifested in the temple. The oil, the treasure in the cellar, was full of destiny, and full of purpose, and full of design.
All the oil for light, oil for anointing came from the cellar.
Leviticus 24:1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually. (burn always)
It’s the keeper of the cellar that keeps the lights burning in the temple.
Somebody’s got to keep the lamps burning in the temple.
If the keeper of the cellar don’t do his job, the lamps will go out upstairs.
Exodus 30:22. Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23. Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shek-els, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shek-els, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shek-els,
24. And of cassia five hundred shek-els, after the shek-el of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: (about 1 gallon)
25. And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
26. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
27. And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
28. And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
29. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. (and to make them holy)
30. And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.
31. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, this shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
32. Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
33. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.
That liquid treasure in the cellar would eventually touch everything that was sacred. It would sanctify every vessel, and every man that would be used by God must have what comes from the cellar.
For, the anointing of the Holy Ghost comes on his life from the cellar.
Jo-ash you have to do your job. You’ve got to go to the cellar because somebody has got to watch over the most precious commodity in all of Israel.
I understand the treasurer of silver and gold is passing overhead, but what’s going on under the streets of Jerusalem, in dark caverns, is a man and his family that has dedicated their lives in taking care of the real treasure of Israel.
Jo-ash, “We’re going to take care of the anointing oil.
We’re going to preserve the power of Jerusalem.”
David acted most wisely on the principle that the highest posts should be reserved for the most capable men who “deserved well of their country,” and proved himself a very good judge of men.
We know not what rank, or position, Jo-ash held before he was chosen by David to be the keeper of the cellar of oil.
We do not find his name mentioned in the list of David’s mighty men (2 Samuel 23:8-39). Yet David felt that Joash was well qualified and was dedicated to the trust that was placed in him, so he picked him to be the keeper of the cellar of oil.
WHAT AN HONOR!
And in this position Joash fulfilled the meaning of his name,
“Jehovah has given me a job.”
“Jehovah has given me the cellar of oil.”
To build the temple Solomon hired Hiram’s builders to do the job.
He made a deal with Hiram to pay part of the price in oil.
2 Chronicles 2:10. And, behold, i will give to thy servants, ….. And twenty thousand baths of oil. (KJV)
They came to Jo-ash and asked, “how much oil do you have?”
Jo-ash says, “How much do you need?”
“I need about twenty thousand baths.”
At about nine gallons per bath.
“I need about 180,000 gallons right now.”
We may think of the cellar as some little hole under the temple, but it was huge, winding around all under the city. It was like an underground city.
All the oil in the city, that was dedicated to God, which was 10 percent, or the tithes, of all the oil produced in the nation, was kept down there in the cellar.
Somebody had to watch it.
Keep it rotated, use the old oil first.
Keep it clean.
To Jo-ash, “I need 180,000 gallons of oil to pay Hiram to build the temple.”
“He wants good oil, he wont take rancid oil,
He wont take oil that is contaminated.
He wants good oil.
Jo-ash answered, “I’ve got good oil down here,
I’ve got nothing but good oil down here.”
“My babies don’t have a swing-set, and my wife don’t have new clothes, but I’ve got oil, I’ve got lots of good oil.”
“Don’t nobody know my name, but, we’ve got oil.”
“I am Jo-ash the keeper of the cellar of oil.”
The temple may have been built by Hiram’s builders, and it was called Solomon’s temple, but, the reality of it was, it was built on the back of a man who kept the cellar.
Unless somebody keeps the cellar you cannot build a church.
Unless somebody is willing to work underground, unseen, unheard--unless somebody is willing to be an unknown, there will never be a known.
The unknowns make the known possible.
The known rides on the backs of the unknowns.
Up overhead, the temple was rising day by day,
Hiram’s builders were working raising timbers, and stones,
While under ground, in the cellar, Jo-ash was pouring oil to pay for it.
Unless somebody is willing to keep the cellar there will never be an anointing. That’s where the oil flows from, in the cellar, where somebody is working sight unseen to keep the oil flowing.
It’s not called Jo-ash’s temple, but, he furnished the oil to pay for it.
When Za-dox anointed Solomon to be the King of Israel, (1 Kings 1:39) where did the oil come from? The cellar of course.
Jo-ash was living in a place where he and his wife never received an invitation to the ceremony.
Invitations don’t come to the cellar.
If you need a fresh anointing, there is no need going to the King’s councilors, they can’t give it to you.
If you need a fresh anointing, there is no need going to the Captain of the King’s Army, because he can’t help you.
If you need a fresh anointing, there is no need going to the King’s Treasurer, because all the gold and silver there, would be of no benefit.
The politicians can’t help you.
The keeper of the gate will not be able to help you.
The keeper of the wall can’t help.
The keeper of the vineyards likewise would be of no help.
The keeper of the flocks would have to turn you away.
Because if you need a fresh anointing you’ve got to seek out the keeper of the cellar. That’s where all the anointing oil comes from.
Right down there in the cellar.
