The Exodus Book of Psalms--Part 5
Mar 25, 2010
This psalm was written by David after he was betrayed by the Ziphites as he was hiding from Saul in the forest nearby. The story is told in 1 Samuel 23.
The topic, then, focuses upon the question of "whose side are you on?"
When we relate it to Exodus 32, it brings up the same question asked in verse 26,
"Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, 'Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!' And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him."
The King James Version puts it into a question, "Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me."
This psalm is a call for the people to decide which side they are on. In David's day, the Ziphites decided to back King Saul, a type of the Church under Pentecost, and in so doing, they betrayed David, the overcomer, who was the type of Christ and the high priest after the Order of Melchizedek.
In Moses' day, there were different people playing their roles, but the question was the same. The "church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38) had corrupted itself by worshiping the golden calf (the love and worship of money). That church was also a type of the church under Pentecost.
Like David, Moses too was a priest after the Order of Melchizedek. Though this is not stated specifically in Scripture, we can see that membership in this order of priests is what qualified David to eat the bread from the Table of Showbread and later to speak with God face to face before the Ark in the "Tabernacle of David." Moses, too, was able to go into the tent and to speak with God face to face, though he was not Aaron's son.
And so the lesson of Psalm 54 is that we are called to identify which leader we will follow. Will it be David and the God who anointed him, or will it be Saul who, though legitimately called, had rebelled against God? Will it be Moses and his God, or will it be Aaron and his golden calf?
In the New Testament, this same issue surfaced again. Jesus Christ was the Son of David and the one like Moses (Acts 7:37). He was opposed by the descendants of Aaron the high priest who by this time had corrupted themselves by the love of money--the worship of the golden calf.
Still later, in the time of the Church under Pentecost, the prophetic type shifted slightly to focus more upon Saul than upon Aaron. Saul, of course, was the type of the Church under Pentecost, having been crowned on the day of wheat harvest (1 Sam. 12:17), i.e., Pentecost. And so in our time, the call has been to decide which king the Christian believers will follow. Will it be Saul or David? Both are legitimately called and anointed by God. The difference is that one was in rebellion against God and His law, while the other was not.
In Psalm 54, David prays for vindication,
(3) For strangers have risen against me, and violent men have sought my life; they have not set God before them.
Saul was the violent man seeking David's life, and those who helped him were participants in that act of violence. This prophetic type has been fulfilled in the Age of Pentecost as well, for the Church has also persecuted the overcomers.
The conflict in Moses' day applies primarily to the Old Covenant people vs. the New Covenant people.
The conflict in David's day applies primarily to the Pentecostal Church anointing fighting the Tabernacles anointing of the overcomers.
And so we see that Psalm 54 is one more psalm that focuses upon the story of the golden calf in Exodus 32. Yet its unique focus is upon the call to stand up and be counted among those who are on the side of the true God, rather than siding with those who worship the golden calf.
This is a psalm written by David while he was in the wilderness after his throne had been usurped by Absalom. This is shown by the final subscript to Psalm 55, "To the chief Musician upon Jonath-elem-rechokim." This statement is misplaced in the KJV at the beginning of Psalm 56, but Dr. Bullinger shows that it should be placed at the end of Psalm 55.
Jonath-elem-rechokim means "the dove of the distant terebinths." David pictured himself as a dove mourning in the distant trees far from Jerusalem, as verse 2 indicates (KJV), "I mourn in my complaint." Verse 6 says,
"And I said, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest."
David was particularly distressed because he had been betrayed, not by an enemy, but by his close friend, Ahithophel, who was Bath-sheba's grandfather.
(12) For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. (13) But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend. (14) We who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God together, walked in the house of God in the throng.
Ahithophel, of course, was a type of Judas who was Jesus' friend that betrayed him. Absalom's role was played by the chief priests who condemned Him to death in order to usurp His throne (Matt. 21:38). Jesus played the role of David.
Because of the link between Psalm 55 and Exodus 32, it is clear that the worship of the golden calf under Moses pictured the throne of God being usurped by the golden calf. Aaron was its builder, and the people followed. This same story was retold in Absalom's revolt against David. Both stories prophesied of Jesus Christ, the chief priests, and Judas.
When we understand the prophetic significance of Psalm 55 and how it is linked to the story in Exodus while prophesying of the future, we are able to get a complete picture of the lesson that God is revealing to us. By extension, we also must take note that in each story there was a day of reckoning that resolved the conflict.
In Moses' day, 3,000 were killed by the sword (Ex. 32:28), and the throne of Israel was returned to the true God. In David's day, we see him returning, and Absalom is killed (2 Sam. 18:15). David regains his throne. Meanwhile, Ahithophel had already hanged himself (2 Sam. 17:23), prophesying also the same fate for Judas.
Then in Acts 2 we find 3,000 being added to the church on the day of Pentecost. It is the NT parallel to the 3,000 killed in Ex. 32:28, but in this case the disciples used the Sword of the Spirit, rather than a physical sword. The results were far different.
Today, we are living in the time of David's "second coming," when He returns to reclaim His throne. The army of Absalom--those who helped him usurp the throne in Christ's first coming--are again arrayed against Christ. The main difference is that the conflict is now over the Birthright of Joseph, rather than the Scepter of Judah.
In 1948 the Birthright, along with the name "Israel," was usurped by the army of Absalom in the attempt to displace the true Son of David. Likewise, once again, Ahithophel-Judas has risen again to help and support Absalom in his quest to be the chosen one. Jesus has once again been betrayed in the house of his friends.
But "David" will return. Absalom will be dethroned and killed. Judas will yet again hang himself. The story will not change. The outcome is already pre-written in the Word. We cannot change prophecy, but we are indeed called to be part of David's army, and not part of the army that helps Absalom usurp the throne of Christ.
The choices that one makes will indicate who is an overcomer in David's army or a usurper in the army of Absalom, or a betrayer in the company of Ahithophel. Psalm 55 is the call of God to be on the right side.
This is the fifth part of a series titled "The Exodus Book of Psalms." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones