10 From the priests:Jedaiah; the son of Joiarib; Jakin;11 Seraiah son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the official in charge of the house of God, 12 and their associates, who carried on work for the temple—822 men; Adaiah son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malkijah, 13 and his associates, who were heads of families—242 men; Amashsai son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,14 and his[a] associates, who were men of standing—128. Their chief officer was Zabdiel son of Haggedolim.15 From the Levites:Shemaiah son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; 16 Shabbethai and Jozabad, two of the heads of the Levites, who had charge of the outside work of the house of God;17 Mattaniah son of Mika, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the director who led in thanksgiving and prayer; Bakbukiah, second among his associates; and Abda son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. 18 The Levites in the holy citytotaled 284.19 The gatekeepers:Akkub, Talmon and their associates, who kept watch at the gates—172 men.“V NI

‘Some of the Levites came and dwelt at Jerusalem, yet but few in comparison…for much of their work was to teach the good knowledge of God up and down the country, for which purpose they were to be scattered in Israel.’ Matthew Henry.

It is a cause for concern to see that across our nationmany chapels are closing their doors, and these buildings are being sold to become private homes, or for other purposes. Of course, we know that the closure of a building does not equate with the closure of the church. Christ’s church is not a physical building, although we use such facilities for worship. However, many of these chapels once housed thriving congregations. These have gradually declined in numbers; they have shrunk as people have aged, and died, and not been replaced.

Jilly and I have a special concern for the Yorkshire Dales. We see evidence of these sorts of closures all around us. But my prayer is that God will raise up a new generation of fiery evangelists who will blaze a trail for the gospel across the Dales. Buildings may close but may Christ’s church be built, and His Kingdom extended.

The Israelites were to be scattered throughout the land. God’s Word is to be known everywhere.

 Please join me in prayer that in every town, village and hamlet of the UK (as well as every city) there will be living expressions of the church, shining like stars sparkling with clarity above the desert landscape.