When we come to the opening of the New Testament gospel of Luke, Zechariah’s “division” is on duty and we wonder what that is. 1 Chronicles 24 explains it.
By this time, over four hundred years since the Exodus, the priesthood had grown so large that their service needed some management. David divides them into twenty-four groups, each taking turns in serving. Why twenty-four? Probably because Israel followed a lunar calendar with forty-eight weeks in a year, giving each course a period of service twice a year. The priests had assistants who are listed in verses 20-30.
We read these chapters and wonder what possible relevance they might hold for us, since in the Christian age, every child of God is a priest. But I believe this is precisely why the chapter is important.
First, the worship of God in ancient Israel was a continual thing, carried on day and night (Psalm 134:1). Second, Worship was the means by which ancient Israel found forgiveness as a people and cultivated their relationship with God. To make sure that it was done, and done properly, it had to have organization. What is no one’s specific responsibility, ends up being no one’s responsibility and not getting done. Early Christian worship was continual (Luke 24:53; Acts 2:46). Paul prayed day and night. The point is that service to God must be assigned, accepted, planned, organized, and reviewed. The local church that does not take the service of the Lord seriously in this way is a local church whose service will be substandard and ultimately, unacceptable.