The Exodus Book of Psalms--Part 3
Mar 23, 2010
The golden calf incident in Exodus 32 was a major event in Israel's history. It established the precedent for the future, both near and far. In the near-term, God's judgment was that the nation would not enter the Promised Land from the South, but would have to enter from the East, crossing the Jordan River of death and resurrection.
Further, God told Moses that He would not lead them personally, but would send an angel to lead them (Ex. 32:34; 33:3). The implications of this were enormous when one understands that up to that point they had been led by "the angel of His presence/face," i.e., Peniel (Isaiah 63:9). Peniel was then replaced by Michael, the angel of death and resurrection (Dan. 12:1-3).
There are, of course, two ways to enter the Promise of Tabernacles. Most will enter through the river of death and resurrection; and some at the end will be "changed" without having to die (1 Cor. 15:51). These two paths are prophesied in the two opportunities that Israel had to enter the Promised Land.
The golden calf incident, then, is of such utmost importance that many psalms are devoted to it in the Exodus book of psalms. Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance. Psalm 52 is about the death of the 3,000 killed that day, as well as the blessing of those who did not participate in that idolatrous orgy.
Doeg the Edomite was the enemy in David's day, but in applying the psalm to Exodus 32, it is clear that Aaron himself was the chief idolater of his day, having made the golden calf in the first place. In this case, Aaron's actions established the precedent that his descendants would follow many years later when they rejected Christ in favor of the idols of their own hearts. This idolatry of the temple priests brought about their eventual replacement by the Order of Melchizedek, for the Levitical priesthood was found to be unworthy.
This psalm is a virtual repeat of Psalm 14. It seems strange that the Scriptures would include two psalms that were nearly identical. Most would consider this to be a mistake. But it is no mistake. It is, in fact, God's way of connecting two biblical events of which these psalms prophesy.
Psalm 53 is about the idolaters of Exodus 32. But Psalm 14 is part of The Genesis Book of Psalms and speaks of Sarah's captivity in the house of Abimelech (Gen. 20). The two stories have something in common, and hence we see a repeat.
Psalm 14 is actually the 13th psalm, as I pointed out in my book, The Genesis Book of Psalms. This is because Psalms 9 and 10 are two halves of the same psalm. For this reason the Septuagint retains them as a single psalm, and so the psalm numbers differ from most modern versions, including the KJV.
This does not make much difference insofar as the content of the Word is concerned, but when we use the psalms to determine the biblical meaning of numbers, it makes a big difference. The number 13 is the number of depravity and rebellion, and both Psalm 14 (really, 13) and its counterpart, Psalm 53, speak of Israel's depravity and rebellion.
Psalm 53 is actually the 52nd psalm as well, and the number 52 is associated with the repair of the breach (Neh. 6:15). When applying this number to the golden calf incident, it is plain that the worship of the golden calf caused a breach in the prayer wall of defense around Israel. That breach brought divine judgment until it was repaired by Moses' intercession.
And so we see that Psalms 14 and 53 are really Psalm 13 and 52. These numbers indicate rebellion and a breach in need of repair. Psalm 53 begins this way:
(1) The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God." They are corrupt, and have committed abominable justice; there is no one who does good. (2) God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men; to see if there is anyone who understands, who seeks after God. (3) Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
In Exodus 32, Moses was in the mount getting instructions for building the Tabernacle when God told him,
(7) . . . Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, havecorrupted themselves. (8) They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it, and said, "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt."
God looked down from heaven and saw the corruption of Israel. He saw that they had all turned aside from worshiping Him. When we compare this with Psalm 14 and the story in Genesis 20 of Sarah's captivity in the house of Abimelech, we get a greater understanding of the situation as God sees it.
Abraham did the same thing in the land of the Philistines that he had done in Egypt some years earlier. He was fearful that the carnally-minded Philistines would kill him and take his wife, Sarah, and so he thought it was justified that he would tell a half-truth saying, "she is my sister" (Gen. 20:2). (She was also his half-sister--see Gen. 20:12.) King Abimelech then took Sarah as his own wife, not realizing that she was Abraham's wife.
But God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him the truth of the matter, and he then restored Sarah to Abraham. This entire situation prophesied of "the captive bride" that is pictured in the heavens as Andromeda, the "captive daughter of Zion" (Isaiah 52:2). I wrote more of this in my weblog for Sept. 29, 2009 in my series on "God Prophetically Named the Stars," part 4.
Andromeda prophesied of Israel going into captivity to the sea monster (Nineveh, the "City of Fish"). Sarah was a type of Israel establishing the prophetic type of this captivity. This captivity was caused by lack of faith on Abraham's part, and though he told only a half-truth in his day, this half truth was multiplied greatly as time passed. A little leaven requires only time to leaven the entire nation.
Another aspect of this story is that it relates to the Old Covenant, which leads to enslavement, as Paul says in Gal. 4:25. Israel's enslavement under the Old Covenant is her "Andromeda" experience as a chained woman before becoming Cassiopeia, the Enthroned Woman set free by the New Covenant. Psalm 53:6 looks forward to this day, saying,
(6) Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores His captive people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
See also my weblog describing Cassiopeia at:
And so, to summarize all of this, Psalm 53 commemorates Israel's golden calf experience, showing how "there is no one who does good, not even one." Because the Old Covenant required man's obedience in order to obtain salvation, and because all have sinned, it was impossible to be saved by the Old Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, God judged Israel and scattered them among the nations, as threatened in the laws of tribulation (Lev. 26; Deut. 28).
The great fish (Nineveh) swallowed them up (Hos. 8:8, 9), even as Jonah had been swallowed up by the great fish (Jonah 1:17). But God yet had a remedy under the New Covenant, whereby Israel would be raised up through Christ and be seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) as The Enthroned Bride of Christ.
This is the third part of a series titled "The Exodus Book of Psalms." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones