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Summary: how the Sons of Korah teach us how to deal with sorrow

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March 10, 2002 Psalm 42-43

For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, Where is your God?" 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. 5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. 8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?" 11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

1 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men. 2 You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? 3 Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 4 Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. 5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” the little blue engine said, as it chugged up the hill to deliver the toys to the village on the other side of the valley. This well known story features a little train who loads up his cars with some toys who had been stranded and tries to get them over a hill to some children in a valley. As the train approaches the hill, it is unsure as to whether it will make it or not. But the closer it gets, the further it goes, it continues to pump itself up by saying “I think I can.” As it finally nears the top, the little blue engine then finally says, “I know I can and I knew I could.” It had to talk itself through it.

Haven’t most of us done this at one time in our life or another? Whether it was calling a girl for a date, going through with a surgery, or getting pumped up for a big game, we have all had to “talk ourselves through it.” That’s what Psalms 42-43 seem to be doing as well. The Sons of Korah were facing difficult times. The recurring theme of the Psalm is - Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? They also said, My tears have been my food day and night. They didn’t know how they were going to get through their difficult times, but they tried to talk themselves through it. So today we’ll see how you can -

Talk Yourself Through The Sorrow with Tomorrow

I. First ask, “what is the source of your sorrow?”

How many of you have ever heard of the “Sons of Korah?” This is one of those intriguing stories in the Bible for me - because of the history of these men. The actual Korah comes to the forefront in Numbers 16. It says,

Korah . . and 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. . . came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” 4 When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. 5 Then he said to Korah and all his followers: . . . “You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow—you and they and Aaron. 17 Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it—250 censers in all—and present it before the LORD. You and Aaron are to present your censers also.” 18 So each man took his censer, put fire and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 19 When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” . . . 25 Moses . . . warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.” 27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. 28 Then 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: 29 If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 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 grave, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.” 31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!” 35 And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

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