By Rev Arnold Chow
July 3, 2022
There is a line in the NPAC 70th Anniversary theme song “70+” that goes: “Obey and hope in You, enter new horizons.” This is very much in line with the overall theme of our Five-Year Plan, which is “Steadfast Mission in New Horizons.” “New” connotes change. Indeed, changes happening all around and continual scenes of sorrow and joy, separation and reunion make one feel an unbearable depression.
Our sermons in the last quarter reviewed the Apostles’ Creed, through which the key doctrine of our faith reminds us that despite our mixed feelings, we can still be sure we know in whom we “believe”.
Nevertheless, between “believe” and the ultimate consummation of salvation, “hope” is needed. Earlier, we have studied selected passages from Genesis to Kings about Levi and his descendants. Korah in Numbers 16 originally served God in the tabernacle. The Kohathites to which Korah belonged was a clan of the Levite tribe and was responsible for the important work of carrying the Ark of the covenant. But he was eyeing Aaron’s high priest work. Despite Moses’ exhortation to the contrary, he would not stop his bid. This caused great anger on the part of God resulting in Korah and all those associated with him to be swallowed by the earth. But the Bible tells us that God spared Korah’s offspring. It was possible that some of Korah’s sons were faithful to their duties as Levites and had not followed Korah in causing havoc. Really, God’s salvation is with those who fear Him.
Psalms is divided into five books. In Book II (Psalm 42 to 72) and Book III (Psalm 73 to 89), 11 psalms were attributed to the sons of Korah (12 if we include the unattributed Psalm 43, which is traditionally considered to be the second part of Psalm 42). These psalms are Psalm 42, (43), 44 to 49, 84, 85, 87 and 88 respectively.
In terms of content, many of them were cries to God from the bottom of the psalmists’ hearts. This is particularly so because the sons of Korah, who habitually served as singers in the temple (see 2 Chronicles 20:19), were stranded in a foreign land and could not wholly fulfil their original mission. In a new environment, it was difficult to fulfil one’s mission. What these psalms reveal is the inner conversation in man’s heart, how he continues to pray before God answers his prayer, and how he prays with others.
Today, we see the nations entangled. Some people may have to make decisions for the family which has them hesitate and worried. Many may ask: What should we do in future? When the people and things all around keep changing, one inevitably feels downhearted and confused.
It is true that some feelings, some losses cannot be dismissed by speech, nor can they be brushed aside or covered up simply with joyful celebrations in a community.
As children of God, we long to see the acts of the LORD. We look forward to the sunshine after the rain when we can continue to respond to God’s calling in our lives in this vast land. This quarter, let the psalms by the sons of Korah lead us to pour out our hearts to God and help us to firmly believe that God alone is the One we can truly depend on. He alone is our hope. Let us continue to have “fervent hope” in Him!