Welcome to Sherpa’s monthly blog. This month, Julie Cole challenges and encourages us with the Old Testament story of Korah. Julie shows how Korah’s jealousy of Moses led to discontentment and death. Despite this, however, God’s presence & grace extended through generations of the Sons of Korah, even to us today. 

Background of Today’s Post

While in training, each Sherpa Cohort gathers four times for in-person retreats. At each retreat Dr. Gill invites a participant of that cohort to design the concluding morning service and deliver the sermon. 

I, Sue Reeve, am a member of Sherpa’s Cohort 1 and was privileged to serve as part of the teaching team for Cohort 2’s Retreat A, during which Julie Cole presented the Sunday message. The thoughts below are ones I extracted from her excellent sermon and use with Julie’s permission. 

Julie opened with a thought-provoking question and answer:  

Q:  How do I make it to the finish line?

A:  First, I must give my dream back to God.

Moses and Korah Approach God’s Calling in Vastly Different Ways

Moses gave his dream back to God. (See Exodus 33:12-19).  He said to God, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you … ” (v. 13).

God replied, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you, and I know you by name” (v.17).

God was indeed pleased with Moses, but Moses still encountered many difficulties. One involved Korah whose heart provides a contrast to that of Moses. 

Korah and his family were responsible to carry the most holy things of God (the Ark of God’s presence). Even though this assignment was very important since God had called Korah close to himself to carry His treasure, Korah was jealous of Moses, and he said, “No” to God’s assignment. The grim outcome resulted in the deaths of Korah and his household. (See Numbers 16 for story of Korah.) Even though Korah’s jealousy of Moses led to discontentment and death, God’s grace didn’t stop, extending throughout generations.

Key Questions to Ask When I Commit My Dreams to God 

Am I willing to lay down my pride?

Can I be faithful in my small assignments?

“Humility is the foundation where the weight of God’s presence can rest.”

Julie Cole

Fast forwarding several generations, we see that even though Korah’s jealousy led to discontentment and death, God’s grace extended.  Julie described another incident regarding the Ark. When it was captured by the Philistines (See story in 1 Samuel 4), it was said “God’s glory has departed” (v. 22). 

God’s grace is woven throughout the pages of Scripture, and the stories of Korah and the Ark illustrate the same grace God extends to us today. Julie said, “Even though it may appear that the line of Korah was wiped out, not all children of Korah died.” Seven generations later, Samuel emerges from the line of Korah (1 Chronicles 6:33).

God’s Grace Gives Space

“Because of God’s grace,” Julie reminded us, “God gives us space to find out what He is up to. Grace helps me let go of what I don’t need in my current season. God sustains (strengthens or supports physically or mentally – Oxford Dictionary) me in all things. I don’t need to drown in a sea of pain and suffering because my pain is grounded in God’s love.” 

Samuel was called from childhood to be a mighty, faithful, humble man of God. 1 Samuel 3:19 says, “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.” Samuel became Israel’s judge and served honorably in this position over forty years.

God’s Grace Doesn’t Depart Forever

Finally, Julie transported us into the New Testament where we learn God’s glory didn’t depart forever. For instance, Peter declared, Jesus, God’s glory, takes up residence in us when Christ is in us. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

Julie’s sermon concluded with practical application points: 

Four Things that will Keep Me Rooted in God’s Presence

  1. Space – Where are the spaces and when am I making space for God? This is not about guilt or duty but about a love relationship. Faith in the very Spirit of Jesus in me makes space to be filled by God. (The greater my faith, the greater the space.)
    • Am I giving soul space to Father, Son, and Spirit to work?
  1. Silence – Noise dulls our senses. Tune into ONLY God’s presence. Relax into the warm presence of God. The Psalmist invites us to lean into God (Psalms 46:8-9).  Psalms 46:10 allows me to find God in times of darkness. (Be still and KNOW …).
    • Am I being still, listening with my entire being, trusting in my inmost spirit the good work being done in me?
  1. Humility – God gets to decide how things go. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“ As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
    • Am I humbling myself in God’s sight, trusting that God cannot only do whatever He wants to do, whenever He wants to do it, but also trusting that God’s character is always righteous, just, merciful, full of grace, and wrapped in love? 
  1. Worship – Worship is when our hearts give way to God’s presence. 
    • Am I worshiping God with my entire being?  

Despite Korah’s Sin, Nevertheless, God’s Grace Extends to Future Generations

The Bible contains eleven psalms of the sons of Korah: Psalms 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 84, 85, 87, 88. These Psalms include verses that express highest praise and devotion to the Lord, while other verses provide images of deep humility and recognition of our frail humanity before a Holy God. (https://melissamclaughlin.org/2020/10/22/who-were-the-sons-of-korah-in-the-bible). Two psalms (84 and 46) acknowledge the pain of Korah’s descendants. 

Even today, we can remember how Korah’s jealousy of Moses may have led to discontentment and death, but the story didn’t end there because God’s grace extended throughout generations, even to us today. For example, we’re reminded when we hear the beloved hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God. The lyrics, a paraphrase of Psalm 46 of the Sons of Korah, and majestic melody were written by Martin Luther around 1527.

A Mighty Fortress, has been called the “Battle Hymn of the [Protestant] Reformation,”  and in the trouble-filled world in which we live today, the messages of both Psalm 46 and Luther’s hymn remain relevant. 

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

1 A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

2 Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.

3 And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

4 That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!


Bio: Julie Cole is the Director of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care at The King’s University
in Southlake, Texas. She’s a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed minister with Open Bible Churches desiring to inspire people to connect with God and to see His hand in both the miraculous and the mundane experiences of life. Julie is a member of Sherpa Cohort 2 and she’s excited how spiritual direction can powerfully point people to Jesus. Julie and her husband, David, live in Trophy Club, Texas, and have four children and eight grandchildren.