As God prepared His people to enter the Promised Land, He assigned the tribe of Levi to be in charge of all things related to worship. That meant that the Levites provided all of the priests, as well as those who would care for the tabernacle/temple, play instruments in worship, and any other possible assignment relating to the worship of God.
Among the various families of the Levites, each family received a particular assignment. The family of Kohath was assigned to carry the tabernacle furnishings as they traveled, but even though they were Levites, they could not serve as priests. Korah, the head of the family, felt slighted, and led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. “And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?” (Numbers 16:10). The wrath of God fell on Korah and the other rebels, and the earth opened up and swallowed them.
God was merciful to Korah’s family, however. “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. Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not” (Numbers 26:10-11).
Several generations later, the family of Korah was still serving faithfully in the temple, not as priests, but as gatekeepers and singers. Perhaps this prompted them to write in Psalm 84:10, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” In other words, they had more joy from one day in the service of the Lord, than for a thousand days in the service of evil. There is joy in simple service to God, in whatever humble capacity we find ourselves. Aren’t we grateful for the many who serve the cause of Christ in those unsung positions that we could never do without!