“To the preeminent overseer upon Shushan-eduth, Michtam of David, to teach:”
The beloved writer again sets forth a petition before the most excellent and bright overseer of all things, the Lord God Omnipotent who reigns. He presents his case before Yehovah God as it related to the events in his life by and through which he was instructed from on high. He calls these events ‘lilies’ or a ‘rejoicing testimony’ or an ‘exulted witness’ (Shushan-eduth) of the defilement, mark or stain (michtam) of the ‘loved one’ (David) and he acknowledges the fact that these were given to him to teach him the truth.
This is the experience of a child of grace as he is taught of the Spirit of God those things which pertain to the nature of the flesh and the manner of this world. These things “were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rms. 15:4). They are part of the testimony which the Spirit of Holiness has given for His children to confirm that they are strangers and sojourners in a foreign land and an explanation of the struggles which they encounter in this life. This record is given by the inspiration of God and is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16). The actions of Adam and all of creation are so interwoven by the Creator to the intent of presenting the frailties of the creature and the majesty of the Almighty. “Herein is wisdom; let he that has understanding count the number of the beast for it is the number of a man;” (Rev. 13:18).
This is the sound of rejoicing by one born from above. It may sound as though David is complaining his entire life about the wicked people and enemies of Israel but he is testifying and rejoicing in the lessons learned about his own corruption. As the Spirit reveals to him his inability to control the events of his life and his own instinctive natures, he is also being given to see the love and mercy of Yehovah God for His people. The lilies represent this testimony.
“And why do you think about raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they do not toil, neither do they spin and yet I say unto you that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these” (Matt. 6:28).
The Lord Jesus knows all the subjects of His creation. He created in Adam the cares of this life and the per-occupation in matters concerning survival. When He addressed His disciples upon the mount, He reveals unto them that even what might seem to be the most insignificant elements of their daily lives are under the watch and care of the wise Master builder. He knows the needs of His people and He supplies that which is good according to the good pleasure of His will. He has given them life and breath and all things necessary for their journey through this life. He has created everything to the praise of His name and to testify to His glory, His power and His sovereign control, even the crooked serpent and the wicked whom He has reserved unto the day of judgment. The heavens declare the glory of Yehovah and the firmament shows forth His handiwork yet that which is created is without strength or ability in and of itself. He has put the curiosity of the things of this world into the hearts of the sons of Adam and from the beginning man has been labouring in the exploration of the creation seeking the purpose of his existence. Adam was not satisfied with the garden afore prepared for him wherein God had set the serpent to tempt him, therefore Eve saw with the eye the fruit and concluded that it was essential for her wellbeing. She desired that which she did not have for the purpose of making better that which Almighty God had fashioned. She desired a better ‘station’ in life through the medium of wisdom and understanding and she deduced that the fruit was the ‘fast tract’ to this ‘exalted station’. David was taught that this Aram-zobah (‘exalted station’) was part of the daily struggle of his life which he was to endure as a child of grace who was the anointed King of Israel.
Jesus told the disciples that it was not by the might and strength of man nor the cunning intellect of the creature that enabled him to establish himself in time and to survive in this world. The Creator set the time of the habitation of the creature and He provides food and raiment as He has decreed is needed. The cares of this life are carnal and sensual but the desires of the inner man, that incorruptible seed born from above, is unto the kingdom of God and His righteousness; “I delight in the Law of God after the inward man” (Rms. 7:22).
The ‘lilies’, in their lowly estate as the flowers of the field, stand as the ‘exalted testimony’ of the love of God for His Beloved. He dwells in His ‘enclosed’ garden, to “feed in the gardens and to gather the lilies” (Song 6:2). He has not sent out emissaries to gather up the precious demonstration of the first flowers of spring lest they do harm to the delicate members. He has gathered His people, the object of His love, from every place He has planted them. He knows who they are for they are precious stones hewn from that Rock, and that Rock is Anointed. They are built together upon that Rock which is the cornerstone of the building of the tabernacle of Yehovah and His foundation is sure for He knows them that are His. He knows where He has scattered the seed for He has afore prepared the ground to receive His seed as His people become partakers of flesh and blood. He has set the limitations and the disciplines for His Beloved as they walk the path assigned and run the appointed race with patience. He gives them the rising up of the flesh to reveal that in Adam they are carnal, sold under sin. He has prescribed their falling downs to manifest that nothing is by the strength or power of the arm of the flesh and in the time appointed of the Father to reveal Himself dwelling in His people. Then the struggle of the exalted river (Aram-nacharim) is manifested as the exalted station (Aram-zobah) in life discovered. The torrent nature of the two rivers and the exalted rejoicing testimony of this lowly witness are the two witnesses God has given to the goodness of our God and the vileness of our flesh.
