Here are two Psalms that again reach out to the sons of Korah. Their ancestor had caused trouble by attempting self promotion in service to God. If the sins of the fathers may be passed down through generations, the mercy of God continues to invite them home. We all encounter the soil on the road of life, and so Jesus ordained a spiritual foot washing. God cares about those of us who as believers are experiencing temptation to fail.
(A Psalm or Song for the sons of Korah.)
His foundation is in the holy mountains. The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee. Psalm 87:1-7
Mount Zion and Jerusalem are established as a focal point for the attention of God. He will honor good men from many places. He has promised salvation to whosoever is willing to obey Him. For those who are born in Zion God has promised salvation and some special attention. While the sons of Korah may be drawn to manmade religions, their heritage of Jerusalem gives them a special promise. Those designated to serve in the temple as musicians and singers are also more honored in Israel.
Christians of gentile heritage may be proud to be grafted into Zion through faith in Yeshua. Still a promise of salvation remains for Israel, even if they may not yet acknowledge the grace being offered to them. It was natural for many of Israel to be conservative about such an ancient God. If some human traditions tempt them away from a revelation of grace, they are not deprived of the promise of the prophets. So could we be in danger of the same spiritual pride by presuming to be better than the Sons of Korah? Jesus showed us that Jews are the source of salvation, because he was Jewish.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4: 22-24
As God continues to encourage the Sons of Korah to stay near him are we Christians even more guilty of man made doctrines that can separate us from God? The other sons of Korah perished in the wilderness, and gentiles too are being removed from the tree of life.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. Romans 11:17-27
Today Israel is under a siege of rocket fire. It seems the aggressor because Hamas is using civilians as shields against air strikes. The rockets of Gaza seem crude but they have a real mission. First they turn public opinion against Israel, while forcing their hand. Secondly they allow technicians to discover the weaknesses of the Iron Dome anti-missile shield. Dumb rockets are cheap, and the interceptor missiles cost about $60,000 apiece. But the technology loss could turn the tide of battle. Fortunately the nations of the world do not understand who the real shield of Israel is. One day Israel will fully understand who that shield is too. Those born of Jerusalem will be the first to see.
The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.Zechariah 12:7-11
As Joseph was presumed dead, so Yeshua was also presumed to be pierced and dead also. Yet as Joseph, Yeshua will return as the Messiah of Israel, with deliverance and salvation for the Sons of Korah. They will have time to mourn, and to be forgiven as well.
For the sons of Korah there may be mourning as they identify the temptations that try to remove them from the grace of God. For the brethren of Yeshua our hope is in daily repentance. We have entered the house of the Lord by faith in Yeshua. Are we given a place of honorable service only to consider our own religious rituals more important? Do we “help” God by gossiping about our neighbors? Do we leave the house to make an offering at the house of the Accuser of the Brethren? God wants us to pull back to the safety of his sanctuary.
(A Song or Psalm for the sons of Korah, to the chief Musician upon Mahalath Leannoth, Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite.)
O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Psalm 88:1-6
The unidentified psalmist sings to God, not just about him. This is the prayer of one who is full of troubles. This is a bitter lament, not a celebration of life. The singer is deeply into the blues as he finds himself in the lowest pit of despair. He is separated from the source of life, our God.
Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee. Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? Psalm 88:7-12
God doesn’t need to strike us for punishment; merely turning from us takes away our hope. When I was in Scouts our scoutmaster was an imposing and dignified figure. One night a boy had a nightmare and awakened crying out “Slim won’t look at me!” How much more do we need affirmation from the creator who breathed life into our world?
This psalmist is expecting death and asks how God would be glorified in a dead world.
But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together. Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness. Psalm 88:13-18
I have known elderly men who passed from life both with and without faith in God. The man of faith seemed demented to some but his scripture and his joy remained intact as he passed through the veil of death. He had already seed what was awaiting him and he was at peace. The man who was educated in the world seemed sharp and competent, but his nights and dreams were filled with terrors. To live in your own strength is the ultimate weakness.
This Psalmist has felt lost, separated from one he esteemed to be a friend and a lover. The Lord he has cried out to is not without hearing or feeling. He will not die in despair, for our God is faithful.
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. Isiah 59:19-21