Rising From The Ashes

Read: Numbers 16:1f, 26:9-11

Text: (Numbers 26:11 - KJV) "Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not."

Theme: You are not a victim of you past, but can rise above it and do something for God.


One of the greatest weapons that is leveled against believers by Satan is "the past." We all have things in our past that we wish weren't there, and often we find ourselves hindered in our life for Christ by these situations in our past.

Are we slaves to the past? Is it true, as so many modern-day psychologists teach, that we are what we are because of the past, and we are often helpless to erase it? Must we resign ourselves to a life of second-class service for Christ because of mistakes made earlier?

Our scripture for today tells the story of a terrible past. It also tells of a bright future. Let's look at the Word of God and learn from it today.

I. The Sin of Korah - Numbers 16

A. Korah - great-grandson of Levi.
Read: Exodus 6:16-22
B. Korah- ring-leader of the revolt against Moses.
Read: Numbers 16:6, 19
C. Korah - whose name became a byword in Israel
i.e. a sign of God's judgement on sin

Numbers 26:9,10 (KJV) - "And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the LORD: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign."

Numbers 27:3 (KJV) "Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons."

Jude (KJV) "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."

II. The Sinlessness of Korah's Sons - Numbers 26:11

A. Spared
(They must have been innocent in the rebellion.)
B. Marked
(Can you imagine the same of being a son of Korah?)
C. Determined
(Did not let their father's sin deter them, but went on to serve God.)

III. The Service of Korah's Sons

A. The Korahites rose to prominence in the service of the tabernacle and temple.
1. Shallum was the chief gate-keeper
Read: 1 Chronicles 9:17-19
Note: This was a high honor indeed, for it was this gate which the king used.
2. Other Korahites were also gate-keepers and served as Levites.
They overcame their past, and became GREAT for God.
B. The Korahites became renowned as musicians.
Read: 2 Chronicles 20:19

Twelve psalms are attributed to them. (Psalm 42, 49, 84-85, 87-88)

They overcame their past, and DID SOMETHING MEMORABLE for God.


Korah did indeed commit a horrible sin, and it marked him and his name for all eternity. Until that glorious day when all things become new, and the former things are no more, the name of Korah will always be synonymous with "rebellion."

Nevertheless, the sons of Korah rose from the ashes of this disgrace,and amounted to something for God. They became psalmists, singers, priests, men who penned words that have lasted for thousands of years, and have been used by millions of believers to praise their God.

Are you a slave to the past? NEVER! The greatest successes the world has ever known achieved success because they got up when they fell... they tried again when they failed... they rose from the ashes of their initial defeat until they achieved success!

ILLUS. Someone once asked his mentor in business to what he attributed his phenomenal success. He replied, "Making good decisions". "Well", the young man said, "how did you learn to make good decisions?" "Bad decisions".

ILLUS. Roger Stauback, former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, was once asked how he felt when he had blown a pass. He said, "I can hardly wait to get my hands on the ball again". That's the reason he was a great quarterback.


ILLUS. Back in the early 1930s, C.D. "Bigboy" Blalock of Louisiana State University--a six-foot-six-inch giant of a boxer--was taking on a stocky fellow from Mississippi State. In the second round, Bigboy let lose a roundhouse. The Mississippi man stepped in, and his head caught Bigboy's arm inside the elbow. With the opponent's head acting as a lever, Bigboy's arm whipped around in almost full circle, connecting with haymaker force on Bigboy's own chin. He staggered, grabbed the rope, walked almost all the way around the ring, and then fell flat for the count--the only prizefighter who ever knocked himself out with a right to his own jaw.

ILLUS. During 1978 during the fireman's strike in England, the British army took over emergency firefighting. On January 14 they were called out by an elderly lady in South London to retrieve her cat. They arrived with impresseve haste, very cleverly and carefully rescued the cat, and started to drive away. But the lady was so grateful she invited the squad of heroes in for tea. Driving off later with fond farewells and warm waving of arms, they ran over the cat and killed it.

ILLUS. Jack Hyles "funniest story I ever heard" illustration of the young woman who tried to jump out a 20th story window, only to be blown by the wind onto a ledge just 2 floors down. In the hospital, when asked why she wanted to kill herself, she said sadly, "Because I've failed at everything I've ever tried to do."

ILLUS. (SIMILAR TO ABOVE) MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish man was recovering in hospital after two suicide attempts both failed Wednesday, a local news agency said. The 38-year-old man leapt from his third-floor apartment in an apparent bid to kill himself, but failed to even knock himself out on hitting the ground, Europa Press said. He staggered back into his apartment and cut his throat, but police broke down the door and took him to hospital in the town of Merida, capital of western Extremadura region.


QUOTE - "Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, 'I have failed three times,' and what happens when he says, 'I am a failure.'"

ILLUS. On New Year's Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, outdistanced him and downed him just before he scored for the opposing team. When California attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety which was the ultimate margin of victory. That strange play came in the first half, and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: "What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?" The men filed off the field and went into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor, all but Riegels. He put his blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and cried like a baby. If you have played football, you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during half time. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time. Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, "Men the same team that played the first half will start the second." The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He did not budge. the coach looked back and called to him again; still he didn't move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, "Roy, didn't you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second." Then Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with a strong man's tears. "Coach," he said, "I can't do it to save my life. I've ruined you, I've ruined the University of California, I've ruined myself. I couldn't face that crowd in the stadium to save my life." Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegel's shoulder and said to him: "Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over." And Roy Riegels went back, and those Tech men will tell you that they have never seen a man play football as Roy Riegels played that second half.

Are you a slave to the past? NEVER! NOTHING is more foreign to scripture than that. The Bible is filled with examples of people with bad pasts, who rose above them:

Samson rose above his disgrace to win a great victory for God. You don't think Samson accomplished much for God? Read Hebrews 11 and explain why he is listed as a hero of the faith.

David rose from the defeat of sin to write Psalm 51 and to regain his place as the man after God's own heart.

Peter rose from the despair of publicly denying his savior to become one of the greatest preachers and apostles the world has ever known. Three-thousand saved in one sermon. Wrote two epistles. Only in eternity will we know fully what was accomplished by Peter rising from the ashes of his defeat.

John Mark rose from the disgrace of being called a quitter by Paul the Apostle to write the gospel of Mark, and to go down in history as the man of whom Paul said, "he is profitable to me for the ministry."

You are NOT a slave to your past. No matter what is there, forget it! God has!

Hebrews 10:17 (KJV) "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."

Psalms 103:12 (KJV) "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."

Satan remembers it, and constantly works to make you remember it, but GOD DOES NOT REMEMBER IT!

If you are saved, you can rise from anything in the past, and have a bright future with God. How do you do it, you ask? Simple, just GET UP, quit moping, and start serving the way that you used to!

James 4:8 (KJV) "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.