“...when he strove with Aram-nacharim and with Aram-zobah when Joab returned and smote of Edom in the valley of salt, twelve thousand”
There is a time signature on this Psalm which would indicate that the lessons learned pertain to the experience of the conditions and particulars of the events as recorded in II Samuel. Without these particular conditions of the decreed essential elements of each aspect in time, the lesson is incomplete and so it is imperative that every aspect of these things work in complete harmony, one with the other, unto the predestinated end. These trials and tribulations were assigned to David in his station of life as the anointed King of Israel to openly manifest the bondage of his corruption, the vanity of this world and the power of God over all.
The struggle with the exalted river is not an engineering project for the irrigation of the land. David was constantly involved with the residual elements of the indigenous people of the land, which the tribes of Israel could not utterly destroy as commanded by God and therefore did not drive out of the land. These Canaanites represent the constant drawing of the instinctive nature of the flesh. The Philistines represent the immigrants in the land of the sojourners who, although commanded to be expelled, yet live in and amongst the children of the Kingdom, like tares among wheat. This is the land of Shinar, the country of two rivers, wherein the law of the members wars against the Law of the mind. This is Adam who lusts against the promise, the covenant and the peace of the Kingdom of our God while the children inhabit the tabernacles of this dwelling. Adam cannot be destroyed until the time of his habitation is concluded. He cannot be controlled but by the same irresistible power which enables him to do the labours assigned unto him. He is not contained by his moral conscience or his innate sense of social decency; He is contained by the limitations which Yehovah God has established in the hewn stone, the thorns and the briars which line the path of his journey.
This journey is into the valley of salt which draws out and makes open the corruption of the flesh and the vanity of this world. These are the vexation upon the soul of the pilgrims in the wilderness. David notes that it was not of his own doing that Edom was smitten and although the type was manifested in the actions of the man Joab, which stood as a pattern of heavenly things, yet the reality of the victory is exclusively by the hand of ‘Yehovah is the Father’ (Joab).
“God, you have cast us off, you have scattered us, you have been displeased; turn to us again”
David had experienced a number of magnificent victories over the enemies of Israel. He smote the ‘immigrants’ of the ‘land of sojourners’ (Philistines), humbling them and bringing them low (subdue). He took the ‘mother city’ (Meth-eg-am-mah) out of the hand of the immigrants and smote them ‘of the father’ (Moab). These represented those who are of this world and not inhabitants of the land of Israel. They also represent the children who are “of your father the Devil and the lusts of your father you will do” (John 8:44). The nature of these individuals is to rely on the arm of the flesh and the might of man as their helper (Hadad-ezer) as that which ‘rules’ and ‘gives counsel’ concerning the ‘station’ of life in the ‘broad’ way. (Rehob, king of Zobah). Like the children in the market place, these adversaries of Israel presented the customs of the people of the land which called unto children of the promise to abandon their ways and join them in the pleasures of this life. David overcame them and they became his servants and brought gifts unto him. Why then was David upset?
When the Syrians of Damascus came to help these fallen comrades, David slew thousands of them and put garrisons in Syria. These also became servants of David and brought gifts; “And Yehovah preserved David whithersoever he went” (II Sam. 8:6). He and the armies of Israel not only subdued these nations and their kings but he stripped them of their prize possessions and their wealth and brought them to Jerusalem. And from the ‘stateliness’ (Berotheai) of the ‘mighty’ (Hadad), David removed all the ‘security’, ‘confidence’, and ‘safety’ (Betah) by taking “exceeding much brass” (8). So why did David say that Yehovah had cast him off and scattered him?
David had not been given to see the wonders of the work of God. His mind was occupied with the constant warfare which beset his land. He knew that it was God who did all things yet he did not understand, until the lesson was finished, that God was causing and performing all these things for the good pleasure of His will. He brought the marauding bands of immigrants (Philistines) into the land and either gave them the power and dominion over Israel or made them subjects of the sword, but He never removed them completely. He raised up the ‘step’ (Assur) in the land of two rivers of the ‘breaking forth of fruitfulness’ (which is the natural land of Promise from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates – Gen. 15:18). He set up Pharaoh in Egypt who sat in the midst of his river and said “My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself” (Ezek. 29:3) and He put hooks in the jaw of that great dragon and led him about. He brought the Syrian ruler from the east as the rod of His wrath and the staff of His anger (Is. 10:5). David struggled with these elements of the natural man as the pride of his heart was revealed.
