There are priceless gems in scripture which reveal other jewels, and if we care to pay attention, we can see God’s timeless wisdom and His admonition to be like the industrious ant, toiling without special notice, and laboring to uncover the crumbs which are first part of the loaf, then prove to be part of the entire feast.
And part of this beauty, is reading a text which says so little, but points us to so much more…if we care to pay attention. So without further delay, consider this nugget from the ninth of Hebrews:
And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Now if we are reading this, and have not a clue as to the covenants of glory, and the tabernacle, then the temple, then we of course would not appreciate as much that subtle wink: ‘of which we cannot now speak particularly.’ What honesty! What a divine arrow pointing to Genesis and beyond! What genius by the inspired writer to lead us to the entire warp and woof of scripture.
Of course he could not NOW speak particularly, as that would be a detour well beyond the scope of the moment, but ah, a clue was left us, to go onward and upward, to see over there, Nathanael sitting under the fig tree as it were, pondering perhaps the cherubim guarding the tree so long ago.
So we are reading Genesis, and we come upon the cherubim for the first time, and any honest heart will not have a clue as to what they are, UNTIL comes such time, that a bit more information is given us.
Here a little is revealed, there a little is shown more, comparing scripture with scripture is ever the safeguard, lest we arrive at private interpretations which are usually not good. But the mercy-seat! That place of awful (as in awesome, full of awe) Presence, that place where the bells of pomegranates on the robes of the priest should not be heard. God’s glory and mercy are to be taken humbly and seriously.
What fool would not enjoy the mercy of God? We currently see the fiery lava flows in Hawaii, and should beg God to spare us, but we do not, and act as if this freak of nature is common as the underappreciated rain from heaven. (but I digress)
So at the very least, the cherubim in Genesis were objects of mercy, and their appearance in scripture at every turn remind us of the mercy of God. God is actually for us, but we usually interpret Him through broken spectacles, and never give Him the benefit of the doubt for actually knowing what He is doing. He sends the rain, but we call THAT spontaneous serendipity as if it is not miraculous.
We see the cherubs in Ezekiel with wings covering their faces; of course! as the mercy of God is bottomless. We see them in the Revelation, once more reminding us that mercy rejoices against judgment. We see them in action by way of the Lord Christ putting an envelope of mercy around the woman whose accusers wanted nothing of the mercy of God. The glory of God was revealed.
Mercy triumphs against judgment, and the judgment of religious men scorned her and Him. Instead of appreciating the cherubim of glory, they actually despised the glory of God, who delights in covering the trespasses of the forgotten and scorned. They dropped their stones, one by one, and slinked away, instead of asking for this grace themselves.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; it is the honour of kings to search it out, says the good book, so do we not honour God by seeking out the truth of the cherubim? I think so. It is also a good thing to be saturated with good doctrine, and this does not come easy, but by a careful, patient, and honest approach to all things biblical.
And it is precisely this ‘good’ doctrine which is found in the hearts and blogs of so many here at WP. Easy to be intreated, soft on the eyes, easy on the ears, no screeching crows at 5am, long before the first songbird, no, the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable. You know it when you see it, and you smile when you hear it.
This cherubim thing, this demure opening of God’s marvelous ways that reveal His unbounded wisdom. God is good like that. So the wings cover and uncover. They uncover God’s mercy and they invite us to hear this good word, this word which reminds us of a ‘covering,’ this mercy-seat, this place of unvarnished truth which allows us to see what lies beneath the bone and marrow, this place of brutal honesty which recognizes who we are, and who God is.
And it is precisely for this reason that God ever hears the voice of the contrite, which He will not despise. The call by the humble is the song of the divine, and God hears. God loves songbirds, so is it really unusual that the cherubim have wings?
So then, can we not get a fresh appreciation for that word: ‘of which we cannot now speak particularly?’ Ha yes, but maybe now we can. There is nothing on earth so high and worthy of consideration as the glory of God, and the cherubim with their humble wings, point to just that.
Remember the joy expressed in the company of angels because one sinner was brought from darkness to light? As wonderful as that is, there is something more sparkling on the table, and it is this: God is glorified.
The cherubim agree.