When the cherubim stood still, the wheels also stood still, and when they ascended, the wheels ascended with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
I. THE EXPRESSION CASTS LIGHT UPON THE NATURE OF GOD. The voice is, among all the inhabitants of this earth, man's prerogative alone. And for this reason - man alone has reason, and therefore he alone has speech. There are noises and sounds, and even musical sounds, in nature; but to man alone belongs the voice, the organ of articulate speech and intelligible language. When voice is attributed to the Almighty God, it is implied that he is himself in perfection that Reason which he communicates to his creature man. Our intellect and thought are derived from his, and are akin to his; our reason is "the candle of the Lord" within.
II. THE EXPRESSION CASTS LIGHT UPON THE INTERCOURSE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN. The purpose of the voice is that man may communicate with his fellow man by means of articulate language, and by means of all those varied and delicate shades of intonation by which we convey our sentiments, and indicate satisfaction and disapproval, confidence and distrust, tenderness and severity, inquiry and command. Now, where we meet in Scripture with the phrase, "the voice of God Almighty when he speaketh," we are led to think of the purpose for which he utters his voice. It is evidently to communicate with man - mind with mind - that we may be acquainted with his thoughts, his wishes, his sentiments with regard to us, if we may use language so human. The whole of nature may be regarded as uttering the Divine thought, though, as the psalmist tells us, "there is no speech nor language, and their voice cannot be heard." But his articulate speech comes through the medium of human minds - the minds of prophets and apostles, and (above all) the mind of Christ Jesus. The Word speaks with the Divine voice; in him alone that voice reaches us with all the faultless tones, and with the perfect revelation which we need in order that we may realize and rejoice in the presence of the Divine Father of spirits, the Divine Saviour and Helper.
III. THIS EXPRESSION CASTS LIGHT UPON THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE OF MAN.
1. It is ours to listen with grateful joy to the voice of God. "The friend of the bridegroom rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice." Christ speaks, and his utterances are welcome to every believing and sympathetic nature; they are as the sound of a voice long expected and wished for, as it now fails upon the listening and eager ear. The sinner may well dread the voice which can speak to him as with the thunder of threatened vengeance. But the Christian recognizes the tones of love and the accents of gentleness.
2. It is ours to listen to the voice of God with believing submission and obedience. God's voice is always with authority. Because he reveals himself as our Father, he does not cease to command. "Ye have not heard his voice at any time," was the stern reproach addressed by Jesus to the unspiritual Jews. The exhortation comes to us all, "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." - T.
When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also.
I. THE SUBJECT OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE, WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO BE MAINTAINED. We have faculties of locomotion, feeding, sense, perception, etc., by which we act our parts on foot, as it were. We have attributes of faith perception, love appropriation, spiritual imagination, in which we become aerial creatures, resting suspensively in things above the world. This uplifting produces the transcendent mystery of experience in Christian conversion. We rise by trust in God — admitting the full revelation of His truth and friendship. Can the soul thus lifted stay in that serene element? It has gravitations which pull it all the while downward, and settle it on its feet, as the flying creatures fold their wings when they settle. Let us trace some of the instances and ways in which it ceases to live by faith. When a man of enterprise thinks of independence, how easily, how insensibly he ceases to hang on Providence as he did. His prayers lose their fervour. God is far less dear and less consciously present; and how long will he have the consciousness of His presence at all? The moment any disciple touches ground with but the tip of his foot, and begins to rest on earthly props, a mortal weakness takes him, and he goes down. Only a calm and loving return to his trust will recover him, and God is faithful enough to be trusted at all times. Let there be this rest by faith, and he will carry himself more steadily in studies, toils, or engagements. Sometimes obscurations may occur, but he has only to believe the more strongly and wait till they be cleared.
II. MANY PERSONS MISS EVER GOING ABOVE A SERVICE ON FOOT, BY NOT CONCEIVING AT ALL THE MORE ETHEREAL RANGE OF EXPERIENCE INTO WHICH TRUE FAITH WOULD LIFT THEM. Sometimes they become reformers or philanthropists. They mean business in their religion, caring little for the fervours that are not fervours of work, The combining and roiling up of great masses of opinion are the means by which they expect to carry their projects. Censure and storm and fiery denunciation are close at hand. They, many times, do not conceive that they are disciples because of their repentances, or their prayers, or sensing of God by their faith, or any other grace that separates them from the world. They have much to say of love, but they visibly hate more strongly than they love. They never go above to descend upon the reform by inspirations there kindled; they keep on their feet, and war with the evils on the same level with them. Sometimes they attempt self-culture in the name of religion. They could mend defects, chasten faults, put themselves in the charities they have learned from Christ, perhaps, to admire; but the work is a far more hopeless one than they imagine, if there is no uplifting help from gracious inspirations. Oh, if they would go up to Christ, or to God in a true faith culture, faults would fall off, as blasted flowers from a tree, by the life principle therein. Sometimes they suppose they are religious because of a certain patronage they give to the Church and the Word. Not being in the gift of spiritual discernment, their tastes will be the better; and as there are always a great many reasons why a thing should not be done to any single reason why it should, they assume to be specially qualified critics. They contribute these critical powers, while others, less gifted, may contribute their prayers! Such negatives do not belong to the range of the Spirit, but to the nether world of fashion or opinion or custom. The critics have feet, but no wings. If they could give themselves over in trust to the Saviour, instead of giving their opinions and tastes, their contributions would be of worthier significance.
(H. Bushnell, D. D.)
TopicsBeings, Cherubim, Creature, Creatures, Exaltation, Exalted, Lifted, Mounted, Rest, Rise, Rose, Spirit, Stand, Standing, Stood, Themselves, Wheels
Outline1. The vision of the coals of fire, to be scattered over the city
8. The vision of the cherubim
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 10:1-18
To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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