Everybody wants the anointing, but not many are willing to go to the cellar.
Everybody wants to start at the top.
They want the high profile position.
Nobody wants the cellar.
Young men want to be anointed.
Young men want to do great things in the kingdom of God.
Let me say this, “First you need to go to the cellar, and seek out the keeper of the oil.” Let us say to each other, “Come on with me, and let’s head to the cellar.”
Jo-ash lived in the cellar, Jo-ash was covered in oil, bathed in oil, oil on his hands, oil on his clothes, oil in his hair, in fact Jo-ash was in the oil.
You may say, “I don’t know if i could be a pastor’s wife.”
“I don’t think i could a missionary in some foreign country.”
“I don’t think i want to be the pastor of a struggling Home Missions Church.”
Let me tell you something, “the only reason we can shout in this church, the only reason we feel the presence of the lord, that we call the anointing, is because sometime, somewhere, in the history of this church, there were men and women that lived out of sight, their names you do not know, but they preserved the anointing, they held on to the oil, they were the keepers of the real treasury of this church.”
These are the people who kept the lights on.They get here early and stay late, willing to work in the cellar.
They clung to that precious thing in the earthen vessels, they wrapped their arms around the history of the Church, they said, nobody will contaminate this Apostolic Message. I refuse to let anyone tamper with the seal of the Holy Ghost whereby we have been sealed. And they have preserved the integrity of the oil.”
JO-ASH HAD BEEN CHOSEN FOR THE CELLAR:
A few years back, Jo-ash stood, and waited, until it looked like all the jobs had been handed out. Finally, as the last jobs were being called out—it looked like the final job—but in reality it was the most important job of all. Of all the jobs in the paper, Jo-ash I’m going to send you to the most desolate place you can imagine, the cellar.
You will walk the caverns under the city—your wife will cry herself to sleep, your young ones will not see the light of day. You will wonder why you have been sent to such a place—it’s because your name is Joash, which means, “God has given me this job.”
“If it had been left to me, I would have been the Keeper of the Treasury.”
“If I had made the choice, I would have chosen to have been the Gate Keeper, or the King’s Counselor, but God’s will for my life is to go to the cellar, and keep watch over the oil.”
David danced before the Lord, but if it had not been for the keeper of the cellar, there would not have been any oil to pour on his head.
Nobody could have ever felt the oil running down over their body if somebody had not been a keeper of the cellar.
Aaron would have never have been anointed with good oil if somebody had not kept the cellar.
Woe be the day when we lose our keeper of the cellar.
Many a church has lost their keeper.
God help us if we ever lose our keeper of the cellar.
PEOPLE CRAVE THE SPOTLIGHT:
Somebody of this generation ought to be willing to move to the cellar.
I know that it is a thankless job.
I know your name may never be posted on the marquee board,
You may never be invited to the platform,
You may never get you name on the door,
You may never get to park close.
You may not get recognized for your labor,
But your job is the most essential job in the Church.
They ask, “Anything I can do for you Pastor?”
“Yea, I need somebody to work in the cellar.”
Don’t feel sorry for Jo-ash.
I’m sure they felt sorry for Jo-ash and his family.
Maybe he also felt sorry for himself and his family at first.
Then he would go around in the cellar checking the temperature of the oil. He would run his arm down in the bath (he didn’t have a thermometer) to see if it was cool enough. He pulls his arm out, and the oil would run off—oh, I feel something, it’s the oil, it’s the anointing.
Jo-ash got to feel it before Solomon felt it.
Before the high priest felt it.
Before the people experienced it,
Jo-ash had already felt the anointing.
“I’ve already been there,” he could say.
“I’ve got millions of gallons of oil around me.”
“You want a little vial of oil.
Man I’ve got barrels oil.”
“I’ve got row upon row of anointing oil all around me.”
“Don’t feel sorry for me, my family is oily, we live in the oil.”
We should not be ashamed of the anointing.
Don’t be ashamed if someone get happy and shouts in the service.
Just try yourself to get under the spout where the oil is coming out.
The anointing of the Holy Ghost works wonders in your life.
You look different, you dress different.
You talk different; you don’t curse and swear any more.
You don’t tell the neighbors where to get off.
Your honesty and integrity got anointed.
Down there, in the cellar, we get the anointing oil all over us, inside and outside.
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” (Acts 17:28)
The world may despise you,
They may shun you, and leave you off their circle of friends.
But the only hope for this world rests in those who have experienced the oil.
The world’s hope rests in the keeper of the cellar.
And, for babies yet unborn their future lies in the cellar.
Don’t look to the White House,
Don’t look to the Parliaments,
Don’t look to the Congress and the Senate,
Don’t look to the Supreme Court.
The hope of the generations yet to be born rests squarely on the shoulders of the keeper of the cellar.
The greatest treasure Jerusalem ever possessed was the oil that was in the cellar. Oil for the lamps, oil for the anointing, oil to pay expenses, without which Israel would have perished.
Pray for the anointing.
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By James L. Thornton