Christianity 201

January 8, 2019

Between the Wings of the Cherubim

NIV.Ps.5.7 But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.


CEB.Ex. 25.10 Have them make an acacia-wood chest. It should be forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high...

…17 Then make a cover of pure gold, forty-five inches long and twenty-seven inches wide. 18 Make two winged heavenly creatures of hammered gold, one for each end of the cover. 19 Put one winged heavenly creature at one end and one winged heavenly creature at the other. Place the winged heavenly creatures at the cover’s two ends. 20 The heavenly creatures should have their wings spread out above, shielding the cover with their wings. The winged heavenly creatures should face each other toward the cover’s center.

NIV.Ex.25.2 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

Often we begin here with some printed thoughts and end with a song. Today’s thoughts began with a song. First, they began with hearing of the passing of an older member of our congregation. When we began attending, Gwen was the pianist. My first contact with her was over a song she played that Sunday as an offertory, Commune With Me. Absolutely beautiful song, and I had to know what it is. She asked me if I played the piano, and I told her I did, never knowing that about a year later I would be the church’s first Director of Music.

As I thought about the song, I delved more deeply into the phrase that forms the title of today’s thoughts, and found a 2006 post at the blog The Voice of David:

“Commune with me” – that’s our communion/fellowship/one-ness with God
“I worship You” – our worship of Him
“I’ll meet You there” – again, speaking of fellowship, but also speaks of our eternal
reward and inheritance in Christ

The term “between the wings of the Cherubim” is taken from God’s promise in the Old Testament that He would meet and talk with the high priest… between the wings of the cherubim (that’s where the blood of the sacrifice was put) in the Holy of Holies, behind the veil, into which the high priest could only enter once a year on the day of atonement. Now we have Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, the end of the Law of commandments in ordinances, whose blood was shed for us so that now, it is only in Christ that we have communion with God, it is only in Christ that we can worship Him, and it is only in Christ that we can finally meet God face to face.

Yet the wonder of all this is that no matter how much I try to explain this in words, my words will never be fully sufficient all that this means – all that it means to be in Christ, to commune with God, worship Him and to meet Him there between the wings of the cherubim. I dare say I am not fully able to comprehend this wonderful idea yet, either. It takes the Holy Spirit who indwells each person who believes in Christ to first implant the Word, then develop it until the Word becomes unto each one of us true revelation.

At the beginning of today’s devotional I quoted from Psalm 5. Bible Study Tools offers commentary on this verse:

With this verse the first part of the Psalm ends. The Psalmist has bent his knee in prayer; he has described before God, as an argument for his deliverance, the character and the fate of the wicked; and now he contrasts this with the condition of the righteous.

But as for me, I will come into thy house. I will not stand at a distance, I will come into thy sanctuary, just as a child comes into his father’s house. But I will not come there by my own merits; no, I have a multitude of sins, and therefore I will come in the multitude of thy mercy. I will approach thee with confidence because of thy immeasurable grace. God’s judgments are all numbered, but his mercies are innumerable; he gives his wrath by weight, but without weight his mercy.

And in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple, — towards the temple of thy holiness. The temple was not built on earth at that time; it was but a tabernacle; but David was wont to turn his eyes spiritually to that temple of God’s holiness where between the wings of the Cherubim Jehovah dwells in light ineffable. Daniel opened his window toward Jerusalem, but we open our hearts toward heaven.  (Emphasis added.)


In memory of Gwen Burgher

 

 

October 26, 2012

You Can’t Multitask With God

Clark Bunch was good enough to write something especially for C201 last month, today we’re simply raiding his blog! I don’t think he will mind, especially if some of you click through. The first commandment tells us that God wants to be the center of our attention. Nothing else should capture our hearts when he wants to speak. This article appeared at The Master’s Table this week under the title, Multitasking Worship.

 

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3 (ESV)

My mother uses her cell phone for one thing, and that is to make and receive calls. She has no camera, internet or mp3 player. But let’s be honest, that isn’t how most of us do it. Most of us are downloading music, texting, instant messaging, uploading pics, and some of us still talk once in a while. We do business on the way to work. We listen to audio books while on the treadmill. Nobody does one thing at a time anymore.

Moses sees the burning bush in Exodus 3, and in verse 3 he says “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” Moses was doing his job as a shepherd when the sight of the burning bush got his attention. He then turned aside; he put what he was doing on hold in order to pay attention to this curious sight. He discovers God in the bush, and for the rest of chapter 3 and 4 does nothing but talk and listen to God.

The Apostles waited in the upper room for the Holy Spirit. They weren’t also on the job, writing letters and giving lectures; they prayed and waited for God. Psalm 46:10 says to “Be still and know that I am God.” In 1 Kings 19 the LORD speaks to Elijah; but it was not in the whirlwind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, it was in a still small voice.

Would we even notice a still small voice? We cannot multitask time with God. Maybe on Sunday morning during the 11 am service you can sing praise songs, text Mom about lunch, change dates and times on your iPhone, and sort of listen to the sermon. But have you met God? You can check your email, eat a bowl of cereal, watch the news, and listen to a daily devotional play in the background… but should you?

Moses attention was captured by the burning bush. With Balaam it was a talking donkey, for Simon Peter it was a miraculous catch of fish. God is alive and well, and still speaks to his people. But God is not the Stock Market update or the latest baseball score. He requires our full attention. Moses took off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. At times we need to turn aside and take some things off in order to meet with God. His promise is that if we draw near to him he will draw near to us. If you haven’t met with God in a while he is still in the same place, possibly right where you left him.

~Clark Bunch