A Proverb in a Song: part 1

“To the Director: From the Sons of Korah, a Psalm”

(Psalm 49:1 {Superscript in English Bibles})


While David is most well known for his psalm writing, the sons of Korah provide another block of psalms, 11 in all, that were used for worship with God’s people.  Korah was the Great-grandson of Levi, from whom the Priests would be drawn.  More importantly, Korah was the son of Izhar, who was the brother of Amram.  And while Amram is not an overly familiar name to us, his two sons are quite familiar: Aaron and Moses. 

Yet, the story of Korah is not one of the happiest in scripture.  Numbers 16 records how Korah rose up in rebellion against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, seeking more prominence in the leadership of Israel.  Korah, Dathan, and Abiram allowed their pride to consume them and they rejected the authority that God had placed over them.  In punishment, God opened up the earth to swallow up these men, their immediate families, and those who directly followed them—in all, 250 people died that day.  What is worse, on the next day, the grumbling of the people against Moses increased and God sent a plague (a gruesome disease afflicted by God), which destroyed 14,700 more people who were rising up against Moses.  In the New Testament, Jude will cite the rebellion of Korah as a sign of God’s faithfulness to bring judgment upon false teachers and those “for whom the dark gloom of eternity has been kept.”  Hard words of Korah, indeed.

Yet, the sons of Korah were not destroyed in their father’s rebellion (Numbers 26:11)!  By God’s abundant grace, he spared them that they might learn from their father’s error and know the glory of God.  In turn, the Sons of Korah, would eventually be assigned by David and Samuel as those who would guard the entrance to the Tabernacle (1 Chronicles 9:19).  In addition, it would be given to the Sons of Korah to make the flat cakes of bread used for meal offerings (1 Chronicles 9:31).  What is more, eleven psalms would be written by these Sons of Korah for use in the worship of God’s people.

How often we expect the sons of the father to bear guilt with him, and that is the natural way in which nature works.  God has established a standard by which this happens in the natural order of things (Exodus 34:7).  At the same time, this psalm is a psalm about redemption and being kept from being swallowed by Sheol (something that these sons knew all about as Korah had been swallowed up by the earth himself).  It is a reminder to us that while sin has a natural tendency to wear down and destroy, God redeems.  Oh, what a wonderful God we have that would take the sons of a man who wreaked such havoc within the people of Israel and use them for his praise throughout the generations!  Oh, if he is willing to work like this in the lives of the Sons of Korah, what he may even be willing to do with a wretch like me!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see!

-John Newton 

About preacherwin

A pastor, teacher, and a theologian concerned about the confused state of the church in America and elsewhere...Writing because the Christian should think Biblically.

Posted on May 24, 2008, in Expositions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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