What a change! From the pit of despair to the height of the grace and glory of God’s presence. Wow.
Do you remember the starting point for the leader of the rebellion in the wilderness, when Korah and his followers blamed Moses for all their problems? Here is some background of the story.
Then Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: Is it too small an honor for you that the God of Israel has singled you out from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to perform the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them; and that He has brought you near, Korah, and all your brothers, sons of Levi, with you? But are you seeking the priesthood as well? Therefore you and your whole group are the ones gathered together against the Lord; but as for Aaron, who is he, that you grumble against him? (Numbers 16:8-11NASB)
Many years later, a remnant group of descendants, who had born the stigma of being from the family that rebelled, found their way home. In his deliberate denial of God’s goodness and lack of trust in his plan to rid them of old mindsets in the process of going to the Promised Land, Korah and his friends and followers demanded power for themselves. After travelling the path of repentance, the path of changing course and returning to God’s ways, the once shamed band of poets and musicians King David assigned to lead worship experienced finding their true home. They wrote in Psalm 84:
How lovely are Your dwelling places,
Lord of armies!
My soul longed and even yearned for the courtyards of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may put her young:
Your altars, Lord of armies,
My King and my God. (verses 1-3)
Korah and his friends were jealous of Aaron. They had served the congregation on the threshold of the tabernacle, but they wanted more power.
The Sons of Korah found the God they served on the threshold of the Tabernacle generously poured grace on them, even though they didn’t rise to hold positions of highest honour in men’s eyes. This is where they experienced his glory. God did not withhold any good thing from them as they walked in integrity and simply worshipped. They found joy in service, not in control.
For a day in Your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.
Lord of armies,
Blessed is the person who trusts in You! (verses 10-12)
As Gayle Erwin wrote, “No one jostles for the position of servant.” It takes a long time for some of us to realize that ambition can drive us seriously off course when the goal is to have control, or to gain a position that demands respect, or accumulate fans, or make money. The road back from rebellion is the road to joy and godly contentment. It’s learning that striving to reach our own definition of the “top” is itself a form of slavery. It’s a change of heart that comes more in line with the truth of the gospel that if Jesus, the Son of God sets you free, you will be truly free. The road back is discovering that God is who he says he is, and he is worthy of our trust.
Blessed is the person who trusts in You!
How lovely is thy dwelling place – Johannes Brahms, John Rutter, Cambridge Singers, Aurora Orchestra – YouTube
Better Is One Day – Here Be Lions (Official Live Video) – YouTube