A devotion of Psalm 99.
1 The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.
THE CHERUBIM: What are these prodigious creatures called cherubim. I’ll tell you right now that they are certainly not the chubby little angels flitting about or resting cutely on clouds that our culture portrays them as. Scripture frequently describes them and/or their roles.
Wikipedia summarizes cherubim well, their “faces peer out from the center of an array of four wings; these wings are joined to each other, two of these are stretched upward, and the other two cover their bodies. Under their wings are human hands; their legs are described as straight, and their feet like those of a calf, shining like polished brass. Between the creatures glowing coals that moved between them could be seen, their fire “went up and down”, and lightning burst forth from it. The cherubs also moved like flashes of lightning.” Their bodies are covered with eyes throughout.
The monumental cherubim overshadow the Mercy Seat, God’s very presence and attend to him. Wherever he and they are, frightful flashes of lightning and peals of thunder tear up the atmosphere. We first meet them guarding the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword. The Ark of the Covenant, a manifestation of God’s physical presence among the Israelites on the way to Canaan, was overshadowed by two of them. There, the priest offered incense and sacrificial blood.
Ps. 18:10 and in our passage today portray God as enthroned between the cherubim. The prophet Ezekiel saw four of them bolstering God’s throne. God is repeatedly described as “riding on the cherubim” atop a cloud. It seems that clouds are the exhaust of this portable throne. In Psalm 18 we found him parting the heavens to come down to earth on a deliverance mission. He mounts the cherubim and flies, he soars on the wings of the wind.
2 Great is the Lord in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name— he is holy.
The term holy, quadosh, refers to something separate. God is like nothing else in creation. No one and no thing can even begin to compare to him. He is bigger, grander, wiser, more loving, more light, more inexplicable than anything our brilliant minds can conceive or imagine.
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice— you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done what is just and right.
In studying Proverbs earlier this year, we learned that it purposed to teach us to do what is right, and just, and fair. The verse above declares God as qualified to be the grand author of that amazing book.
5 Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
PRIESTS: Priests, kohen, mediate between God and man. They represent God to the people and the people to God as reconcilers. They were actively involved in teaching the scriptures, in offering sacrifices, in officiating religious ceremonies including health-related ones and other important roles. It is a wonder to me that the King calls us priests:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. “1 Peter 2:9.
Peter got that wonderful idea from the Old Testament: “
And unto Me you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to speak to the Israelites,” Exodus 19:6. “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His prized possession out of all peoples on the face of the earth,” Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2.
You are a priest, beloved, in the service of the Most High. You are among those that call upon the name of the Lord and invoke his power to act on behalf of men, women, and children he has entrusted to you. You are I serve under Jesus Christ, the ultimate High Priest. His intercession and your prayers are the incense, the sweet aroma that rises to God’s nostrils. His blood was presented and accepted “once for all” on the Mercy Seat and the curtain (his body) was torn so that all mankind can have immediate and direct access to God’s presence at any time without a priest.
When God created the Ark of the Covenant (not be confused with Noah’s Ark) and the Temple, he carefully gave instructions because these were prototypes of what was going on in heaven, as Paul teaches us. “For Christ did not enter into a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one. Rather, He entered into heaven itself, so as to present Himself before God [the Father] on our behalf,” Hebrews 9:24. God entrusted the Temple plans to faithful men like Moses and David because it was imperative that the image of Christ as our priest not be lost in translation. Jesus is the culmination of a plan made and played out over millennia.
“Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the … temple. He gave him the plans of ALL that the Spirit had put in his mind… He also gave him the plan for the chariot, that is, the cherubim of gold that spread their wings and overshadow the ark of the covenant of the Lord,” 1 Chron. 28:11-18. “
8 Lord our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds.
9 Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy.
In our office as chosen kings and priests, we call, he answers. We call, he answers. We call, he answers. I love the point that verse 8 makes, though the Christian culture tends to downplay it. He may forgive our sins but the good father he is, he punishes our misdeeds. We have a narrow window of time, Beloved. For a limited time, we have this ministry: “In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation,” 2 Cor. 5:19. How are you doing as king and priest?