Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and stood over the threshold of the temple. The temple was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD.
I. THE TRUE GLORY OF THE LORD CONSISTS IN HIS MORAL ATTRIBUTES. The Jews ever required a sign. But whilst the multitude may have rested in the sign, the enlightened and spiritual passed from the sign to the thing signified. True glory is not in material splendour, however dazzling, but in that excellence which is perfected in God, the Source of all goodness. Whilst the less reflecting may be more impressed with the omnipotence and omnipresence of God, which must indeed excite the reverent admiration of all to whom he makes himself known, such as are morally cultivated and susceptible will find the highest and purest glory in the Divine wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and love.
II. THIS GLORY IS PECULIARLY IMPRESSIVE WHERE THESE IS SPIRITUAL SUSCEPTIBILITY. As the man is affected by many things which are neither felt nor noticed by the brute, so the spiritually living and earnest are impressed and influenced by the contemplation of the Divine character and attributes. These may have no interest for the worldly and the selfish; but they are felt to be great, sacred, and precious realities by all natures that are brought by spiritual teaching into sympathy with God. "They are spiritually discerned." There is a capacity within us which is only developed and satisfied when brought into contact with the purity and the grace of him who is a Spirit, and who will be worshipped in spirit and in truth.
III. THE VISION OF THIS BRIGHTNESS IS A MOTIVE AND STIMULUS TO HUMAN OBEDIENCE AND PRAISE. The hosts of heaven gaze upon the Divine glory, and by the vision are prompted to unceasing adoration, it is the same with the enlightened and spiritual among the sons of men. As the daybreak and the sunrise call forth the glad song of the lark as it soars aloft, so the rising of "the brightness of the Lord's glory" upon a soul summons it to the glad exercise of exulting adoration. Nor does this term the only response. Man's active nature renders the service which is due to him who is recognized as the Source of all good, of all blessing. Obedience is acted praise, as praise is uttered obedience.
IV. TO THE CHRISTIAN THE LORD JESUS IS THE RICHEST REVELATION OF THE DIVINE GLORY. The evangelist tells us that he and his fellow disciples beheld Christ's glory, "the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." And the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews describes the Son of God as "the Emanation from the Divine glory." They who look into Christ's face behold the moral attributes of Deity in all their resplendent brightness, "They look unto him, and are lightened, and their laces are not ashamed." - T.
The likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.
1. We see this union in the construction of the Bible. The wing of inspiration is in every chapter. What realms of the ransomed earth did Isaiah fly over! Over what battlefields for righteousness; what coronations; what dominations of gladness; what rainbows around the throne did St. John hover! But in every book of the Bible you just as certainly see the human hand that wrote it. Moses, the lawyer, showing the hand in the Ten Commandments, the foundation of all good legislation; Amos, the herdsman, showing the hand in similes drawn from fields and flocks: the fishermen Apostles, showing the hand when writing about Gospel nets; Luke, the physician, showing the hand by giving especial attention to diseases cured; Paul showing the scholarly hand by quoting from heathen poets, and making arguments about the Resurrection that stand as firmly as on the day he wrote them; and St. John shows the hand by taking his imagery from the appearance of the bright waters spread round the island of Patmos at the hour of sunset, when he speaks of the sea of glass mingled with fire; scores of hands writing the parables, the miracles, the promises, the hosannas, the raptures, the consolations, the woes of ages.
2. Behold this combination of my text in all successful Christian work. We stand or kneel offering prayer. Now, if anything has wings, it is prayer. Prayer flies not only across continents, but across centuries. If prayer had only feet, it might run here and there and do wonders. But it has wings, and they are as radiant of plume, and as swift to rise, or swoop, or dart, or circle, as the cherubim's wings which swept through Ezekiel's visions. But, oh, the prayer must have the hand under the wing, or it may amount to nothing. Stop singing, "Fly abroad, thou mighty Gospel," unless you are willing to give something of your own means to make it fly. Have you been praying for the salvation of a young man's soul? That is right; but also extend the hand of invitation to come to a religious meeting. From the very structure of the hand we might make up our mind as to some of the things it was made for: to hold fast, to lift, to push, to pull, to help, and to rescue. And endowed with two hands, we might take the broad hint that for others as well as for ourselves we were to hold fast, to lift, to push, to pull, to help, to rescue.
3. This idea is combined in Christ. When He rose from Mount Olivet He took wing. All up and down His life you see the uplifting Divinity. But He was also very human. It was the hand under the wing that touched the woes of the world, and took hold of the sympathies of the centuries.
4. There is a kind of religion in. our day that my text rebukes. There are men and women spending their time in delectation over their saved state, going about from prayer meeting to prayer meeting, and from church to church, telling how happy they are. But show them a subscription paper, or ask them to go and visit the sick, or tell them to reclaim a wanderer, or speak out for some unpopular Christian enterprise, and they have bronchitis, or stitch in the side, or sudden attack of grippe. Their religion is all wing and no hand. They can fly heavenward, but they cannot reach out earthward. There was much sense in that which the robust boatman said when three were in a boat off the coast in a sudden storm that threatened to sink the boat, and one suggested that they all kneel down in the boat to pray, and the robust man took hold of the oar and began to pull, saying: "Let you, the strong, stout fellow, lay hold of the other oar, and let the weak one who banner pull give himself up to prayer." Pray by all means; but at the same time pull with all your might for the world's rescue.
5. There is also in my subject the suggestion of rewarded work for God and righteousness. When the wing went the hand went. When the wing ascended the hand ascended; and for every useful and Christian hand there will be elevation celestial and eternal. Expect no human gratitude, for it will not come. That was a wise thing Fenelon wrote to his friend: "I am very glad, my dear, good friend, that you are pleased with one of my letters which has been shown to you. You are right in saying and believing that I ask little of men in general. I try to do much for them and to expect nothing in return. I find a decided advantage in these terms. On these terms I defy them to disappoint me." But the day cometh when your work, which perhaps no one has noticed, or rewarded, or honoured, will rise to heavenly recognition. While I have been telling you that the hand was under the wing of the cherubim, I want you to realise that the wing was over the hand. Perhaps reward may not come to you at once. But I promise you victory further on and higher up; if not in this world, then in the next. Roll on that everlasting rest for all the toiling and misunderstood and suffering and weary children of God, and know right well that to join your hand, at last emancipated from the struggle, will be the soft hand, the gentle hand, the triumphant hand of Him who wipeth away all tears from all faces. That will be the Palace of the King of which the poet sang in somewhat Scotch dialect: —
"It's a bonnie, bonnie warl' that we're livin' in the noo,
And sunny is the lan' we often traivel thro';
But in vain we look for something to which oor hearts can cling,
For its beauty is as naething to the Palace o' the King.
We see oor friends await us ower yonder at His gate:
Then let us a' be ready, for ye ken it's gettin' late;
Let oor lamps be brichtly burnin'; let's raise our voice an' sing:
Soon we'll meet, to part nae mair, i' the Palace o' the King."
(T. De Witt Talmage.).
TopicsBrightness, Cherub, Cherubim, Cloud, Court, Doorstep, Filled, Full, Glory, Honour, Lord's, Mounted, Moved, Ones, Open, Radiance, Rest, Rose, Shining, Square, Stood, Temple, Threshhold, Threshold, Winged
Outline1. The vision of the coals of fire, to be scattered over the city
8. The vision of the cherubim
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 10:4
1193 glory, revelation of
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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