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Turmoil Within

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Numbers 4:15 ESV
And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, as the camp sets out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry these, but they must not touch the holy things, lest they die. These are the things of the tent of meeting that the sons of Kohath are to carry.

Sermon Scripture

Psalm 42:1–5 ESV
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation

Sermon: Turmoil Within (The battle of spiritual angst)


The Sons of Korah - A group of men whose father was Korah
The Lexham Bible Dictionary The Psalms of the “Sons of Korah”

The Psalms of the “Sons of Korah”

Two collections of psalms mention the sons of Korah: Pss 42–49; 84, 85, 87, 88. These collections are part of what is commonly referred to as the Elohistic Psalter (Pss 42–83), which is identified by the more frequent use of name Elohim (“God”; אלהים, 'lhym) over the divine name Yahweh (יהוה, yhwh). The psalms associated with the sons of Korah focus on Yahweh’s presence in Zion (e.g., Pss 46:2–8; 48:1–4), conceptualizing Zion as a fortress and place of refuge. According to Miller, the psalms may reflect that the Korahites were not associated with the Jerusalem temple, but recurring pilgrims to it (Miller, “Korahites,” 58–68). Goulder argues these psalms were originally set in the northern celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles and were brought to Jerusalem and reworked after the fall of the northern kingdom (Goulder, Psalms of the Sons of Korah, 239–52). In contrast, Mitchell suggests these psalms reflect a theme of redemption from Sheol, spurred by the contrast between the narrative in Num 16–17 and Num 26. Mitchell argues that these psalms indicate that the Korahites had a memory of having escaped from death (Mitchell, “God Will Redeem,” 365–84).

The story of the sons of Korah in the Old Testament is truly a tale of two fathers and two destinies. The story begins with the Israelites of Moses’ time as they journeyed through the wilderness just after leaving Egypt. In , God set aside the Levites, out of the tribes of Israel, for full time service to Him. They were ordained to take care of the tabernacle and all of its implements, as well as the Ark of the Covenant. Only the descendants of Aaron, however, were allowed to serve as priests.
The three sons of Levi were Gershon, Merari, and Kohath. The Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the curtains of the courtyard, the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar, and the ropes—and everything related to their use. The Merarites were appointed to take care of the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts, bases, all its equipment, and everything related to their use, as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, and ropes. The Kohathites were responsible for the care of the sanctuary. They were responsible for the care of the ark, the table, the lamp stand, the altars, the articles of the sanctuary used in ministering, the curtain, and everything related to their use. They were under the direct supervision of Eleazar, son of Aaron.
Unlike the Gershonites and the Merarites, who were allowed to transport the items under their care on carts, the Kohathites had to carry their items, the holy things of the tabernacle, on their shoulders. They had the arduous burden of transporting these items from place to place as the camp moved, but they were not allowed to actually touch the items or they would die. The priests had to wrap the sacred objects in special coverings before they were transported (). Many of the Kohathites began to disdain this task and to covet the role of the priests.
Korah was the grandson of Kohath, and he began to run with another group of Reubenite malcontents, namely, Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On, son of Peleth. In pride, they roused a group of 250 men together to challenge the right of Moses and Aaron to the priesthood (). Moses summoned the rebellious men to stand before God and burn incense. God warned Moses to let the assembly know to get away from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, their households, and the other rebels. Then a remarkable and terrifying event happened.
“Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.’ As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, ‘The earth is going to swallow us too!’ And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense” ().
Although this clearly marked the end of Korah, we discover that Korah’s sons, perhaps too young to understand their father’s uprising or maybe too cognizant of God’s authority to join in the revolt, were spared (). God judged those who turned against Him in active rebellion and purified His people, but He still had a purpose and plan for even the line of Korah. After seven successive generations, the prophet Samuel arose from the line of Korah, the genealogy of which is recorded in , 1 Chronicles 38, and , . The Korahites became doorkeepers and custodians for the tabernacle (; .) One group of Korahites () joined King David in various military exploits and won the reputation of being expert warriors. However, the most remarkable thing to note about the sons of Korah is that during the time of King David, they became the great leaders in choral and orchestral music in the tabernacle. Heman the Korahite had a place of great importance as a singer, along with Asaph (a Gershonite) and Ethan or Jeduthan (a Merarite). These individuals played an important role in the thanksgiving services and pageantry when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem. David formed an elaborate organization for song, instrumental music, and prophesying through these men.
Of all of the psalms in the Bible, eleven are attributed to the sons of Korah. These beautiful psalms express a spirit of great gratitude and humility to an awesome, mighty God. They express a longing for God and deep devotion. These poetic songs include , , and 72—85. contains the beautiful line, “As the deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” states, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O God.” conveys the powerful message, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Text Exposition:

