Above the cherubim


Israel’s great confession rises from Deuteronomy 6, about the one God. This truth distinguished Israel from the other nations, pagan and idolatrous.

The Lord reigns!
The nations tremble.
He sits enthroned above the winged angels;
the earth shakes.
The Lord is elevated in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
Psalm 99.1-2 NET

Israel’s proclamation that in her midst lived the only true and living God sounded arrogant to the Gentiles. God was enthroned above the cherubim, that is, above the ark of the covenant in the temple in Jerusalem (Zion). See 1Sm 4.4, for example.

“God is not with you, but he is with us,” Israel proclaimed. Because it was true. God had formed and chosen a people to bless and to carry his revelation to the world. And when the nations saw how God was working in the midst of his people and blessed them, they should (and sometimes did) tremble, on recognizing the sovereign Deity that made himself known through Israel.

God does something similar today. He has formed a people through whom he works and publishes the news about his Son Jesus. Human religions may consider arrogant the preaching that only Jesus saves, that he alone is the way to God. Denominations may also find arrogant the truth that there is but one church, the body of Christ, which is different from them, and appeared before they did.

But Christians should not refrain from preaching this truth. They must not yield to the temptation to consider themselves one more group among many.

For the power of the gospel is in the the truth of the God who is enthroned above the obedient, v. 7.

You, Lord, are sovereign God who reigns above all, in the midst of your people, the church. May we be obedient and faithful always to your revelation.

Hold this thought: In the midst of his people God manifests his greatness.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?