God has ‘forcibly rejected’ (cast off) the rebellion of man from the beginning for, as a stiff necked and rebellious people from the beginning, he emits the ‘odious stench’ of death. As the Father has loved the inner spiritual man, as a sweet smelling savor, from before the foundation of the world, so He has hated Esau. He has scattered the seed of man throughout the ages and across the corners of the world. He has planted His incorruptible seed in the chosen vessels and brought forth His fruit, after His kind and in due season. He is the Lord God Omnipotent and He reigns supreme over all the inhabitants of this world and nothing comes to pass but by the power of His will and for the love of His people.
David was not given to see the ways of God nor to understand what the ‘good’ was in His dealings with Israel. He cried out to God in a statement of acknowledgement that it is indeed God who does all these things, yet he did not understand why. He concluded that when the enemy gained the advantage, God turned away from His chosen people and was angry with their actions. This is carnal reasoning for God is not a respecter of persons. He does not react to man’s conduct with an act of vengeance nor does He bless man for his obedience. God had interwoven these events into the experience of David to demonstrate his weakness and inability which causes the child of grace to cry unto the Father because of the bondage of this corruption. The plea of David was for God to return unto His people but the promise of God is “I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you”. Nothing that the creature does can change the will of the Creator and no thought, word or deed of the creation can separate His people from His eternal love.
“You have made the earth to tremble; you have broken it: heal the breaches thereof for it is shaking”
The word of God has created all things by Himself and for Himself and through Himself. There is nothing in existence which was not created by Him and according to His immutable will. He fashioned this world and set it in its place, hanging it in the circle of heaven. He causes the land to rise and fall and to quake and erupt at His appointed time to show the effects of time upon all of His creation. He has caused the people to fear and tremble before His majesty and to stare in wonder and amazement at the works of His hands. He created and He destroyed the land. He shaped and molded a new heaven and a new earth when Noah came forth out of the Ark and He established all things in the ‘country of two rivers’. This fragile globe is rapidly deteriorating, spinning towards the end, therefore if His people have only hope in this world, they are of all men most miserable.
He shook the world when it was made. He shook it when the floods came and destroyed all life. He shook it when He met with His people at Sinai and again when His prophets spoke. When Messiah came forth, born of a virgin, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law and to proclaim the Jubilee of God, He declared His victory over death and the grave as the earth shook in those last days and man ran for safety for Christ arose from the dead. The earth could not contain the risen Lord of glory as the ground shook and the stone was rolled away. Neither can the passions and cravings of Edom overcome or control the child of grace planted in the earthen vessel.
The breaches of this world have been designed by the hand of the Sovereign of the Universe as a demonstration of His power. They cannot be repaired for the heavens and the earth are journeying to an end. Man cannot save the planet, save the whales or save himself yet the philosophies and doctrines of man teach those very intentions. The struggle of the exalted river is the counterfeit representations of the glory and majesty of God which are in-tune with the itching ears of the natural man. The warfare of the exalted station is the pride of the heart of Edom wherein he is deceived to think more highly of himself than he aught. The thoughts and desires of the ‘spiritual wickedness in high places’ is to exalt himself unto the throne of God, to attempt make his habitation on high, exalt himself as an eagle and set his nest among the stars (Ob. 3f). This is the nature of all the children of the dust but only unto the children born from above is the struggle experienced. A thorn in the flesh was given unto the Apostle as a messenger from Satan to buffet him and remind him of his inabilities and weakness in Adam. The constant teaching of the Spirit within is to keep ones self unspotted from the world (Jms 1:27). The chastening hand of the loving Father is unto this end. He has set up the heap of the witness for our reminder (Gilead) that we do not forget (Manasseh) the grace of the shed blood and the corruption of the flesh. God does not lay His chastening upon His little children in retribution for their conduct for He knows their frame that it is dust. He sets His hand upon them as a demonstration of His love for them daily reminding them that this world is not their home and the strength and abilities of the flesh are worthless. This testimony of tangible things is against the foreign land, against Adam and the captivity of his inability to worship the Father in spirit and truth. It is a reminder of the emptiness of this habitation, the constant labours assigned and the vanity of our nature. This witness causes the children to recall their Father’s house, wherein there is living bread and living water, and desire to be absent from this body of this death and present with Yehovah God.