Depression, defeat, struggle, longing…a weary fight or rather a desire stemming from the alert signals going off…cumpulsive reaction ariving from a lacking of what is needed.
You can sense the heaving of the chest, the panting of the mouth…the bodies fight to cool down. The legs becoming week, the mind fogged, the muscles fatigued…You can picture what that first even sip of water will do. It’s not enough to hear of the water. Not enough to know that it is there…all seperation must be gone and the water must be consumed…that is the longing
Psalm 42:1 ESV
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
There is perhaps no greater craving than thirst.
Hunger can be pushed through, but the craving of thirst feels it’s misery even upon the tips of the parched tounge.
“I thrist” said Jesus upon the cross…perhaps with this very Psalm in mind.
Heated, tired and in need, the deer pants…the need becomes an outward expression
This picture of the deer is descriptive of the Psalmist/of the people of God’s desire, need, craving for God.
But to be in such a state demonstrates seperation, a time apart.
The deer pants for the flowing streams because she has been seperated from them,
The soul of the Psalmist pants for God because there is a seperation.
Longing comes when one does not have.
There is a needed closeness, and intimacy that is not had here.
This is a work of grace.
tells us that the evil man has no fear of God before his eyes,
Here we see the Psalmist, the child of God who has no relief, no rest until His God is before his eyes and taken in fully.
This is indeed the grace of God seperating the evil from the righteous.
Such a craving ought to be sought and never quenched.
It ought to be the most fearful and dreadful thing that we be found wondering in the wilderness and never realize our thirst until we lay dead.
The grace of God says thirst, that we might return and drink and live.
“See that your heart rest not short of Christ in any duty. Let go your hold of no duty until you find something of Christ in it; and until you get not only a handful, but an armful; yes, a heartful…indeed you should have commerce in heaven, and communion with Christ in duty, which is therefore called the presence of God, or your appearing before him…Your duties then must be as a bridge to give you passage, or as a boat to carry you over into the bosom of Christ.” - Spurgeon
“I could not leave confession till I found my heart touched and broken for sin; nor supplication, till my heart was affected with the beauty of the blessings desired; nor thanksgiving, till my soul was quickened in return of praises; nor any duty, until my heart was brought into a duty frame, and something of Christ was found therein.” Bradford
Dear saints I call you to recognize this morning in every way we have been seperated from the true living God and as such a panting thirst is not only an appropriate response of the soul, it is a life giving work which is demonstrative of the grace of God within the soul.
Oh that we would work to not walk further about in any duty of life until this need has been recognized and therefore in some manner nourished by the living God.
Psalm 42:2 ESV
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
There are many gods before us, worshiped by many all around us.
There are many a mirage set about us.
But there is only one true source of water, only one living God.
The Psalmist here makes clear his thirst.
It is not a thirst to worship, but to worship the living God.
Gold and silver will not satisfy,
Other relationships will not due,
Pleasure of any kind falls short...
the thirst can only be satisfied by the living God.
How is our God living church?
originally - God is the only one from which the life originates. It is only God that has life within himself and thus only from Him that life flows unto man.
operatively - God is the only giver of life and as such our life, in the threefold extent and capacity of it, wether we look at the natural, spiritual or eternal, flows to us from God.
distinction - God is the living God in distinction, that is as He is set in opostition to all false Gods. There is not another in His likeness, no other can offer or be as the living God.
So there is no greater thirst for the soul than for the living God.
This means whether you are seeking your course in the natural life…the spiritual life…or eternal life there is nothing greater for you to seek in order to find life in any of these than that of the living God.
In your course of the natural affairs of this life and the duty’s set before you, see to it that you thirst for the living God in these things and yes even in the spiritual and the eternal...
Because the fullness of life is found when all three of these are brought together in your appearing berfore God.
And why ought we desire to see the living God, and to stand before HIm?
Because this is only the desire of the pure and righteous.
