Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving

 and into his courts with praise:
 be thankful unto him and bless his name. 
 Psalm 100:4 (ESV) 
This past year I have become more aware of my lack of being thankful.  As I approach this season of Thanksgiving, it invites me to reflect not on what I am grateful for, but on why am I grateful?  It is easy for me to rattle off ten things I am thankful for, but it takes deep soul searching to give one reason why I am thankful. Searching for this one reason is the longing of one’s soul to be fulfilled. And after searching, and only then, can a sincere longing to be thankful for ten things be realized. The sons of Korah clarify this longing in Psalm 84:2. This Psalm centers around a longing for the courts of the Lord. In fact, the Psalmist makes it clear that “my soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God”. 

The history of the sons of Korah comes from the Old Testament in Numbers 4. The Sons of Korah had specific duties concerning the Tabernacle. “This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tent of meeting: the most holy things” (Numbers 4:4, ESV).   “…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” (v.4:15).  When it was time to move, Aaron and his sons, the priests, were to gather and to cover the articles from the Holy of Holies to be transported through the wilderness (v.1-15).  The sons of Korah were to carry the holy articles and not to look upon them or they would die.  God had given them a specific task to work in the courts concerning the Tabernacle.

We can see the rebellion of the sons of Korah in Numbers 16. The scriptures tell us that they were not satisfied with the duties they were assigned, therefore, they rebelled against Moses and Aaron.  “Is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? “(V.9-10). Then the earth opened and swallowed the sons of Korah and they perished from the midst of the assembly (v.30-35).

A remnant from the Korahites was spared and we can see this in Psalm 84. These descendants were musicians given the service of song, who understood the wickedness of their father’s sins.  The new generation chose to dwell in the courts of the Lord and accept their service and duty to Lord.  “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness” (v.10).

Why am I thankful?  Because my soul has found a dwelling place in the courts of the Lord and I can sing about the joy of the living God. What am I thankful for? I am not longer thankful for ten things, but for everything God’s brings my way.

Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house. The holiness of your temple! (Psalm 65:4)


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