As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
Are you longing for God?
As the deer pants for water our souls pant for that which will give life…God.
Throughout the Psalms there are many times we find that there is a longing in the heart of man for the Creator. The only one who can give life; the only one who can give hope; the only one who can be our help and strength in hard times.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolation he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
There are so many times in life when we get so caught up in the troubles of life that we forget to pant for God as our everything. “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
There is an amazing back story to these Psalms. Both of these Psalms are from the “Sons of Korah.”
We can learn how to allow God to be our refuge and fortress in time of need, because this family understood that it was only through God’s power that they were alive.
I am calling this “Swallowed Up: Saved from Sheol”
The story of the sons of Korah is found in Number 14. At this point in the journey of the Israelites they had found the promised land and after sending spies into the land it was decided by general consensuses that they would not be able to defeat the giants who lived there. The people began to complain and rebel against Moses and God’s plan.
14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
Moses began pleading with the people that if they would simply trust God and believe that He is their…”refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” They would be able to receive the promise given to them.
There are many promises of God that we hold onto; but the promises cant be what we put our trust in it must be in God alone.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
We must know that He is God and that is why He can be our refuge, strength, and help in those times of great need.
Back to Numbers.
10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites.
The people thought they knew better than God and if only they got rid of the Moses they would be better off; living in the past of good enough. It is easy to get comfortable with the “fine”, but God wants to take us into the “promise.”
God came down and filled the tabernacle and spoke to Moses. God a mind to fully destroy the people of Israel, but Moses asked for their forgiveness.
19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”
20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.
God is rich in mercy and abounding in love. When we ask He is always faithful to forgive us. In a time when fear of the unknown, doubt that what God said is real, and arrogance believing we know what is better; we must take a step back and repent.
We must be still and listen to His voice not the voices in this world.
After this we finally get to the story of Korah in Numbers 16
1 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They 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 face-down. 5 Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him
Korah became the leader of the rebellion to take the people back to Egypt.
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 suffer the fate of all mankind, 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 realm of the dead, 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 and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 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. 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.
This is a sad end to a man and his family who was not following God’s plan. Instead of trusting God’s plan even when it was not easy they turned to rebellion toward God. This raises an interesting question, “who are the sons of Korah in Psalm?”
10 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign. 11 The line of Korah, however, did not die out.
The earth opening up was not the end.
God is our refuge and strength. As the deer pants for water so my soul pants for God. It is clear that the history of the sons of Korah was not good. When their forefathers fell into rebellion against God they were wiped out. But because of God’s great mercy when they were willing to be still and know that He is God. God was their refuge and strength.
We are living in a time when the history of our nation is coming into question. When we look back at the injustice and rebellion toward God we find so much pain. It is important that like the sons of Korah look to God first for our everything. If their is hurt pant for God. If your world is swallowing you alive be still and know that I am God.
Do not get caught up in the hype of injustice, but recognize the past had problems and look ahead as the sons of Korah “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.”
When the world is swallowing up people in the hype, media, anger, pride, selfishness, and hopelessness we must look to God as our refuge and strength in a time a need.
The sons of Korah were saved from Sheol or the depths of the earth. We too are saved from sheol when we are willing to be still and know that He is God. He will save us from the evil in the world now and He will save us from the spiritual evil.
Do you need saving? Is there something in life right now that you are getting swallowed by? Are you not sure you will be saved after this earth passes away?
Know that God is your ever present help if you are willing to ask for help and know that He is God.