Does a theif long for a judge - absolutly not…but the child of God who has found life in all phases in God, who has been led to thirst by God, desires to have that thirst quenched..
If we do not desire God and the fullness of God then what does that say about us?
“When any of us have been at church, and aited in the sanctuary, let us examine what did we go there to see; a shadow of religion? An outside of Christian forms? A graceful orator? The figures and sapes of devotion? Surely then we might with as much wisdom, and more innocence, have gone to the wilderness “to see a reed shaken with the wind.” Can we say as the Greeks at the feast, “We would see Jesus?” Or as Absalom, “It is to little purpose I am come to Jerusalem if I may not see the King’s face.” To little purpose we go to church, or attend on ordinances, if we seek not, if we see not God there.” Isaac Watts
While I am banished from thy house
I mourn in secret, Lord;
“When shall I come and pay my vows,
And hear thy holy word?”
So while I dwell in bonds of clay,
Methinks my soul shall groan.
“When shall I wing my heavenly way
And stand before thy throne?”
I love to see my Lord below,
His church displays his grace;
But upper worlds his glory know
And view him face to face.
I love to worship at his feet,
Though sin attack me there,
But saints exalted near his seat
Have no assults to fear.
I’m pleased to meet him in his court,
And taste his heavenly love,
But still I think his visits short,
Or I tooo soon remove.
He shines, and I am all delight,
He hides and all is pain;
When will he fix me in his sight,
And never depart again?” Isaac Watts
Psalm 42:3 ESV
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
Oh how our grief does decieve and cripple,
When it should motivate and illuminate.
We ask where is God, assuming not our wrong, but His abandonment.
If you have upon your tears dined,
And questioned where is God,
And even yet, if it be not your tears that cry where is God, then certainly those around you echo it.
I implore you to recognize your thirst,
Not for things of this world, but for the living God.
Not the pleasueres of, nor the tears of this world can satisify.
The grief of the Psalmist in recognizing seperation from God is one so grievious that he cannot eat.
The temptation is to go after another, seeing God as absent.
If God the living water is not present then how can I drink…let me at least then drink the human waste and live.
Do not fall for such a trap.
When faith is shaken then we must fight for the unifying…the communion of the soul with God,
and fight until it is obtained.
Please note here that our own tears can be just as tempting as the vocal tempters that surround us.
Psalm 42:4 ESV
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
What perhaps makes the tears come even more is the memory of pleasure in the midst of misery.
I remember says the grievious soul...
The “good ol days” is our beloved phrase.
I remember when I was on fire and empassioned about everything of God...
When my life before God was but one great celebration, when trial was not near, but the new taste of freadom was upon my lips...
So promising it was, such fellowship found there with God and his people...
but today, I am alone..God is distant, people surrounding me are combatant and trial is all day long with no joyful festivities to be found.
What form of a child of God am I?
Psalm 42:5 ESV
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
All of this downcast, all of this angst, all of this turmoil is brought back to this...
Somewhere our hope was shifted.
Somewhere our hope became about a career, a possession, a family, a relationship, a god of this world and in that our hope was lost and hope became hopeless.
The answer…hope in God.
but for what?
Hope to praise Him - hope for salvation.
Here is what we learn and must address in this first stanza...
The words of 42:5 though here they seem to be read in the passive are in the original in the active:
Why bowest (or pressest) thou down thyself, my soul? and why tumultest thou against me.
Why is this key…it is because these words signify in the active that God’s own people may be cast down too much for the sense of sin, and that they, that we are the most active in our being casted down. It is not God, nor is it the devil that cast us down, but we ourselves.
We ourselves, in our own cravings for sin, or our own lacking of hope in God, we create more trouble or trial for ourselves than God inflicts and more than what the devil tempts us with.
Thus in verse 5 after much grief you have the problem and the solution.
The problem…we cast ourselves down in turmoil...
The solution…hope in God.
How....long for Him as for flowing streams…want to know the living God, that is to know God in all forms of life. In the natural, the spiritual, and the eternal, and in all of it He shall be and indeed is your hope, who will in every avenue return you to the praise of HImself and be your salvation. - Amen.
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