“You have shown Your people hard things. You have made us to drink the wine of drunkenness”
The fruit of the world is palatable to man. He is satisfied for a short period of time and then returns again to the labours which have no end. This was the vanity which the Preacher saw under the sun “that all things are full of labour; man cannot utter it, the eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecc. 1:8). To those who have ears to hear and an heart to understand these things, the world appears even more grievous and a vexation upon their soul. They are given to know that the works of man are filthy and polluted before God and his best intentions are abominable before His throne. The indwelling Spirit of God causes the children of the Kingdom to walk in the light of Yehovah. The passions and desires of the flesh see the market place, hear the music of the children of the world piping unto them and desire to sing and dance with them. These things draw away the attention of man and cause the Spirit within to groan, waiting for the day of deliverance. God shows His people these hard things and causes the natural man to drink well of the lusts and desires of the flesh thus causing the child, who is growing in the grace and knowledge of His will, to have no confidence in the flesh and to despise the help of the mighty.
This is spiritual wickedness in the exalted places wherein the warfare is engaged against thrones, principalities and powers of this world and the nature of Adam. The love of God for His people reveals the hypocrisy of Adam in everything he does as he falls short of the glory of God. This is the heap of the testimony wherein the ‘usurper’ (Jacob) stands in witness against the polluted righteousness of man (Laban) for both are vile and corrupt (Gen. 31:52). This is the reminder of the trials and tribulations of the father Adam’s house, lest they forget (Manasseh) as he staggers and fails to hit the mark of perfection. This is the mark upon Adam and his defilement wherein David pleads for mercy. The exalted lily, however, is the testimony of the love and righteousness of God.
“You have given a banner to them that fear you, that it may be displayed because of truth” (Ps. 60:4).
There is a truth and He is the fullness of the Godhead. He is the righteousness of God and He is the deliverance of His people. He has prepared a table for His Beloved in the presence of the enemy and His banner over her is love (Song 2:4). He laid down His life for his sheep for there is no greater love than a man should lay down his life for another. He made Himself of no reputation and took on the form of the servant of God as he who knew no sin became the sin of His people. He is the way, the truth and the life of His Beloved and without Him she can do nothing. In Him she has eternal life and because of His faithfulness she has peace with God.
The struggle is only unto the children of the Spirit and the testimony is exclusively for them. They keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of the One who is the ‘flower of the plains’ and ‘fruitful meadows’ as the ‘witness of the unsearchable lowlands’ (Rose of Sharon and lily of the valley – Song 2:1). It is a testimony of praise unto our God and the finished work which stands complete in Him from before the foundation of the world.
The struggle is the manifestation of this love and a representation of the presence of the Spirit within. It is a demonstration of the reality of this world and a reminder that the Beloved of God shall be delivered from the tabernacle of this dwelling unto the tabernacle not made with hands, which is eternal in the heavens. The testimony of the Spirit is the hope of glory within and it is to teach the Beloved the unsearchable “depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rms. 11:33).
The children of the Kingdom of God dwell in the country of two rivers. They are as two armies (Song 6:13) which they are engaged in a constant struggle against every thought and imagination which would exalt itself against God. This is the manifest token as a witness of the Kingdom of God wherein they have been accounted worthy to suffer for His name sake (II Thes. 1:5).
All who would claim to have assurance in their eternal estate because they have accepted Jesus or have believed on His name have based that assurance upon the duty and work of man. The children of the Kingdom have been taught that although they believe in Him by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, yet they have the unbelief of Adam (Mark 9:24). This nature stands diametrically opposed to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). David saw victory after victory but he still strove with the Philistines, the Syrians, the Hittites and the indigenous people of the low lands. It was not until the end of his reign as King that the Lord had put all his enemies under his footstool. This is a type of Messiah not of the children. He has overcome the world therefore His people have overcome it in Him. He has openly manifested His victory over the wicked one and they have overcome him by the blood of the Lamb. They can do nothing without Him for He performs all their works for them and they are His workmanship.
True assurance is the warfare within. Without the testimony of the Spirit to the eternal life of the inner spiritual man there is no struggle and without the struggle there is no manifest token of the Kingdom of God. Shushan-eduth, the ‘exalted, rejoicing testimony’ is for the children of the Kingdom of God. It is unnoticed b y the world and discarded as worthless but it is the reminder of life, righteousness and peace to the lonely pilgrims and strangers as they travel through this present evil generation.
Brethren, consider the innocuous little flower of the field for it is the testimony of the eternal life of the Body of Christ, the eternal love of the Father for His Beloved and the manner in which the mark of man is revealed.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
July 26, 2015